Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Schedules of Special Census of Indians, 1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data:

Schedules of Special Census of Indians, 1880. Microfilm publication M1791, 5 rolls. ARC ID: 2790873. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007, Record Group 29. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

About U.S., Schedules of Special Census of Indians, 1880

In 1880, enumerator instructions for the U.S. Federal Census directed census takers to include Native Americans who were “not in tribal relations” and living among white residents on the general population schedules. They were not to record “Indians not taxed”—that is, Native Americans who were nomadic or lived on government Indian reservations. These individuals were enumerated in a separate census that year. This database contains images of those census schedules.

What You May Find in the Records

Each record in this collection includes two images on which enumerators were to record details about the residents of one dwelling. (There are exceptions where multiple households were recorded on one sheet.) The cover page gives the names of the tribe, reservation, agency, and post office. The dwelling number in order of visitation is also on this page, as well as the type of dwelling. Abbreviations used were “H” — house (sometimes with a description of what it was made of), “P” — pueblo, or “L” — lodge (again, sometimes including what it was made of).

The subsequent image lists:

  • Indian name (with an English translation and any alternate names regularly used) of each person in the family
  • relationship to the head of the family
  • marital and tribal status
  • degree of tribal ancestry
  • length of time on the reservation
  • whether individual wore “citizen’s dress” (white man’s clothing)
  • languages spoken
  • gender
  • age (as of census date of 1 October 1880), and for those born within the year, the month they were born
  • occupation
  • whether sick or disabled, type of infirmities, and whether vaccinated
  • literacy and whether attended school within the year
  • number of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and dogs owned
  • number and types of firearms owned
  • details on the amount of property owned and cultivated, by patent, allotment, or tribal regulation
  • whether self-supporting or supported by family, government, civilized industries, hunting, fishing, or gathering

In certain cases the enumerator added information about the tribe’s customs or manner of living.

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