Casefile Clues

12 May 2014

1840 Census of Pensioners



American genealogists sometimes forget that the 1840 census does contain names of individuals besides heads of household. Revolutionary pensioners were to be enumerated on the right hand set of pages for this head of household only census.

Researchers often fail to even look at the right hand page of these enumerations.

The names of pensioners were published in 1841 in "Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services" by the United States government.

Mocavo.com includes images of the entire book which are full text searchable (other sites may also have images of this book as well). A portion of the page of interest is shown in the image below. This transcription of the census only includes pensioners and the head of household for the household in which the pensioner resided.  It is not a full transcription of the 1840 census.

The reference to Alam in his son's household
appears on the right hand page of his
son's entry. There's a lot of white space on this
page and people often do not even
bother to look at it.
Why use the transcription when the census is available digitally? After all, aren't genealogists told to"use the original" as if no other copy of any material exists.

Not exactly and not always.

It is possible that there were transcription or typographical errors in creating this 1841 publication. It is also worth noting that the transcription was made in 1840 or 1841 when the original census may have been easier to read.

The entry for Alam Blain, the 80 year old pensioner, is contained in the household of his son with the same name in Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio, as shown in the image accompanying this blog post.

The transcription in the "Census of Pensioners" lists the name as starting with an "E." Itis pretty clear from the image that the name is written with an initial "A."

And of course, if this were my first reference to Alam as a pensioner, I would want to locate military and pension records for him.

Consider searching this reference for your Revolutionary War era ancestor. The spelling used in this transcription may be the one that helps you to find him.

Or her--widows who are receiving a pension are enumerated as well.