Questions on Census
The 1850 census saw a dramatic shift in the way information about residents was collected. For the first time, free persons were listed individually instead of by family. There were two questionnaires: one for free inhabitants and one for slaves.
Schedule No. 1 - Free Inhabitants
Listed by column number, enumerators recorded the following information:
2. Number of family (in order visited)
This column was to be left blank if a person was White, marked "B"
if a person was Black, and marked "M" if a person was Mulatto.
8. Value of real estate owned by person
9. Place of Birth
If a person was born in the United States, the enumerator was to enter
the state they were born in. If the person was born outside of the United
States, the enumerator was to enter their native country.
11. Was the person at school within the last year?
12. If this person was over 20 years of age, could they not read and write?
13. Is the person "deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict?"
Schedule No. 2 - Slave Inhabitants
Slaves were listed by owner, not individually. Listed by column number, enumerators recorded the following information:
2. Number of slave
Each owner's slave was only assigned a number, not a name. Numbering
restarted with each new owner
This column was to be marked with a "B" if the slave was
Black and an "M" if they were Mulatto.