Standards: Civics Standard Four: Students will identify and employ the formal and informal methods by which democratic groups function.

Geography Standard Three: Students will develop an understanding of the diversity of human culture and the unique nature of places.

History Standard One: Students will employ chronological concepts in analyzing historical phenomena.

History Standard Two: Students will gather, examine, and analyze historical data.

History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.

Objectives: 1) The students will understand the purpose of the census.

2) The students will understand how the census can reveal information about people and history.

3) The students will create their own census.

Materials: 1) Lesson M, Delaware Public Archives, 1850 New Castle County Census, RG 0720

2) Worksheet

3) Drawing Paper or Graph Paper

Procedures: 1) What is a census? (A census is an official count of the people living in a country or district. Information concerning their age, gender, and type of work is also collected.) Discuss the upcoming census in the year 2000 and the importance of filling out the form and returning it to the census bureau.

2) Inform the students that they will be reviewing a census sheet from New Castle County that was completed in 1850.

3) Review the headings of each column and ask why the government may have desired this information. Look for various answers. Briefly discuss the information on the sheet. Pay close attention to the occupations, the extended families, the place of birth, and whether the child attended school. (See transcription sheet.)

4) Pass out the worksheet and give the students 10 to 15 minutes to complete the assignment. Collect the worksheet.

5) This census shows individuals located in an urban(city) area of the state. Why did so many immigrants flock to the cities of America? (Employment was easier to find in the urban areas. In addition, many of their family members who had already immigrated were settled in those areas.)

6) Inform the students that they will be designing their own census sheets. Using the 1850 census as a guide - what information would the students require to be answered in their census? Give the students the rest of the class to work on the assignment. Inform the students that the first two headings concerning "dwellings visited" and "families visited" can be omitted on their census. Collect their work at the end of class. Pass out their papers the following day and have them complete the exercise.

7) Use the remaining class time for volunteers to present their census to the class. Discuss the merits of each census with the class. Collect the papers for evaluation and grade.

EXTRA CREDIT: Why were so many Irish coming to Delaware and America? What was happening in Ireland at that time?


With the ratification of the United States Constitution, there was an immediate need for a census of the population to be taken. The number of seats in the House of Representatives and the States' respective shares in paying for the Revolutionary War debt were to be based on population. The U.S. Constitution stated:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according

to their respective Numbers . . . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. (Article I, Section 2)

From 1790 to 1840, the census only included the names of the head of the household. Other members of the household were listed only by their gender, race, and their age range. However, as the nation's population began to expand and the country's social and economic situation became more complex, the importance of detailed information concerning the people living in the United States became greater. Beginning in 1850, the census started to add more information about individuals and their families.


This is a part of the 1850 census (Record Group 0720) conducted in New Castle County. Beginning in 1850, the census listed everyone's name with their gender, age, and state or country of birth. Information concerning personal real estate, occupation, literacy, school attendance and recent marital changes was also listed. In addition, beginning in 1850, there was a column to identify individuals as "deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict." This census was taken by an Assistant U.S. Marshal who visited each home to record the information. The color description column is blank because the Marshals were instructed to leave the column blank if the individual was white.

NOTE: If a last name does not appear with an individual the person had the same last name as the person above him/her. If a birthplace does not appear the individual was born in the same place as the person directly above him/her.


Yes! The census still determines the number of representatives serving in the United States Congress. In addition, the results of the census are used in redistricting state legislatures and other local governing bodies. Census statistics are also used in calculating many federal, state, and local government plans, grants-in-aid, and revenue sharing programs. Census data (population, housing, agriculture, etc.) is collected for market analysis, planning new services and facilities, affirmative action programs, studying environmental impact, and for research in a number of academic fields. It is even more important to fill out the form now than it was in the past!


