United States Finding 1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States: Institutional Records  by Amy Johnson Crow, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Finding 1880 DDD Schedules[edit | edit source]

The original DDD schedules are housed in various facilities across the United States. The federal government offered them to the states before the National Archives was formed.[1] The originals might be in a state archives, state library, or university library.

The National Archives has microfilmed some of the schedules. Organizations such as the Genealogical Society of Utah and state archives have microfilmed others.

There are a few states where the locations of the originals are not known and there are no known microfilm editions.

1890-1930[edit | edit source]

After the 1880 census, clues about possible institutionalization dwindle. Few questions like those seen in 1850 through 1880 schedules are found. As luck would have it, the census in this period with the most questions of that type is the census almost completely destroyed.

You may be aware of the loss of the vast majority of the 1890 census. For those very few fragments which remain—schedules for slightly more than 6,100 individuals—several questions offer clues to possible institutionalization:

  • Whether suffering from acute or chronic disease, with name of disease and length of time afflicted.
  • Whether defective in mind, sight, hearing, or speech, or whether crippled, maimed, or deformed, with name of defect.
  • Whether a prisoner, convict, homeless child, or pauper.

The 1900 census did not ask any questions about physical condition or criminal status. In 1910, enumerators were to ask if someone was blind (in both eyes) or deaf and dumb. Neither the 1920 nor 1930 censuses asked any questions about physical condition or criminal status.

State and Local Censuses[edit | edit source]

Some states took their own censuses, separate from those taken by the federal government. They were usually taken in a year other than a federal census year. These censuses vary from state to state (and even from one census to the next). However, some do ask questions which could be clues to institutionalization.

The 1895 Iowa census, for example, asked if a person was:

  • Deaf and dumb not in State School for Deaf
  • Blind not in State College for Blind
  • Insane not in State Hospital for Insane

Note that it is asking that they are not currently in those institutions. It does not mean that the person was never in those institutions (or similar ones in other states). Also, if the person was a child, there is the possibility that he or she may be in one of those institutions (or a similar one) in the future.

Some of these schedules are available on microfilm through FamilySearch Centers; other may only be viewed in state archives. Increasingly these are becoming available online. The most comprehensive guide is Ann S. Lainhart’s State Census Records (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992).

Local censuses are those taken by a county or township and not combined into a larger set with other counties in the state. They were taken for a variety of purposes, such as determining the number of militia-ready men, determining the number of veterans, and determining the number of sick and poor.

The Figure below shows a page from the ‘List of Deaf and Dumb, Blind, Insane and Idiotic Persons’ in Harrison Township, Perry County, Ohio. This was taken by the Perry County Auditor in the 1860s.

Figure: Example of ‘List of Deaf and Dumb, Blind, Insane and Idiotic Persons’


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hatten, Ruth Land, CGRS, 'The 'Forgotten' Census of 1880: Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes', National Genealogical Society Quarterly vol. 80, no. 1 (March 1992), 58.


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