52 Documents in 52 Weeks #38 – George Longcor’s 1850 Census

Person of Interest: George Longcor
Relationship: 4th great grandfather

Source Citation: 1850 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Sparta, dwelling 83, family 85, George Longcor; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 July 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 464.

Document Description: These documents are part of the Seventh Census of the United States which was taken in 1850. It is the seventh census taken since 1790. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for taking the censuses. After 72 years (and not before owing to privacy reasons), the records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration.  The U.S. Census Bureau provides the interested researcher a great overview of each census. In the 1850 overview, we find that Zachary Taylor (right, photo source: http://www.census.gov) was president on census day which was June 1, 1850, that that six schedules were to be used to collect the information requested by the Congress and that results needed to be returned to the secretary of the interior by November 1, 1850. As opposed to the 1840 census, in this census every free person’s name was to be listed, not just the head of the household. Unfortunately, while every name is listed, every relationship to head of household is not. That won’t happen until the 1880 census.

According to the 1850 overview site, the details of the enumeration were this:

“… the board [was authorized] to prepare forms and schedules for collecting information on mines, agriculture, commerce, manufactures, education, and other topics, as well as “exhibit a full view of the pursuits, industry, education, and resources of the country.

“The number of population inquiries grew in the 1850 census. Every free person’s name was to be listed, not just the head of the household. The marshals also collected additional “social statistics,” including information on taxes, schools, crime, wages, value of the estate, etc. and data on mortality.

“Each marshal was also responsible for subdividing his district into “known civil divisions,” such as counties, townships, or wards, and ensuring that his assistants’ returns were completed properly.”

Both Ancestry.com (fee site) and FamilySearch.org (free) offers digitized copies of the census and are searchable by name. The History and Growth of the United States Census: 1790 – 1890 was a document prepared for the Senate Committee on the Census in 1900 and as written by Carroll D. Wright, the Commissioner of Labor, and William C. Hunt, Chief Statistician of the 12th census. If you’re into statistics or reading up on the historical background of the censuses, this is a great document to dig into.

Documents Scan/Transcription: Numbers relate to columns on the population schedule.

Page Header
Schedule I. Free Inhabitants in the township of Sparta in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey enumerated by me, on the 28th day of August 1850. John B. Easton, Ass’t Marshal.

Page Detail
lines 40-42, George Longcor, Hannah, and John [respectively with ; between]

Place of Abode
1. Dwelling number in order of visitation: 83
2. Family number in order of visitation: 85
3. The Name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first day of Jun, 1850, was in this family: George Longcor; Hannah —-; John —-

4. Age: 58; 59; 16
5. Sex: M; F; M
6. Color: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

7. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each Male Person over 15 years of age: Farmer; [blank]; none

Real Estate
8. Value of Real Estate owned: 5,000; [blank]; [blank]

9. Place of Birth. Naming the State, Territory, or Country: N. Jersey; NJ; NJ

Additional Information
10. Married within the year: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
11. Attended School within the year: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
12. Persons over 20 yrs of age who cannot read & write: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
13. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Analysis: The above listings/transcriptions are a bit hard to read, I admit it. So why go through the pain of typing it all out? It forced me to look at every single box and tick mark and code and notation. So, let’s put the above in a more user-friendly, narrative format:

On 01 June 1850, George Longcor (58) was living with Hannah (59) and a young man named John (16). The family was living in Sparta Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, when John B. Easton arrived to enumerator them on 28 August 1850. In order of visitation, the family was labeled as living in dwelling #83 and as family #85.

George was working as a farmer, Hannah had no occupation listed and John’s occupation was listed as “none.” All were listed as being born in New Jersey. George was listed as having $5,000 in real estate value. The family was healthy in that nothing was filled in for the column for blindness, deaf and dumbness, idiocy, insanity, pauper, or convict. The census indicated that George, Hannah and John Longcor could read and write.

The 1850 census does not tells the viewer the specific relationships within the family group, so other evidence is needed to prove that George and Hannah were husband and wife and that John was their child. However, the instructions to the enumerators directed that “the names are to be written beginning with the father and mother; or if either, or both, be dead, begin with some other ostensible head of the family; to be followed, as far as practicable, with the name of the oldest child residing at home, then the next oldest, and so on to the youngest, then the other inmates, lodgers and borders, laborers, domestics, and servants.”

Nothing pops out as being odd with this family. However, it doesn’t hurt to go look at the enumerator instructions to see how things were to be reported. The IPUMS, which stands for the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, website has a handy place to look up all enumerator instructions for the 1850 census. We find the schedules listed that relate to this census:

  1. Population
  2. Slave inhabitants
  3. Mortality
  4. Agriculture
  5. Statistics of Industry
  6. Social Statistics

Some of the instructions found there include:

  • By the term family is meant, either one person living separately in a house, or a part of a house, and providing for him or herself, or several persons living together in a house, or in part of a house, upon one common means of support, and separately from others in similar circumstances. A widow living alone and separately providing for herself, or 200 individuals living together and provided for by a common head, should each be numbered as one family.
  • The resident inmates of a hotel, jail, garrison, hospital, an asylum, or other similar institution, should be reckoned as one family.
  • The names of every member of a family who may have died since the 1st day of June is to be entered and described as if living, but the name of any person born since the 1st day of June is to be omitted.
  • Under heading 8 insert the value of real estate owned by each individual enumerated. You are to obtain the value of real estate by inquiry of each individual who is supposed to own real estate, be the same located where it may, and insert the amount in dollars. No abatement of the value is to be made on account of any lien or incumbrance [sic] thereon in the nature of debt.
  • Heading 13, entitled “Deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.” The assistant marshal should ascertain if there be any person in the family deaf, dumb, idiotic, blind, insane, or pauper. If so, who? And insert the term “deaf and dumb,” “blind,” “insane,” and “idiotic,” opposite the name of such persons, as the fact may be. When persons who had been convicted of crime within the year reside in families on the 1st of June, the fact should be stated, as in the other cases of criminals; but, as the interrogatory might give offense, the assistants had better refer to the country record for information on this head, and not make the inquiry of any family. With the county record and his own knowledge he can seldom err.


Nothing unusual or questionable popped out at me in the analysis of this 1850 census for my 4th great grandparents George and Hannah Longcor. I had their son Samuel, not listed in this census, as being married and in his own household by 1850. But I did find Samuel’s brother John to add to my family database. I would venture that finding the real estate and location of the land that George owned in Sparta should be my next step in further fleshing George out. Another thing added to the research to-do list….


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