According to the Census Bureau the 2000 Census will be an easy to read, visually attractive, and simple-to-fill-out questionnaire. Before a questionnaire is sent to each house, a preliminary letter will be delivered describing the benefits to completing and returning the questionnaire. Several days later, the questionnaire will arrive. Following the questionnaire a postcard will be sent to thank everyone who participated in the process. In addition, extra questionnaires will be placed in community centers, post offices, and other public areas. Questionnaires will be available in a number of different languages.


SCHEDULE I.-Free Inhabitants in Christiana Hundred Sub Divi[sion] No. 13 in the County of New Castle State of Delaware enumerated by me, on the Twenty-First day of August 1850. O.D. Jester Ass't Marshal.

The headings across the top are:

1. Dwelling-houses numbered in the order of visitation (by census taker)

2. Families numbered in the order of visitation (by census taker)

3. The Name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family.

4. Age.

5. Sex.

6. Color, {White, black, or mulatto.}

7. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each Male Person over 15 years of age.

8. Value of Real Estate owned.

9. Place of Birth. Naming the State, Territory, or Country.

10. Married within the year.

11. Attended School within the year.

12. Persons over 20 years of age who cannot read or write.

13. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.

***The numbers along the top of the transcription pages correspond with the headings listed above.***

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13


1 142 146 Taylor Crosby 35 M Machinist Del

2 Sarah - 30 F N.J.

3 Margaret - 10 F Del 1

4 Ann M. - 8 F Del 1

5 James - 6 M Del 1

6 George H. - 4 M Del 1

7 143 147 John McCowan 28 M Shoemaker Ireland

8 Mary - 32 F Ireland

9 Mary E. - 3 F Del

10 Sarah J. - 1 6/12 F Del

11 144 148 Catherine Baxter 40 F Ireland 1

12 Mary - 18 F Ireland 1

13 Jane - 12 F Ireland

14 E. Isabella - 7 F Del 1

15 Michael - 4 M Del 1

16 145 149 Bridget Carrigan 38 F Ireland 1

17 Mary - 13 F Ireland

18 Jane - 7 F Ireland 1

19 Bridget - 4 F Ireland 1

20 James - 3 M Ireland

21 James Carrigan 36 M Sailor Ireland

22 146 150 Mary Hewes 34 F Ireland 1

23 Rose Shields - 13 F Ireland

24 Bridget - 11 F Ireland 1

25 Elizabeth - 9 F Ireland 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13


26 Peter - 7 M Del 1

27 Mary A. - 3 F Del 1

28 Michael Hackett 30 M Ireland

29 Hugh Donald 40 M Stone Mason Ireland 1

30 Antonia - 40 F Ireland 1

31 Hugh - 9 M Ireland 1

32 Margarett - 7 F Ireland 1

33 Barna(Barney?) - 5 M Del 1

34 Mary E. - 1 F Del

35 Alice Hollin - 18 F Ireland

36 148 152 Ellene Welch 60 F Ireland

37 Sarah - 28 F Del

38 149 153 Thomas Walker 23 M Refiner Ireland

39 Mary - 23 F Ireland

40 Margaritt - 4 F Del


answer key

1. List three occupations held by persons on the census list?

machinist, shoemaker, refiner, sailor, stone mason

2. What three places of birth are listed on the census?

Delaware, New Jersey, Ireland

3. How many persons are listed as born in Ireland?


4. Who is the oldest person listed on the census and what is their age? Who is the youngest person on the census and what is their age?

oldest Ellene Welch age 60 (no. 36) youngest Mary E. Donald age 1 (no. 34)

5. How many persons had attended school within the last year?


6. How many persons did not know how to read and write?



1. List three occupations held by persons on the census list?

______________ _________________ _______________

2. What three places of birth are listed on the census?

_______________ __________________ _______________

3. How many persons are listed as born in Ireland?


4. Who is the oldest person listed on the census and what is their age? Who is the youngest person on the census and what is their age?

oldest________________ youngest_________________

5. How many persons had attended school within the last year?


6. How many persons did not know how to read and write?