1839 South Carolina Census

I didn’t write in April. There was a lot going on.

Pandemic. Knitting. Crocheting. Sewing masks. Research. Transcribing and indexing for Family Search. Taking animals to the vet. Planning for the future. Watching TV online. Scanning old photos.

One of my issues that I couldn’t resolve was that WordPress had an update for their template. I tried to insert some old photos of Leslie’s mother into a previous post, and I failed miserably. I had to walk away from it after multiple attempts. I’m back today to see if I can conquer this online beast.

I indexed records for Family Search and reached a goal of 1000 records. That total meant that I could go to the next level and become a reviewer. So for the past several days I’ve been reviewing which seems easier than transcribing. I took a break a few days ago and decided to browse their image collections. It’s a lot of records to look at, and some of them are already on Ancestry. I was able to pop in and out of several huge collections to see if they had anything of interest.

I learned something. In 1838, the South Carolina Legislature enacted a state census. Family Search has the collection for St. Peter’s Parish, a now-defunct designation, but that area has been of special interest to me for over a decade.

Have a look. It is the enumeration of free white people listed by name and how many in the household. It is the most basic census I’ve ever seen. Some of the pages haven’t been fully scanned, and the number of people in the household has been cut off the right-hand side of the page.

A Census of the Free white inhabitants
of St Peters, St Lukes, Prince William’s, and
St Helena Parishes, comprising Beaufort District
taken by Jno M Baker agreeable to an Act of the
Legislature passed in December 1838.

St. Peter’s Parish had the most free white inhabitants of the 4 areas that were enumerated. The list is mostly alphabetized, but a few random names tucked here and there for good measure. I’d love to see how the enumerator kept his notes. Did he use 3×5 index cards and then arrange them alphabetically?

I found 3 Lawton households: Joseph Maner Lawton, Col. Alexander James Lawton, and Catharine Lawton. Which means that I’m going to have to go have a look at the 1840 census and see what’s going on there….

5 Responses to “1839 South Carolina Census”

  1. GP Cox Says:

    Priorities! You’ve been working at being part of the solution – not the problem. Kuddoes, Ruth!! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Caren Jones Says:

    Good morning, Ruth, Thank you for continuing your research and writing your blog!

    The 1839 Census is so exciting to me! I see 4 McKenzie’s (3 together and 1 sandwiched between two Maners). Can you help me decipher the first name of the McKenzie between Eliz Manor and Maj John Manor?

    According to my records, Archibald McKenzie died in 25 Jan 1827 leaving wife Harriet Frances (Hutchinson) McKenzie and 4 children under age 10: John Hutchinson McKenzie, Lawrence Anthony McKenzie, Jane T McKenzie and Edward Archibald McKenzie. I am wondering if/when/who Harriet remarried after Archibald’s death.

    Your research inspires me!!

    Take care and stay well,

    Caren McKenzie Jones


    Liked by 1 person

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