Census for Revolutionary War debt
U.S. Census Schedules
U.S. Census Slave Schedules
U.S. Census Mortality Schedules
Census Social Statistics
Dorchester County Population
The first comprehensive account of households in
occurred in 1624 when the King of England ordered Virginia's leaders
to make a record of the colony's inhabitants and their provisions.
The census-takers counted: 124 persons, twenty-two houses, three
stores, and a church.
From 1624 to 1776 in certain jurisdictions lists that contain the
names of landowners, and other taxable persons were created. For
instance for most years from 1722 to 1759, Somerset County, Maryland
constables created a list of free males over the age of fifteen and
slaves of both sexes over fifteen for tax purposes. In Northampton
County, Virginia, these same types of lists are available for the
years 1662 to 1677 and 1720 to 1769. Throughout Maryland including Dorchester County
the tax list for 1783 contains type of housing, number of inhabitants,
See Tax Records
. Tax records are typically not comprehensive accounts
of all household members, thus are not considered true census records.
In Dorchester County, the first known full census was conducted in
1776. To pay for the Revolutionary War, Congress took measures to
levy a tax on each colony according to population. Maryland was one
of the colonies that took a census in 1776.
Following the Revolutionary War, there was an immediate need for a
census of the entire Nation, both to apportion the number of seats in
the U.S. House of Representatives and to further establish each states
share in paying for the war. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S.
Constitution, adopted in 1787, provided "The actual Enumeration shall
be made within three years after the first Meeting of the Congress of
the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years…"
The first U.S. Census was conducted in 1790 and a census has been
conducted every ten years thereafter. The early census acts
established the questions to be asked, but uniformly printed schedules
were not furnished until 1830. From the 1790 through the 1840 census,
only the names of household heads with counts of other household
members appeared on the schedules. Beginning in 1850,
listed the name of every free person. In 1850, the U.S. Census also
began collecting additional statistics, such as occupation, state of
birth, value of real estate. etc. Later U.S. Census records added more
items, such as relationships, data on home ownership, education,
marriage, birthplace of parents, etc.
Copies of U.S. Census schedules from 1790 to 1940 area available for
research at the National Archives and online sites such as
U.S. GenWeb Census Project
Census records are closed to the public for 72 years to protect the
confidentiality of the information they contain. The 1950 Census will be made available for public research on April 1,