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1880 U.S. Federal Census

The 1880 census was carried out under a law enacted March 3, 1879. Additional amendments to the law were made on April 20, 1880, and appropriations made on June 16, 188016 days after the actual enumeration had begun. The new census law specifically handed over the supervision of the enumeration to a body of officers, known as supervisors of the census, specifically chosen for the work of the census, and appointed in each state or territory, of which they should be residents before March 1, 1880.2

There were no state- or district-wide losses.3

Population Census Items

Address; name, relationship to family head; sex; race; age; marital status; month of birth if born within the census year; occupation; months unemployed during the year; sickness or temporary disability; whether blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled; school attendance; literacy; birthplace of person and parents.

Supplemental schedules for persons who died during the year.1

Historical Forms and Questions

By 1880, Americans had made their way to the west coast. Slowly, western territories were becoming states. Tallying devices introduced in 1870 were still being used to aid clerks in counting the population. Publication of maps, charts and diagrams began to illustrate results. Items were being counted in such great detail, it almost took until the next census to calculate all the data. View sample forms
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    1 Availability of Census Records About Individuals, U.S. Census Bureau Web Site,

    2 Census of Population and Housing, U.S. Census Bureau Web Site,

    3 The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Loretto Dennis Szucs; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).


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