1840 Census Federal Population Schedule

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The 1840 census was actually taken over a period of a year and a half, beginning on June 1, 1840. Therefore, it contains some records that were taken in that year, but also several records that were taken the following year.

There were several basic questions covered by the 1840 census that were also covered in previous censuses. For example, the 1830 and 1840 censuses recorded the ages of free white males and females in the same way. The age categories began with 5-year increments, which included 0 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 15 and15 to 20. Then they increased in 10-year increments until age 100. Finally, there was a category for anyone 100 or older. Town, district, or county of residence was also covered, as were the questions of “free colored persons,” slaves, and aliens.

Unique Features of the 1840 Census

US 1840 Census of Cherokee County, AL

Click to View Sample from US 1840 Census of Cherokee County, AL

More Occupation Categories – The 1840 census lists more occupation categories than the 1830 census did. The new categories include:

  • navigation of the ocean
  • learned professions and mining
  • commerce
  • agriculture
  • manufacturing.

The growing population at the time meant that several people could have the same name. Therefore, the extra information about occupations can help you to clarify and differentiate between persons. It also allows you to look in appropriate records from that time relating to that person’s professional field.

Historical Considerations of the 1840 Census

Revolutionary War Pensioners – The 1840 census is the first census that mentions the Revolutionary War. It lists the names and ages of Revolutionary War pensioners. As a result, you can use that information to find a person of interest in other historical documents relating to the Revolutionary War.

States Covered in the 1840 Census

1840 Census Resources

You may find the following resources helpful in your research of the 1840 census data:

State Census Records Guides