New Types of Information
– The 1820 census was the first to list “free white males 16 to 18″ and it was the first to ask for “the number of colored persons” in a household. The 1820 census also asked about the industries of household members, requesting a listing for all those engaged in commercial business, manufacturing, or agriculture. It was the first census to ask for “number of persons not naturalized.”
The naturalization column on the 1820 census offers some useful information. It can be used to estimate how long each listed person was a US resident. That information can then be used to search court records from the time for copies of that person’s naturalization papers.
Age Discrepancies – One of the goals of the 1820 census seemed to be to identify each young man’s age more accurately. However, some of the age categories were a bit redundant and confusing. For example, a person might be listed in the “16 to 18″ category or in the “over 16 and under 26 category.” This might cause some problems in accurately calculating how many people lived in each household.