The Union Army data has significant information on the demographic characteristics of recruits and household members. This includes variables that describe gender, color, language, religion and disabilities (deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic). This information can be found in the Census data set. For recruit appearance variables found in the Military data set, see the Recruit Appearance User Guide.
2. Variable Groups
Collection: U.S. Federal Census
Color: Recruit and household member skin color
Disability: Recruit and household member disability designation, Recruit and household member blind in both eyes, Recruit and household member deaf and dumb, Otherwise disabled, Sick or temporarily disabled, Idiotic, Insane
Gender: Recruit and household member gender
Language: Recruit and household member speaks English designation, Recruit and household member native language, Mother tongue of mother and father if foreign born, Language spoken in home before coming to U.S.
3. Historical Background
3.1 Original Sources
The primary source of recruit and household member demographic characteristic data is the U.S. Federal Census. The U.S. Constitution requires that a population census be taken every 10 years in order to apportion seats in the House of Representatives and determine the number of votes in the electoral college and appointments in state and local legislatures. The first census was taken in 1790. Though originally conceived as simply a population count, the censuses evolved to include much more information, such as age, marital status, occupation, birthplace, disability, nativity, etc. This additional data is very useful to historians, economists, demographers, genealogists, etc.
Because of privacy issues, Congress has stipulated a 72-year restriction to access of Federal Census schedules. Because of this restriction, the latest census manuscript we have access to is 1940. The 1850 census was the first to list people other than the head of household, as well as age, occupation, birthplace, and value of real estate. The majority of Civil War soldiers in our sample were born around 1840, so the 1850 census gives us a good idea of the early life of these men.
Census collection begins by extracting information from the Military, Pension, and Medical Records data set to guide inputters to making the strongest link possible to census schedules. We collect information on the households of the soldiers from the U.S. Federal Censuses of 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. All the information listed on the census manuscripts is collected.
We try to link each soldier to all censuses for which he is alive. Since these men all served in the Civil War (1861-1865), we know they were alive in 1850 and 1860. If a soldier was born in a foreign country and we know from the military information and/or the 1900-1930 censuses that he did not enter the U.S. until after 1850 and/or 1860, do not search for him in those years. If the soldier served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT), he may have been a slave before the war. Slaves were not enumerated on the 1850 and 1860 censuses. If the military records indicate that a soldier was a slave, he is not searched for on the 1850 and 1860 censuses. If a black soldier was born in or enlisted in a free state or a border state (DE, KY, MD, MO, TN, WV), he is searched for in 1850 and 1860.
A "quality code" is assigned to every census link which ranks the strength of a match based on the information found in the military records. The quality codes range from 1 to 4, 1 indicating the strongest link and 4 the weakest.
In the absence of a death date, all soldiers are searched through 1880. When there is no death date in the military record, we use the last living date: application date, residence date, marriage date, discharge date, etc., that proves the soldier was alive, and search for the soldier in all census years including one decade after the last living date.
3. User Guide Table
|Variable Label||Variable Name||Data-Set||Source|
|reccol, hcol||Recruit/Household member skin color (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)|
|recdis, hdis||Recruit/Household member disabilities (1850, 1860, 1870)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1850, 1860, 1870)|
|recbnd, hbnd||Recruit/Household member blind in both eyes (1880, 1910)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880, 1910)|
|recdef, hdef||Recruit/Household member deaf and dumb (1880, 1910)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880, 1910)|
|recgen, hgen||Recruit/Household member gender (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)|
|receng, heng||Recruit/Household member speaks English (1900, 1920, 1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1900, 1920, 1930)|
|reclng, hlng||Native language (1910, 1920)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1910, 1920)|
|rechlg, hhlg||Language spoken in home before coming to U.S. (1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1930)|
|recflg, hflg||Mother tongue of individual's father if foreign born (1920)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1920)|
|recmlg, hmlg||Mother tongue of individual's mother if foreign born (1920)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1920)|
|recsck, hsck||Recruit sick or temporarily disabled (1880)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880)|
|recidi, hidi||Recruit/Household member Idiotic (1880)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880)|
|recmam, hmam||Otherwise disabled (1880)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880)|
|recins, hins||Recruit/Household member insane (1880)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1880)|