(First of a Series)

Map of the first thirteen US states

One of the most used and most misunderstood genealogical tools.

Since it is so used, I’d like to take the chance to make these documents more user-friendly.

So … what’s the big deal?

It all started in 1787.  The United States of America — all 13 states — — drafted a Constitution to outline the issues most important to running this new country. Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 was added, stating:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

This article required the Congress to take a head count (an enumeration) of all peoples within the boundaries of the states.

From this count, Representation and Taxation would be calculated.

This tally would be taken within 3 years and, after that, every 10 years.

March 1, 1790 — Congress commissioned the first U.S. Census.

When completed, it shows that 3,929,214 people lived in the new democracy in 1790. The most populated state, Virginia, has 691,737.  The center of population was 23 miles west of Baltimore, Maryland.

The following schedule reflects the 1790 Census Act:

1790 Federal Census - blank form

The US Government did not furnish uniform printed schedules until 1830.  As a result, census returns varied and sometimes gave more information.

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