1840 Pensioners Census

Census Takers
Census Takers

The information contained in this 1840 Pensioners Census database is a compilation of the data on the Revolutionary War pensioners gathered from the 1840 census returns. The information is organized by place – state, county, then township. It also lists the name and age of the veteran, and the name of the head of household with whom the pensioner resided on the census date.

As part of the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, census takers obtained the names and ages of all the individuals in each household who served in the Revolutionary War or provided other military services. They recorded that information on the back of the population schedules. They listed pensioners’ ages and persons with whom they were living.

The 1840 census did not include the ages of any household members other than military pensioners. No names appear in it other than those of military pensioners and heads of household. All other household members were listed numerically using what are commonly referred to as “fence post tallies.” Fence post tallies refers to each household member being categorized by race, sex and free/slave status, with the totals for each category entered by the census-taker in the appropriate column. Although the majority of pensioners were heads of household, this was not always the case, and a determination as to the relationship between the pensioner and the head of household (if any) can often prove uniquely valuable.

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