Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Question of Race: The U.S. Census - Part 2

Note that the 1930 and 1940 instructions are written in the past tense. All other instructions are given in present tense, indicating that the 1930 and 1940 directions may be a summarization instead of the actual instructions.

1890 census

Whether white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian.

Write white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese or Indian, according to the color or race of the person enumerated. Be particularly careful to distinguish between blacks, mulattoes, quadroon, and octoroons. The word “black” should be used to describe those persons who have three-fourths or more black blood; “mulatto,” those persons who have from three-eighths to five-eights black blood; “quadroon,” those persons who have one-fourth black blood; and “octoroon,” those persons who have one-eighth or any trace of black blood.


1900 census

Write “W” for white; B for black (negro or negro descent); Ch for Chinese; Jp for Japanese, and In for Indian, as the case may be.

1910 and 1920 census

Write W for white; B for black; Mu for mulatto; Ch for Chinese; Jp for Japanese; In for Indian. For all persons not falling within one of these classes, write OT (for other), and write on the left-hand margin of the schedule the race of the person so indicated.

For census purposes, the term black (B) includes all person who are evidently full blooded negroes, while the term “mulatto” (Mu) includes all other persons having some proportion or perceptible trace of negro blood

1930 census

A person of mixed White and Negro blood was to be returned as Negro, no matter how small the percentage of Negro blood; someone part Indian and part Negro also was to be listed as Negro unless the Indian blood predominated and the person was generally accepted as an Indian in the community.

A person of mixed White and Indian blood was to be returned as an Indian, except where the percentage of Indian blood was very small or where he or she was regarded as White in the community. For persons reported as American Indian in column 12 (color or race), columns 19 and 20 were to be used to indicate the degree of Indian blood and the tribe, instead of the birthplace of the father and mother.

In order to obtain separate figures for Mexicans, it was decided that all persons born in Mexico, or having parents born in Mexico, who were not definitely White, Negro, Indian, Chinese, or Japanese, would be returned as Mexicans (Mex).

Any mixture of White and some other race was to be reported according to the race of the parent who was not white; mixtures of colored races were to be listed according to the father's race, except Negro-Indian (discussed above).

1940 census

All of the same procedures as in 1930 but “With regard to race, the only change from 1930 was that Mexicans were to be listed as White unless they were definitely Indian or some race other than White.”


It's tempting to conclude that our national obsession with race has been fueled in part by the government's obsession with classifying each of us into the appropriate category, all in the name of science and economics. It's also possible that the government has acted as a mirror for what was happening in society at large at any given time. So which came first — the chicken or the egg?

Until Next Time!


Note this post first published online, February 20, 2008, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online http://www.thenews-messenger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=BLOGS02

References:
“The Color Line in Ohio,” Frank U. Quillan, PH.D., (Quillan's Thesis for the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor) 1913.
United States Census Bureau, “Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000,” 2002.
“The Seventh Census of the United States: 1850,” J.D.B. DeBow, Superintendent of the United States Census, 1853
1830 US Fed Census, Ohio, Ross County, Chillicothe, Vincent Curtis, HOH
1840 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky County, Lower Sandusky, Vincent Curtice, HOH
1850 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky County, Rice, Vincent Curtis, HOH, Visit 1538.
1860 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky, Fremont, Thomas Reese, HOH, Visit 96.
1870 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky, Fremont, Thomas G. Reese, HOH, Visit 133.
1880 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky, Sandusky Twp, Thomas Reese, HOH, Visit 50.
1900 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky, Fremont, T.G. Reese, HOH, Visit 151.
1910 US Fed Cen, Ohio, Sandusky, Fremont, T.G. Reese, HOH, Visit 48.
State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Certificate, Thomas G. Reese, File 50507

No comments:

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Terry

Terry

Labels