Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mortality Schedules

There are newspaper articles almost weekly about someone objecting to the 2010 census. Some complain of big brother getting too much information. Others worry about identity theft.

The census takers in the mid 1800s obtained a lot more information and considering the literacy level of the people at that time, it is somewhat amazing that they were able to do it.

One interesting part was the Mortality Schedule. No, it wasn't an appointment set by the Death Panel. Those hadn't started yet.

It was a list of the people who died in the year before the regular census was taken. It listed the name, age, race, sex, cause of death, place of birth and physician, Can you imagine someone going door to door today obtaining this information?

Florida as a State doing it's own census for 1885 and 1895, between the Federal census, also did a mortality schedule in 1885. The one for Taylor County Florida has several of my relatives on it.

Holly Ezell Blanchard, my great great great grandmother is listed although her name is shows as Hattie. She died in October 1884. The cause of her death is shown as fall - crippled. She was 87 years old.

Samantha Green Evans, sister of my great grandfather Andrew Jackson Green, also died in October 1884 at the age of 27 from malarial fever.

John Elkin Pridgeon, father in law of my great great aunt Dora Elizabeth Hogan Pridgeon, died on October 25, 1884 at age 64 from Pneumonia. His youngest son, Floyd Pridgeon, died in July from a fever at age 8.

So this one sheet of paper lists five people who are related to my family. Considering that I only know of one of them having a marked grave, this paper is the only way anyone would have ever known what happened to them.

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