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1860 Census Overview

Due to escalating tensions as a result of the Civil War, the 1860 Census only includes abbreviated reports. Although these reports were shortened, there were no major data losses.

In the 1860 and 1850 census years, there was a separate slave questionnaire. In addition, the Census Bureau created maps of the southern states for Union troops.

1860 Census Facts

  • Census Population: 31,443,321 — a 35.6% increase from the 1850 Census
  • Census Date: June 1, 1860
  • Census Date Released: 1932
  • Number of States Participating: 33
  • Data Lost: None

1860 Census Questions Asked

    Number of family members
  • Name, age, and sex
  • Color (race)
  • Profession, occupation, or trade
  • Value of person’s real estate and personal estate
  • Place of birth
  • If the person had been married or attended school within the last year
  • If the person was over 20 years of age and if he could not read or write
  • If the person was deaf, dumb, blind, or idiotic
The supplemental slave questionnaire recorded:
  • Name of owner
  • Number of slaves
  • Age, sex, and race of slaves
  • Number of uncaught escaped slaves
  • Number of slaves freed

Notable Events Between 1850-1860:

  • The Compromise of 1850 goes into effect, which amends the Fugitive Slave Act and abolishes the Slave Trade in Washington D.C.
  • On February 28, 1854, the Republican party is founded in Ripon, Wisconsin.
  • In 1851, the United States participates in the first World’s Fair in London, England. The exhibit hosts 50 nations and 39 colonies throughout its time of operation.

Were your ancestors alive during this pivotal time in American history? Use the 1860 U.S. Federal Census records to find where your ancestors lived and worked and then use our collection of newspaper archives to uncover detailed stories of their daily lives. The 1860 Census online records are packed with valuable information to help you learn more about your family history.