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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: MD- Researching Free Persons before 185


I am afraid the information you received from Query Dude in response to your Afrigeneas posting is incorrect. Free males of color are listed on censuses prior to 1850 (only heads of households are listed on pre-1850 censuses, regardless of whether they were white or black; and, generally the heads of households are males). When searching your database ( or Heritage Quest, etc.) if you find an FPOC on a pre-1850 census, simply open the census sheet to see them listed by name on the left side of sheet, where all the other names are at. Go completely over to the end of the page on the left and under the "free persons column" it will enumerate the numbers of other individuals in that household.

I have quite a few census records of my free black ancestors listed on the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census. From this analyis of the pre-1850 censuses, you can determine who was head of household, by name, and the number of males and females and their respective ages in the household at that time. The information given on the pre-1850 census for free persons of color is no different than the information given for whites on the same census. Persons who were slaves prior to 1850, are the only individuals who were not listed by name on the census, as they were not heads of a household.

- Arlene Polk (posted by Lisa Lee on her behalf)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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