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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum Archive

Re: Slave Census Information
In Response To: Slave Census Information ()

My enthusiasm may have got the best of me when I posted here that the on line 1860 slave census index for Ancestry subscribers is excellent. I have been working with it some and see that it does have some problems. But it does have some valuable information and functionality, if we can learn its quirks and how to work with them. Here are some early findings:

The search results screens sometimes don’t work properly; if the result links are not shown, you can try to switch to the other search tab (either exact or ranked) and resubmit the search.

For gender of the slave, if you choose “none” it may only show results where no gender was entered; if gender is not important to your search, leave the field blank.

Some census view links don’t work, apparently because some entire Counties are not in the database. I am going to compile a brief list and report to Ancestry and ask that they have someone check all slave County links to make sure they are available online.

Transcription of names does not seem to have been done by top experienced people. I have found numerous, obvious errors which should not have been made by persons familiar with 1860 handwriting styles.

On the results screen, ages are apparently always listed in descending order, rather than in the exact order that they were enumerated, so be sure to look at the actual census image to get the correct order, as this may indicate family units.

The listing of slave ages could facilitate a project of identifying all slaves age 100 or more, whose names were supposed to have been reported on the census. The official census records show 1,570 slaves of 100 years age or more were reported on the 1860 census. This ancestry database shows 1,700, with the extras probably being transcription errors. Ancestry shows 27 slaves listed age 131 or above, and I checked for the images on all of them, with these results: 21 Ancestry reports were typos adding an extra”1" in front of the age in the census; 2 images were not available on line at all so could not be verified; 4 slaves were accurately reported as to age, of whom 2 slave names were reported and 2 were not. I’ll work more on this age project and report back here in a later post.

Tom Blake


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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