Discussion of the Index Files

My philosophical approach to this project is that the census listing should stay in the order Samuel Turner put it in, rather than alphabetizing the listing itself. This lets the researcher see who the actual neighbors were, for the most part, rather than having this, to me, valuable, information destroyed in the interests of looking up specific individuals more quickly. That's what indexes are for!

Over time this is becoming quite a complex index. I think it will be the actual heart of the whole website, once it's sufficiently finished for it to function as I think it will. I'm in the process of including tables for families for the 1840 and 1830 censuses where they are reconstructable and am also including even earlier tables in some cases. Eventually I also hope to include the 1860, 1870, & 1880 censuses in the growing database as well, but that is still a ways down the road.

You will notice numbers (or else an s- or an *) in between dashes on each name listed; they correspond to the location within the household table that the person was placed by the enumerator (Samuel R. Turner). Also you will notice a couple of special characters immediately in front of some of the surnames. The equals (=) mark should always accompany a line that starts with --1- as that indicates this person is the head of that particular household. An asterisk (*) indicates the person is not a child of the head of the household. Other combinations are possible but they should be self-explanatory.

A surname in parentheses is the married surname of a female in the household that I haven't been able to find a maiden surname for. That's where YOU come in! I can use all the help I can get to find more of these maiden surnames for inclusion in the index! I have gotten a few maiden surnames from other researchers already and have included a link to their e-mail addresses in the notes section of the particular household they helped me with in those cases where they agreed to me doing so; thus you can get in touch with them to compare notes!

I've already included someone that I know was in a particular family in 1850 but who, for whatever reason, did not get enumerated. His listing is in red to make it stand out. I will do the same for others that wind up in the same (or similar) circumstances. Also, where I've located people in more than one census, I've launched an ongoing project to flag their index listings so that you can select which year you want to view their household for. I'm also setting up links at the bottom of each household table that will let you go directly to the other available years. Look up Elijah Smith, b c1766 MD for an example of what I'm hoping to do with all of the information.

Currently the vast majority of the listing gives the age as it was given to the enumerator in 1850 but I will, over time, be converting that to approximate birth year (or specific birth date where I can find one) so that it will be somewhat less confusing looking people up.

That conversion has now been completed (although I haven't, as yet, included any specific birth dates in the index). The next task is to work my way through the index in an effort to list the women in all possible places a researcher might think to look for them, i.e. Jane Doe marries John Brown; she can be found both with the Does and with the Browns. In the Does she'd be listed as "Doe-Brown, Jane" and in the Browns she'd be listed as "*Brown, Jane" where the asterisk indicates she isn't a child of the head of the household. In the household listings her name would be listed in the longest possible form (which can account for multiple marriages. That way researchers would be able to find her under whatever name their records indicated her surname was, and then would be able to find a fuller description of her various name changes in the actual household table.

There are 7,433 listed free inhabitants of Morgan County, Kentucky in the 1850 census, with 7,432 of them having their surnames identified. I also have the given names for eight of the (then) slaves (and a surname for one who I know the surname she chose after she was freed) but pinning them down to a specific age is likely to be a problem. Every one of these people is listed in the index (the slaves that I don't have surnames for are listed under "None recorded") which, due to size, I've divided into seventeen parts:

      A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I-K, L, M, N-O, P, Q-R, S, T-V, and W-Z
      (although no surnames began with X or Z in the 1850 census).

I have normalized the spelling of the names in so far as was possible by comparing versions from the 1830 and 1840 censuses as well as the ones from 1860 through 1880 plus the Marriage License book, the Marriage Register, the agricultural census, and the slave schedules of the 1850 census. All versions of the surnames are presented in the index in that a particular variant spelling will refer you to the spelling I chose as most probably correct. I've also inserted links to the chosen spelling to enable you to access it more quickly. (In a few cases the chosen spelling is immediately apparent on the page so no links were necessary.) The only exception to this is the name Orsburn which wound up being listed as either Ausburn or Osborn in later years.

Prior to this effort there were two transcriptions of the Morgan County, KY census for 1850 that I know of. The first one I saw was by Harley Little and was indexed by houshold number and surname of the head of house plus certain maiden names apparently derived from his own research. The second one was by Rowenna Lawson and was indexed by the surname of the head of household and the original census page number, handy if you have the original or a microfilm of it ready to hand, but not so handy without that access. She did include the page numbers of the original census in her listing, but not consistently. She numbered the pages of her listing and it would've been relatively easy to use them instead, but she didn't. Tying the names to the actual households seems the best approach to me since it takes you immediately to the dwelling the person was in when Sam Turner enumerated them, rather than having to hunt your way through all of the households for a particular page number. The form you find my efforts in is, to me, the absolute best way to go about things. All of the people that had their names listed are in the index and you can click on the year provided to go directly to the household table for them (and, as time goes by, to other households they are in as well).

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