(Second in a series)

It’s important to remember that in 1800, the United States was still a young, growing country. Transportation consisted mainly of horse (riding, wagons, and carriages) and sail.


In rural areas, grades 1 through 8 were often taught in one-room schoolhouses. These were centralized so children could walk to school. Some of these walks were four to five miles long.

All grades were taught by a single teacher, who could be as young as 16. Older students would help with younger students. Often the teacher would live with the family of a student.

Writing utensils generally consisted of chalk and slate. The blackboard was often simply a slab of wood painted black.

The school year revolved around harvesting time. Often classes were held from 9:00 am (so morning chores could be done) until 2:00 or 4:00 pm, with an hour for lunch (which students brought from home).

Discipline was all at the discretion of the teacher. Punishments could include detention, suspension, or expulsion; a whack across the knuckles or back of the legs with a ruler or pointer; having to wear a “dunce cap;” or repetition of “I will not …” sentences written on the blackboard.

Westward Expansion

Thomas Jefferson, our third President, had a dream to find a way of crossing the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, preferably by water. We still hadn’t acquired all the land between the two oceans.

Indiana Territory. Image from Wikimedia Commons: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1229467
Mississippi Territory.

We had the Northwest Territory (acquired in 1787), the Indiana Territory (acquired in 1800), and the Mississippi Territory (1798/1804).

The Industrial Revolution Begins

The Boston Manufacturing Company, an early American factory.

(Source: http://www.ushistory.org/us/25.asp)

Yet, the Industrial Revolution would not have been possible without one further ingredient — people. Canals and railways needed thousands of people to build them. Business schemes required people to execute them. The number of projects and businesses under development was enormous. The demand for labor was satisfied, in part, by millions of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and elsewhere. As is often the case when there is a mass immigration, there was a great deal of resistance. Old and new political parties took strong positions on the rights of immigrants. Ultimately these positions hardened, leading to major political changes in America.

The Second US Census

The second Federal Census was taken in 1800. For the first time, the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) was included. The US Government did not supply uniform printed schedules, so recorded information varies. Original census data from Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia have been lost.

There were 5,3308,483 people in the United States, of whom 893,602 were slaves.

An example of an 1800 US Census form.

(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.

(From Wikipedia)

Genealogy (from Greekγενεαλογία genealogia from γενεά genea, “generation” and λόγος logos, “knowledge”), also known as family history, is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.

The pursuit of family history and origins tends to be shaped by several motives, including the desire to carve out a place for one’s family in the larger historical picture, a sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations, and a sense of self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling.


Amateur genealogists typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their spouses. Professional genealogists may also conduct research for others, publish books on genealogical methods, teach, or produce their own databases. They may work for companies that provide software or produce materials of use to other professionals and to amateurs. Both try to understand not just where and when people lived, but also their lifestyles, biographies, and motivations. This often requires—or leads to—knowledge of antiquated laws, old political boundaries, migration trends, and historical socioeconomic or religious conditions.

Genealogists sometimes specialize in a particular group, e.g. a Scottish clan; a particular surname, such as in a one-name study; a small community, e.g. a single village or parish, such as in a one-place study; or a particular, often famous, person. Bloodlines of Salem is an example of a specialized family-history group. It welcomes members who can prove descent from a participant of the Salem Witch Trials or who simply choose to support the group.

Genealogists and family historians often join family history societies, where novices can learn from more experienced researchers. Such societies generally serve a specific geographical area. Their members may also index records to make them more accessible, and engage in advocacy and other efforts to preserve public records and cemeteries. Some schools engage students in such projects as a means to reinforce lessons regarding immigration and history. Other benefits include family medical histories with families with serious medical conditions that are hereditary.

The terms “genealogy” and “family history” are often used synonymously, but some offer a slight difference in definition. The Society of Genealogists, while also using the terms interchangeably, describes genealogy as the “establishment of a Pedigree by extracting evidence, from valid sources, of how one generation is connected to the next” and family history as “a biographical study of a genealogically proven family and of the community and country in which they lived”. The term “family history” may be more popular in Europe, “genealogy” more popular in the United States.