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The 1790, 1800, 1810 census enumerations for Guilford County, N.C. were abstracted from microfilm of the originals. Every effort has been made to read and transcribe each entry correctly. When the name or spelling of the "Head of Household" was uncertain, other resources were referred to: ie, printed 1790-1810 census indexes and the 1815 printed tax list for the county. In an effort to resolve questions concerning numbers, the census page was read both horizonally and vertically and the Assistant Marshal's subtotals for that page were consulted .

1820 Guilford County Census - Problems with 1820 Census- thick ink was applied with a broad nib and a heavy hand to very  soft paper which bled sometimes through the next sheet, sometimes indecipherable.

Secondly, officials decided to make the enumeration alphabetical.  The useful ability to "see who the neighbors were" is to a great extent lost.

Lastly, the 1820 census is notorious for it confusing third column under "free white  males", which gives the number of young men 16 to 18, followed by a column showing young men 16 to 26. Instructions were :

"...Those..between 16 and 18, will all be repeated in the column of those between 16 and 26." Guilford County, Samuel Hunter, the Marshal's Assistant, ignored it. The columns and their totals show that those in the third column (for those of 16 and under 18) are not repeated in the fourth column (for those of 16 and under 26). In effect. the fourth column lists those of 18 and under 26.

More information is in the book.

This work was prepared from a reading of National Archives Microfilm Publication M33-85. Potter's work and Will Perry Johnson's transcription of the 1815 tax list for Guilford County have provided the references which I've used most to help with questionable identities. Guilford County marriage bonds, and W. W. Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. I, North Carolina, were also used. In several cases, my own experience with genealogical research among Guilford County names was relied upon. "Best-guess" or questionable readings are all underlined.

Mary A. Browning Jamestown, NC August 1996

1830 Guilford County Census Compiler Jerry Jarrell has taken great pains to include every item of information from the original population schedule (microfilm copy), including the  statistical  data  from  the second page regarding slaves, free people of color, and the blind, deaf and  dumb.  This  is  especially  beneficial for researchers of African-American history. In his  effort  to  maintain  the  integrity  of  the  original  record, Jarrell has arranged his abstract so that the layout of each page corresponds to that of the original. The only deviation he made from the original was to switch the  name  format  from  "first  and  last"  to  "last,  first"  in order to facilitate the indexing process. The result of  Jarrell's  efforts  and  those  of  his  proofreaders  is  an abstract of the highest quality.

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For the 1840 census, its sixth, the U. S. Congress repeated the basic formula used in the 1830 census. Once again, printed forms were provided. June 1, 1840 was "census day", so the information collected was supposed to be accurate as of that date, no matter when it was obtained. The county's population was large enough to warrant dividing it in half, the north division enumerated by John A. Smith and the south division by Joseph A. McLean.

Only the head of each household was named (unless there was also a Revolutionary pensioner), while free white members of the household were counted in some detail in 5- or 10-year age groups for each sex. Free colored persons and slaves were counted by sex, in less specific age groups.

The 1840 is probably best known as the census in which Revolutionary pensioners are named.  This census lists eleven of these ancient stalwarts living within its boundaries:  William Paylor, Richard Taylor, William Ryan, Matthew Roe, John Scott, Tho. Smith, James Henderson, John White, Geo. Neese, Jno. McBride and Jacob Hickman. These veterans are noted in the index by (RS) Revolutionary Service.

In this census, the growing national preoccupation with education is indicated by a new category, "Schools, &c.", in which several columns provide space for the numbers and kinds of schools and numbers of scholars attending them. Very interesting and useful to the genealogist is the very last column showing the number of illiterate white persons over 20 years of age in each family. In 1839, Guilford County citizens had voted by a large majority to establish public schools and districts were in the planning stage in 1840.' Private academies seem to have been numerous for the size of the overall population. New Garden Boarding School, (which evolved into Guilford College), organized in 1837, has had a rare longevity, but was not alone.

Occupational listings were expanded for this enumeration. Added to agriculture and commerce were mining, navigation of oceans, and learned professions and engineering.  "Manufacturing" was augmented by "and trades". A separate manufacturing schedule was taken,' which shows a "cotton manufactory" in Greensboro producing goods valued at $50,000 on its 2,500 spindles. This first significant example of industrialization in the county, the Mt. Hecla Cotton Mill, moved within a few years.' However, it might account for some of the new surnames that appear in Guilford County in 1840.

One couldn't ask for a more complete or convenient rendering of this important information than the one that Lawrence E. (Jerry) Jarrell has used in this book. It follows exactly the format used in the original and is a faithful transcription of it. I am sure you will find it as useful as I know I will. -- Mary A. Browning

1850 Guilford County Census is one of the few taken showing county and state of birth.

1860 Census - North division has county and state of birth, south division has state of birth. A 1964 abstract made from a microfilm copy of the original by Misses M. Lucille and Ruth H. Dever of High Point. While their work was never published, they generously made typescripts available to area libraries, and, eventually, to the Guilford County Genealogical Society for serial publication in The Guilford Genealogist.

However, it was soon apparent that the best and most appropriate treatment of the material was to make some needed changes and to publish the abstract in book form. In effect we abstracted the census all over again, using the Dever typescript to check against, but making   changes and   additions where needed. (Fortunately, we found a much clearer microfilm print than was   available in the 1960s.)  Among the changes made: abbreviations in the original enumeration are kept, i.e. "Jno."  is not shown in our abstract as "John", but as "Jno." Real property is distinguished from personal, so researchers will know if it's useful to look for deeds.  The nature of disabilities is given as in the original. After all, it may be distressing to learn that someone was a "lunatic," but the possibility of a lunacy hearing opens new avenues of research.

22   January  1991

Mary A. Browning Managing Editor

Guilford Co. Genealogical Society