Sunday, November 6, 2016

Census Sunday: Comparing My Nebraska Farm Families in 1885

Three out of four of my Second Great Grandparents on my Dad's side were farm families in Nebraska in 1885.  How do I learn what livestock and crops they raised?  There's a census for that.

Family Search has online the actual images of the 1885 Nebraska State Agricultural census with each page full of the information for ten different farmers, including how much land, how many horses, cattle & other livestock, and what crops they raised.  Clicking on the image here will make it bigger, but still not big enough to read well.  To make it easier to compare my families, I created a spreadsheet with only the info for them.  I've added a factor for the people in the household - the ones who worked the farm.  I've given a count as to how many Males and Females, Under Age 12 and Over Age 13 to see how the responsibilities fell on the household.  Those numbers came from the Population portion of that 1885 census.  Line numbers on the left coordinate with the columns on the original census form.  The locations for these three are in Gage (Menke) and Jefferson (Mann & Gaisford) counties.  Mann and Gaisford were in the same precinct.  The fourth set of Second Great Grandparents (Roscoe) had been farmers, but in 1885 he was in Agri-business selling windmills and pumps.

I wasn't surprised that none of them raised sheep, but very surprised that Indian corn was the only variety of corn asked about on the form.  There were differences in amount of land and livestock between them all, but Henry Menke and William Mann were nearly even in total farm value.  Ancestry has online the 1880 Agricultural census which asked for the same information.  I can use that to compare the difference 5 years made for each farm family, but I won't post that here.

To see all of the chart click on the white bar along the right side under the arrow, hold and slide down.

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