How do we get mortality schedules for the 1800's?
The National Archives maintains microfilm copies of the census mortality schedules, which were enumerations of those individuals who died during the 12 months prior to census day for years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 federal census. www.Ancestry.com is engaged in a massive scanning project, including indexing the mortality schedules for presentation as part of Ancestry's massive "census view" collection. See: http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?dbid=8756&htx=List&ti=0
Please note the table about half-way down that page listing each schedule by:
-- name of each state collecting data
Not all states have been completed yet, so be cautious when using this online service. Only those states indicated in bold are currently available.
Expect to find:
-- Deceased's name
-- Color (White, black, mulatto)
-- Whether widowed
-- Place of birth (state, territory, or country)
-- Month in which the death occurred
-- Profession, occupation, or trade
-- Disease or cause of death
-- Number of days ill
-- in 1870 & 1880: Parents' birthplaces
-- in 1880: Place where disease was contracted and how long the deceased was a resident of the area
Contrary to the description on Ancestry's page, the mortality schedules are by no means an all-inclusive listing of deaths occurring during the 12 months prior to census day. However, if you do find an ancestor listed, there is a lot of information provided by a surviving family member or neighbor. This could lead you to primary records such as vital and probate records.
Happy family tree climbing!
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