2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2018 3:32 PM by Lynda Howell

    How was the army enumerated in the 1810 census?


      I'm researching a unit of the US Army on the eve of the War of 1812, and would like to see what I can learn from the 1810 census. 


      Does anyone know how army units and personnel were enumerated?  Were they counted in the state where they happened to be on August 6, 1810, or in their home states?  What was considered a household? 


      The specific unit I am researching (Capt. John Walworth's company, 6th Infantry) was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 1, 1810, along with at least two other companies from the same regiment.  It seems likely they had been there on the census date but I don't know for sure.  I've looked through the returns for Pittsburgh, but none of the officers are listed as heads of households and there doesn't seem to be an unusual number of military-aged men or of households without women or young children, so I don't believe they are just mixed in with the civilian population.  I'm not finding a separate return for Fort Fayette.


      While I'm looking for this particular unit at the moment, the question is relevant for any unit anywhere in the US.  And presumably for other census years.


      Thanks for any help or suggestions!

        • Re: How was the army enumerated in the 1810 census?
          Jenette Parish Adventurer

          Hello Ms. Howell,


          I have consulted with a few staff members at Archives I, in Washington D.C. You’re right, this is a tough question! If you are looking for soldiers in the census, it seems that they were enumerated at home...see 1810 Census Instructions. See Chap. 7, Sec. 5 - Who shall be returned. “That every person whose usual place of abode...and every person occasionally absent at the time of enumeration…” The instructions also mention to count whereabouts on the first Monday in August, so you may need to consider where the infantry members were located on August 6, 1810? It seems that we can presume they were counted at home at best. The US Census may be able to answer this question a bit better.


          We also recommend that you contact our Army reference team in Washington D.C. about collecting research on the regular Army pre-1812. They have a few regular Army resources that may be of pertinence. You may contact them at archives1reference@nara.gov.

          I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

          Jenny Parish

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: How was the army enumerated in the 1810 census?

              Thanks, I'll check with the Army reference team.  I can only guess at "home" locations for a few of the men.  The enlistment register doesn't typically list where they enlisted, let alone where they lived before then.  I did a little genealogy-style research on a few of them and then looked at their fathers' households, but didn't find any extra men of the right ages, so I don't think they're there.  After several years in the army, they -- and their fathers -- could well have stopped considering their fathers' households their "usual place of abode".  But there aren't enough extra men of military age for them to be in the civilian population where they were stationed, either.  It would have been easy for them to fall through the cracks.  I'll see if the Army reference team can help me pinpoint at least the cracks more precisely.  Thanks for your help.