The 1880 census is one of the more interesting censuses taken by the United States because of the questions included on it. I have looked at it many times to find close and not so close family members.
One of the information categories unique to the 1880 census is the HEALTH status found in columns 15-20:
Census takers were required to query the household as to whether or not anyone was sick or temporarily disabled, blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane or maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled.
This is probably not news to anyone who has been reading census records for any length of time.
However, are you aware that IF the census taker ticked off any of these boxes, then a SUPPLEMENTAL census schedule page was also completed with further details?
Note that many of the descriptive terms are outdated and thankfully not in use today.
What do these records look like? Here is the entry for Mathew Wood, 43 years old, who lived with his mother in Calais, Washington, Maine in 1880.
Wood, Mathew, white, male, 43, born abt 1837, son, insane, born ME, England and New Brunswick
Going to Ancestry’s DDD schedule for Maine, this entry appears:
Census Page 1, Wood, Mathew, Calais, Washington, not currently an inmate, Demented, attack happened 15 years ago, there has been one attack and he was aged 28 years when it happened. Mathew didn’t need to be kept under lock and key or in any kind of restraint. He had been hospitalized, but the image is blurry – Something Springs, ?, it looks like for 2 months and a stray note at the far right looks like it says Deaf.
Mathew’s “attack” would have happened about 1865, based on this information. There is a death certificate for Mathew, who died on 11 September 1906 in Cooper, Washington, Maine, where he was living in 1906. Census records list Mathew’s occupation as laborer, but his death certificate says he was a soldier.
1865 – What did Mathew experience, possibly during the Civil War, that caused him to have a mental breakdown? He appears in the 1890 veteran census, listed as a private. Maine state records show him in Company F, 6th Maine Infantry. He was wounded on 7 November 1863 at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, one of 419 Union and 1674 Confederate casualties.
This is a sad story, but an excellent example of what one might learn from the DDD supplemental schedules, combined with other records.
Where can these supplemental census schedules be found?
First, you would search for the 1880 Census Schedule for Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes, or the DDD classes of 1880.
It is important to note that, while not in a category on the regular 1880 census enumeration form, the supplemental schedule ALSO included homeless children in institutions, inhabitants of prisons and paupers/indigents living in institutions.
Be aware that people who were enumerated on the the so called Delinquent Class schedule DO NOT appear in the regular 1880 schedule. You need to do a separate search.
Second, these schedules are not all in one place or all online. The National Archives has microfilms for Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Ancestry also has some of the schedules. Scroll down the U.S. Census list:
Ancestry actually has a more extensive list than NARA, although it is lacking Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana and the District of Columbia, all of which NARA has on microfilm.
Ancestry has indexed the DDD classes of 1880 for Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
That leaves a number of states unaccounted for because these schedules were offered to individual states, if they wanted to keep them.
I have been unable to locate the 1880 DDD schedules for Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. I have read that some schedules have been lost, but have not seen a definitive list.
Here are the remaining states and locations of the 1880 DDD schedule. There are a few state schedules that have been copied and are housed in more than one place, but these links will get you started. These websites may or may not have digitized versions.
Arkansas History Commission
Colorado – Duke University Library
Dakota Territory – South Dakota State Archives
Delaware Public Archives
District of Columbia – Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Florida State Archives
Idaho State Historical Society
Indiana State Archives
Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
Louisiana State University Library
Mississippi Department of Archives & History
State Historical Society of Missouri
Montana State Historical Society
Nevada State Library and Archives
New Hampshire State Library
North Carolina State Archives
West Virginia Archives and History
Wisconsin Historical Society
The 1880 census is the only U.S. census that recorded this type of information. While the classification terms are difficult to accept, the information does provide one additional record that helps to document the lives of our ancestors.