Tag Archives: Federal Records Archives

1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules

Genealogy resource rarely used in ancestry research

1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules

The 1880 census is the mother lode of questions pertaining to physical condition, criminal status, and poverty. In addition to the basic questions on the population schedule, additional questions were posed in the ‘Supplemental Schedules for the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes’, commonly called the Defective Schedule or DDD Schedule.

When a person was noted as blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane, ‘maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled’, or was enumerated in a prison, orphanage, or poorhouse, further information was to be gathered on one of seven special schedules:

  • Insane
  • Idiots [defined as those ‘whose mental faculties was arrested in infancy or childhood before coming to maturity’]
  • Deaf-Mutes
  • Blind
  • Homeless Children (in Institutions)
  • Inhabitants in Prison
  • Pauper and Indigent Inhabitants (in Institutions)


These special schedules are arranged in the same order as the population schedule. When you find someone on the 1880 census who is noted as insane, etc., make note of the enumeration district, page number, and line which that person appears. The special schedules should exist for each enumeration district; this information is listed at the top of each special schedule. Each person is listed in the order he or she appears on the population schedule; the page and line numbers are given before each person’s name.

The Figure below shows Eliza Derickson enumerated in the 1880 census in the County Alms House, Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware (enumeration district 20, page 21, line 2). We can see that she is ‘maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled’. With the enumeration district, page and line numbers, we can go to the correct special schedule

Figure: Eliza Derickson enumerated in the 1880 Census


Defective Schedule

The Insane and Idiots schedules are similar in many regards. Both ask the age at onset. The Insane schedule asks for ‘Form of Disease’ [defined as mania, melancholia, paresis (general paralysis), dementia, epilepsy, or dipsomania.] The Idiots schedule asks for the supposed cause. The instructions to the enumerators give as examples, ‘scarlet fever, measles, meningitis and etc. Blow on head, fall, and etc. Fright, and etc. Both schedules ask for the names of any institutions the person had been in, the length of stay, and year discharged.

With many records of mental hospitals and asylums closed to the public, the Insane and Idiots schedules may be a researcher’s only record with medical information of those who were institutionalized. It must be remembered, however, that it is unknown who gave the information, especially if the person was not in an institution at the time of the census (when the enumerator was likely getting information from the institution records.)

Figure: Insane Schedule, District 36, Kent County, Delaware

Insane Schedule5V.jpg

Figure: Idiots Schedule, District 36, Kent County, Delaware

Idiots Schedule5V.jpg

Dependents Schedule

The Deaf-Mutes and Blind schedules are virtually identical. Both ask for the supposed cause, age of onset, whether the person was self-supporting, the name of institutions attended, length of time in that institution, and year discharged.

Figure: Deaf-Mutes Schedule, District 24, Fulton County, Ohio


Figure: Blind Schedule, District 24, Fulton County, Ohio



Gen-Fed Program for 2018 Released

Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Program for 2018 Released

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, gives welcoming remarks to begin week-long Gen-Fed at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2017.

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records has announced its 2018 list of lecturers and topics for the week-long course to be held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and College Park, Maryland, from July 16–20, 2018. Among those presenting are NARA staff members (current and retired), and expert genealogists, researchers, and historians from a variety of backgrounds. The Innovation Hub at NARA-DC, on Pennsylvania Avenue, located within the Robert M. Warner Research Center on the first floor, offers proximity to archivists and records and serves as the institute’s home base.

Records from all three branches of governments will be studied during the institute—legislative, executive, and judicial. The program’s opening day immerses attendees in multiple strategies for on-site and remote research with lectures focused on solving genealogical problems scheduled later in the week. Informal access to reference archivists, a hallmark of the institute, has been expanded.

Although NARA is now closed on Saturdays, longer hours on Monday through Friday result in more time for research during the week. An orientation to genealogical research at the Library of Congress on Monday evening prepares attendees to take advantage of LC evening hours throughout the week. On Saturday, July 21, participants may attend an orientation at the Daughters of the America Revolution (DAR) Library and spend a full day exploring one of the top genealogical libraries in the country.

Online registration for the 2018 Genealogical Institute on Federal Records will open on Saturday, February 24, at 1:00 PM EST. Details on registration will be released on Thursday, February 15th. For more information on the institute and its history, visit www.gen-fed.org.

A Federal Family Tree and Finding Your Way in Federal Records
        —Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, Director, Gen-Fed
Retrieval Workshop: Getting the Pull Slips Right
       Debra A. Hoffman, Assistant Director, Gen-Fed
Using the National Archives Catalog for Genealogical Research
       Suzanne Isaacs and Meredith Doviak, NARA
NARA’s Records, Coast to Coast
       Trevor Plante, NARA
Introduction to Local History and Genealogy, Main Reading Room, Library of Congress (LC) (at LC)
       — James Sweany, MSLS
Basic Military Records and Pension Records
       Jonathan Webb Deiss, Military Research Specialist, soldiersource.com
Immigration & Nationality: Beyond the Basic Documents, Part I and Part II
       Marian Smith, Historian, United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS)
Mining Land Entry Records for Family History and Reward for Service: Bounty Land Records
       Angela McGhie, CG, genealogist, lecturer, blogger, and course coordinator of courses at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)
Blasting Brick Walls with Legislative Records and Unique Map Holdings of NARA
       — Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, genealogist, course coordinator at SLIG and Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)
State Department Correspondence Case Study
       Kenneth W. Heger, PhD, NARA (retired)
Using Federal Records to Explore Native American Ancestry
       Angela Walton-Raji, genealogist, author, founding member of AfriGeneas.com and the Midwest African-American Genealogy Institute (MAGGI)
Overcoming African American Research Challenges with Federal Records
—LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, genealogist, author of A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors in Laurens County, South Carolina, and course coordinator at SLIG (2019) 
Court Records: Making a Federal Case Out of It
 and Spread the Word: More Family in Federal Records
       Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL ,“The Legal Genealogist”
Introduction to the Daughters of the America Revolution (DAR) Library (at DAR)
       —Darryn Lickliter, MLIS

CG and CGL are proprietary marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.



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