Sunday, May 20, 2012

Documents which E-X-P-A-N-D our understanding of family history, Part 2

What we can learn from the 1850 U.S. Federal Census

In our case of Isaac Carter (the younger), we begin with the 1850 Census, the first census to enumerate each member of the household, not just the head of household. The 1850 Census asked thirteen questions:
  1. Dwelling-house numbered in order of visitation;
  2. Families numbered in the order of visitation;
  3. The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family;
  4. Age;
  5. Sex;
  6. Color: White, black, or mulatto;
  7. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each Male Person over 15 years of age;
  8. Value of Real Estate owned;
  9. Place of Birth, naming State, Territory, or Country;
  10. Married within the year;
  11. Attended school within the year;
  12. Persons over 20 years of age who cannot Read & Write;
  13. Whether deaf & dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.
1850 U.S. Federal Census, Craven, North Carolina;
Roll: 
M432_626; Pages: 317B and 318A; Images: 197, 198.
Note: There were no relationships to head of household recorded. Sometimes the only indication that a household member was not part of the nuclear family was by a different surname. If all members had the same surname, the enumeration could still include cousins or other close members of the extended family.

To the left is the 1850 Census enumeration for several inter-related families. The family of focus is found on lines 37-42, and then on the following page, lines 1-4. This is the household of Isaac and Rhoda (Braddock) Carter.
Isaac Carter was a 45 year old farmer--a free black man. Note: This schedule is for Free Inhabitants only. According to this document, he does not own any Real Estate; and, neither he nor his wife, Rhoda, can read and write.

Rhoda, a 34 year old free black woman was born in North Carolina, just as her husband and children were.

While Comfort was enumerated as a male child of 18 years of age, we know from our family history and from subsequent documentation (See: 1860 U.S. Federal Census: Goodings, Craven, NC: Roll: M653_894; Page 9; Image 17: Silas Moore and "Comford" Moore) that she was actually female, and married Silas Moore in 1854 (See also: Craven County Marriage Registers, Craven County Register of Deeds, Book No. 1).

William was a 16 year old free black farmer. It is not possible to know if he and his siblings were literate as the question was only asked of citizens age 20 and older.

Mary, age 12, was a free black female child, born in North Carolina as were her parents and all her siblings.

These first three children were not named in the December 1853 apprenticeship records of the Craven County Court of  Pleas and Quarter Sessions.  Comfort was already married and of legal age. William would've been 19, but was already engaged in farming in 1850. At this time I am unable to locate him in the 1860 Census. Mary Ann married Benjamin Martin in 1856, but she would've been 14-15 years old when her parents died. Perhaps she was taken in by other family, and their grandparents, Kelsor and Sarah Braddock, had only taken the four youngest children. At this point, there is no way of determining.


Isaac (9), Nancy (6), Ananias (4), and Zacchaeus (1) were all apprenticed following the death of their parents. The apprenticeship issue will be re-examined later now that I have copies of the actual indentures and related letters to the court. You will notice on Page 317B above that William Temple (lines 6-14), who becomes their master, lives only a short distance away.

And who was Rachael Johnson (21)?



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