Casefile Clues

11 February 2014

Working for a Dollar A Day and 11,000 Students in the County

When we only use the "typical" genealogical records we usually only get the typical genealogical information.

One underutilized genealogical resource are the federal censuses of social statistics. To illustrate the information they can contain, this post contains a few details about Hancock County, Illinois gleaned from the 1870 Federal Nonpopulation Census schedules for that county.

A day laborer in Hancock County, Illinois in 1870 made $1.50 per day without board and $1.00 a day without. A farmhand, boarded, made $20.00 a month. I'll have to look and see if the records for 1880 are extant as that's the year an ancestor of mine is enumerated as a day laborer. 

Apparently in 1870 board was worth $.50 a day.

1870 Nonpopulation Census Schedule for Hancock County, Illinois--Social Statistics.  Taken from National Archives Microfilm T1133, "Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Illinois, 1850-1880;" digital image from FamilySearch obtained on 11 February 2014.

Hancock County had five newspapers in 1870. Had I not already been aware of them the information would have been useful. All were weekly publications with a circulation ranging from 1,000 to 250. The names may be a little difficult for those unfamiliar with the area to read, but they are:

  • Carthage Gazette
  • Carthage Republican
  • Warsaw Bulletin
  • Dallas [City] Democrat
  • La Harpe Home News


1870 Nonpopulation Census Schedule for Hancock County, Illinois--Social Statistics.  Taken from National Archives Microfilm T1133, "Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Illinois, 1850-1880;" digital image from FamilySearch obtained on 11 February 2014.
The first four are political. Unfortunately it doesn't ask which one had the best obituaries.

This census also asked questions about religion in the county. A look at the chart indicates the popularity of the Methodist Episcopal church in the area. Of course, the accuracy of the count is debatable. The number of Baptist congregations seems a little low.
1870 Nonpopulation Census Schedule for Hancock County, Illinois--Social Statistics.  Taken from National Archives Microfilm T1133, "Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Illinois, 1850-1880;" digital image from FamilySearch obtained on 11 February 2014.
 Images are not included here, but it is indicated that the county employed 366 teachers and had a total of 11,539 students.

The non-population schedules have been microfilmed by the National Archives. The ones for Illinois are available online at FamilySearch, which is where these images were obtained.

You won't find your ancestor's name in these records, but you may find some interesting details about the area in which he lived.

Perspective is usually a good thing.

Note:


As mentioned before, we believe in citing information in the spirit of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained. However my editoral policy on this blog is not to include citations as a part of each blog post. We do however include enough information in each post to obtain the original item or to craft a citation (if you think I haven't, please email me and I'll rectify it). We realize others include citations as a part of each blog post, but there are only so many hours in the day. My newsletter, Casefile Clues, does contain complete citations to any items referenced in that work