United States Census Indian Schedules

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(Not to be confused with American Indian Census Rolls.) There are two kinds of Indian census schedules. This page is about the the kind of special "non-population" schedules made by the U.S. Census Bureau at the same time as regular federal population schedules. If during his visit to the rest of the population, a census taker discovered a resident was an American Indian, the census taker in some census years completed a separate, additional schedule for that person. For the 1910 federal census, Indian schedules are found at the end of the regular population schedules for each county. The Indian schedules are similar but have some slightly different questions from the regular population schedules.

Another kind of Indian census was often taken one tribe (Indian nation) at a time by Bureau of Indian Affairs agents, and relatively few non-Indians were counted. Tribal censuses, or Indian census rolls counted mostly Indians living in that tribe. They were taken at a different time than the regular United States federal censuses. This type of Indian or tribal census, or Indian census roll is not described any further on this Wiki page. For further information about that type of Indian or tribal census see American Indian Census Rolls.

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Indexes[edit | edit source]

Indian Population Schedules -- 1900 United States Census[edit | edit source]

When the United State Census Bureau collected information for the 1900 federal census, instructions were sent to the census takers to record information about Indians, "both those on reservations and those living in family groups outside of reservations. Special forms headed "Indian Population" were provided for this purpose.

The census takers were instructed to make an enumeration of Indians living on reservations on the Indian Population forms. If an Indian had intermarried with a white or Negro and that person was living with the Indian family, they were also to be recorded on the Indian Population form. But if an Indian individual was living outside of a reservation with a white or Negro family, that person was to be listed on the general population schedule with the rest of the family. The same instructions were also given for Indians living off the reservation.

Indian Population schedules were divided into two parts. The top half of the page was identical to the general population schedule, but contained only twenty lines, instead of the usual fifty. The bottom half of the page contains "Special Inquiries Relating to Indians" for those listed on the top half of the page. These inquiries included any other name the person may have been using at the time of the census (usually their Indian name), the tribe of the person listed as well as that of the person's father and mother, degree of white blood, whether or not the person was living in polygamy, whether or not they were "taxed," and the type of dwelling in which they were living.

Census enumerators were instructed to record occupations as on general schedules, except if the Indian was wholly dependent on the government, they were to write "Ration Indian" in the occupation column. If they were partly self-supporting or a minor receiving rations, special instructions were also given.

The question concerning whether or not the individual was taxed provides the researcher with some clues to some other potential records. If the Indian either (1) was "living among white people as an individual, and as such subject to taxation," or (2) was "living with his or her tribe but has received an allotment of land, and thereby has acquired citizenship," then the answer in column 35 was to be recorded as "Yes." In the second case above, column 37 should also have "Yes" recorded in it. If the individual was living on the reservation and has a "Yes" in column 37, there should be an allotment record for that individual somewhere among the agency records for that reservation.

If the answer in column 35 is "No," that should indicate that the Indian is either living on a reservation without an allotment, or is "roaming over unsettled territory."

Column 38 is an indication of the permanence of the Indian family. If they were living in a tent, tepee, or other temporary dwelling, the entry in the column should state "movable." If they are living in a permanent dwelling of any kind, the entry should be "fixed."

The Indian Population schedules may be collected together under the name of the reservation or Indian school. They are filed in the Bureau of Census under the name of the county and state in which the reservation or school is located. Indian families living off the reservation may be filed with the township or county in which they were residing.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Wright, Matthew. Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records. (Orem, Utah: 2001 Ancestry) FHL Book 973 X27s.