The U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules are a supplemental schedule to the “every ten year” population schedules and are available for the census years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The census enumerators were required to gather the census information for the population schedules in addition to determining if any family member had died during the previous 12 months before the date the census was taken.
Even though these lists of deaths are widely believed to underreport the actual number of deceased, this is still a valuable source of information. In many states where vital records were not kept, it provides a nationwide death resister for four years between 1849 and 1880. The schedule lists the deceased’s name, sex, age, color, widowed or not, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. In 1870 the parent’s birthplace was added.
If you locate an individual on the Mortality Schedule, it is always wise to locate the family associated with the individual on the population schedule. With our “United States: Vital Records” course you will learn more about using Mortality Schedules in your genealogy research.