Pennsylvania Septennial Census

In 1779, Pennsylvania began conducting seven year taxpayer census'. The purpose for the septennial census was to determine the state's General Assembly representation. While the census was taken until 1863, only 11% of them survive. Primarily, the census recorded the names of the taxpayers; however, some of the census also have occupations. The surviving census lists include freemen of color and inmates (boarders), Starting in 1800, slaves were also counted. Their Christian name, age, gender, and place of residence is given. In some cases, the slaveowner's name is also given. In 1821, Mifflin and Columbia Counties incuded age, names, and gender of the deaf, dumb, and blind. In 1828, 1835, and 1842, Franklin County counted this group. Finally, in 1863, Philadelphia included them, too.

Some of the Pennsylvania counties have transcribed copies and grouped all census by surnames. For instance, Chester County displays their septennial census by individual. To view the transcribed census, the website address is http://www.chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=1727.

The 1800 Septennial Census is the most complete of all available years. All counties are accounted for. Lee Soltow of Ohio University and Kenneth Keller of Ohio State University reviewed the information available for this census and depict life during this period; moreover the septennial census gives the earliest occupational information available in the United States. Their free research can be found at https://journals.psu.edu/phj/article/download/24289/24058.

PA Septennial Census.jpg

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