Defective, Dependant, and Delinquent

AncestryLibrary, the library version of the popular subscription database Ancestry.com, posts new resources almost daily. On February 7, 2010 one of the special supplemental census schedules for 1880 was posted – the Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes.

One of the sections in the 1880 census entitled “Health” asked if there were members of the household who were blind, deaf, dumb, crippled, maimed, idiotic, insane, bedridden, or otherwise disabled. What many people don’t realize is that if the census taker enumerated an individual who fell into one of these classifications, they then were required to go to one of the seven special schedules set aside for these categories and ask additional, probing questions, eliciting data from the individual or his/her caretaker, in addition to what he had already enumerated on the regular population schedule. Special schedules were also included for paupers and prisoners.

Although the state of Iowa has not yet been indexed on AncestryLibrary, you can easily browse the pages for Davenport or any other city and state. These sheets can provide a considerable amount of anecdotal information for the family historian.

So if you have someone in 1880 with a mark in columns 15 through 20 or someone who is listed in a poorhouse or prison, it could be well worth your time to take a look at these special DDD schedules. Next time you are in Special Collections be sure to give this a look!

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