Overview of the 1860 Census
The 1860 census is one of the most accurately named US censuses of the 1800s. This is because all of the data was actually collected in 1860. Many previous censuses took over a year, but the 1860 census started on June 1 of that year and took only 5 months to complete.
The 1860 census contained a lot of the same questions from 1850, such as name, sex, color, real estate value, state, territory and country of birth. Marriages that took place that year, criminal histories, physical and mental competency and slave information were also included.
Unique Features of the 1860 Census
Personal Estate Value - The 1860 census asked for information about the value of personal estates. This information could be helpful to genealogical researcher. However, many people at that time gave false information in order to avoid paying high taxes on their personal estates.
Specific Birthplace Information - The 1860 census also included more specific birthplace information about foreign-born residents. For example, it might say “Wales” or “Scotland” instead of “Great Britain.” Even US residents had to list a specific state or territory of birth.
Historical Considerations of the 1860 Census
The Civil War - When the results of the 1860 census returns were submitted, the country was fast approaching the beginning of the American Civil War. Therefore, the detail of public records was not as extensive originally intended. However, the data collected served as useful information for Union field commanders. Maps were created that included important population information as well as transportation routes.
States Covered in the 1860 Census - The areas covered by the 1860 census included: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Dakota Territory,Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas Territory, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine,Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska Territory, New Hampshire, New Jersey,New Mexico Territory, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, Utah Territory, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
Resources for the 1860 Census
Visit the following resources for more information about the 1860 census: