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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

At Wits End...1860 Census

Can someone help me understand something about the 1860 census?
We know there were Free Colored in 1860.
We know there were slaves in 1860.
We have Slave Schedules for 1860.
How do we find who is Free Colored in 1860?
I am seeing odd things in various states/counties in 1860..
The *color* columns are all or mostly (I haven't looked at all pages) empty of
W, B, M...but in some counties, there are little check marks in some of the boxes of the color column...What does the check mark mean? That the person is white? That the person is not white? The 1860 census instructions say:
"9. Color.-- Under heading 6, entitled "Color," in all cases where the person is white leave the space blank; in all cases where the person is black without admixture insert the letter "B;"if a mulatto, or of mixed blood, write "M;"if an Indian, write "Ind." It is very desirable to have these directions carefully observed."

I have yet to see anything but check marks in some boxes..
I know in 1860 things were about to blow up, and I know that a lot of white people were wanting to enslave EVERYone who had any African blood, including all the Free Colored..
The govt definately wanted to know who and where all the Free Colored people were in 1860..and what better way to know than with the census? Yet, none are openly identified as Free Colored...Were they on another census? Or was some kind of information being conveyed with those aggravating check marks?


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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