Using the 1850 Mortality Schedule

by Amy Johnson Crow

Posted on January 14, 2014

You've probably thought of using the census to find your ancestors living with their families. But have you thought about using it to find when an ancestor died and their cause of death? In certain censuses, such as 1850, you can do just that.

The 1850 census included another "schedule" (or form) referred to as a mortality schedule. As the name implies, it lists people who have died. In this case, it lists the people who had died in the twelve months prior to the official census date of 1 June 1850. The questions that were asked include the person's name, age, sex, color, free or slave, married or widowed, birth place, month of death, occupation, cause of death, and how long the person was ill.


The mortality schedule doesn't include the family or household number that is listed on the population schedule (the "regular" part of the census). However, the records in the mortality schedule were usually recorded in the same order that the population scheduled followed.

census-search.jpgOn, the 1850 Mortality Schedule is included with the rest of the 1850 census. To search it, select "Census Records," enter your search terms (name, location, etc.) and select "1850" as the census year. Any results from the mortality schedule will appear in the results. (TIP: Enter the county you think the family was living in. Those results will go to the top of the results list.)

The states that are included in the 1850 Mortality Schedule on are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Amy Johnson Crow is a Genealogical Content Manager for She is a Certified Genealogist and blogs regularly for Roots & Branches, the official blog. Amy has deep roots in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states and she has rarely been to a cemetery that she didn't like. 

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