|My ancestor, Dixon Bartley, is on line 9.|
Because you will have found your farmer ancestor in the U.S. population census for each of those years, you will know the state, county, and township where he lived. I suspect finding your farmer in the population schedule will be easier than finding an image of the agricultural schedule for your ancestor, but because there is so much interesting information in the agricultural schedule it may be worth the effort to you to search for him.
The schedules vary from one year to the next but generally include specific information about animals, crops, products, etc. The 1880 schedule asks for the most specific information, but most of the following is requested all years:
- acres of improved and unimproved land
- cash value of the farm
- value of farming implements and machinery
- livestock in numbers (horses; asses and mules; milch cows; working oxen; other cattle; sheep; swine; chickens)
- value of livestock
- produce in bushels or pounds (wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, rice, tobacco, ginned cotton, wool, peas & beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, hay, clover seed, other grass seeds, hops, both dew rotted and water rotted hemp, flax, flaxseed, silk cocoons)
- processed products including wine, butter, cheese, maple sugar, cane sugar, molasses, beeswax, and honey
- values of orchard products; produce of market gardens; homemade manufactures; animals slaughtered
Above I alluded to the challenge of finding the Agricultural census images. Most are not available online but I was more than thrilled to find that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has the 1850 and 1880 agricultural census images available for every township in every county at no cost. If you have a Pennsylvania farmer click over and take a look.
If your farmer didn't live in Pennsylvania I encourage you to perform an online search for agriculture census images for the year, state, and county when and where your ancestor lived. Some genealogy societies, larger genealogy libraries, historical societies, and states in the U.S. GenWeb Project are making the images available online.
The U.S. National Archives gives a brief overview of Nonpopulation Census Schedules. You can read information about the agricultural schedules and if you scroll to the bottom of the page you'll find a microfilm list. Click on your state of interest and learn the series and roll numbers for your counties of interest. The rolls are available for viewing at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and are available for purchase but are expensive at $125.00 per roll.
FamilySearch's wiki, United States Census Agricultural Schedules, gives some information about the agricultural census schedules and states that the Family History Library has very few. To find them do a place search for the state, choose "census," and then choose the census year.
Regina De Leon of Kinfolk News created transcription templates for all four years the agriculture census was taken. In her 2010 post, Agriculture Templates are Here, she generously offered to email them to anyone who asked. (I asked her last week if readers could request them now and she said yes.) They are excellently done and I was thrilled to find them, especially because it was at about the same time that I found the Pennsylvania records online. Regina worked long and hard to create the forms and says they were truly a labor of love. You can imagine.
Maybe you can recreate a year or so of your own farmer ancestor's life with the agricultural census schedules.
Copyright © 2010-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.