Family Tree Friday: Nonpopulation Census Records – Agricultural Schedules

A couple of weeks ago I showed you an example of a Mortality Schedule.  Today I want to show you another type of Nonpopulation schedule – this time an Agricultural Schedule.

If you have an ancestor who was a farmer in the mid-nineteenth century, you may be able to find information about their farm.  You may find the total acreage of the farm and how it was used, as well as the value and quantity of produce and livestock on the farm.

For example, in 1870 William Wonduly owned 40 acres of improved land and two acres of unimproved land in the form of woodland.  The cash value of his farm was $8,400.  In addition, he owned three horses and five cows.  He produced 300 bushels of Indian corn and 150 pounds of butter annually.  If you had only looked at the 1870 population schedule, you wouldn’t have learned any of this.
One really interesting thing about William Wonduly’s farm is that it was located in Philadelphia.  Researchers are often surprised to find farms located in major urban areas. 

There are limitations to what you can find in the Agricultural Schedules.  In 1850 and 1860, farms with $100 or greater production value were counted.  In 1870 and 1880, farms with $500 or greater were counted.  So if your ancestor had a very small farm, they may not show up in the Agricultural schedules.  But if they had a larger farm, you may find a lot of information.

There are no indexes to these records.  The Agricultural census schedules are organized exactly the same way as the population schedules, so they are pretty easy to use.  The best way to research them is to find the person you are looking for on the population schedules and make a note of the state, county, and township or enumeration district number.

The Agricultural schedules held by NARA are available on microfilm.  For a list of available records by state, see our website.

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