The Veterans' Children's Census (VCC) Sample continues and expands the previous work undertaken by the EI project in collecting longitudinal life-cycle data of more than 76,000 Civil War veterans. The goal of the life-cycle analysis is to better understand the factors occurring over the life course that contribute to labor force behavior, chronic disease and mortality. Great advances in technology and digitization enabled the EI project to augment the original veteran samples with new intergenerational information.
Where the earlier data sets followed Union Army recruits from military service back to childhood and forward to death, the VCC study takes the next step by following the veterans' children throughout their lives to examine the intergenerational determinants of later health, longevity and socioeconomic status.
The VCC data set is a collection of census (1850-1940) and death information, including death causes when available, for both white and African American Union Army veterans, spouses, and children. The VCC data set includes census data not only for the veteran and his household, but also for his spouse in her household before she was married and after she was widowed, and for the children of the veteran after they left the veteran's household, married and had children of their own.
The overarching purpose of this study is to gain a more precise understanding of the following concepts:
1) The way in which intergenerational processes affect aging and longevity, and
2) The mechanisms through which parents transmit socioeconomic status and longevity to their children.
Minor updates were performed January 2023, adding variables for ease of use
The VCC data set consists of four individual samples1. For all samples, except for Andersonville Brothers, soldiers were selected into the samples by restricting on survival to 1900.
Andersonville Brothers: Small pilot sample of 138 Union Army Veterans. This sample includes soldiers who were held at the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, GA, and their soldier brothers who were never captive at Andersonville. There is no restriction on survivorship to 1900 for the veteran or his brother. For more information about the Andersonville Brothers pilot sample, see the appendix at the end of the codebook.
POW: 1,763 veterans selected from the Andersonville sample and the Union Army sample who were prisoners of war during the Civil War and had at least one child. Soldiers from the Andersonville Brothers sample were excluded from the POW sample. There is no overlap between the two samples. Note: total number of soldiers available for download is 1998. Soldiers without children is responsible for the excess 235.
Non-POW White: Approximately 8,500 veterans selected from the original Union Army sample who survived to 1900 and had at least one child. These veterans were never prisoners of war. Note: total number of soldiers available for download is 9,343. Soldiers without children is responsible for the excess 843.
The soldiers in the non-POW white sample are demographically similar to the soldiers in the POW sample. The non-POW white sample was created by taking the Union Army sample and creating a propensity score based on enlistment characteristics of the POW sample. We included the highest (ordered) propensity scores until we reached 8,500 soldiers who survived to 1900 and had at least one child. The enlistment characteristics used to create the propensity score are birth place, birth year, enlistment place and year and city of 50,000.
USCT Approximately 4,500 African American veterans who served in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War, survived to 1900, and had at least one child. This sample consists of all the veterans meeting these criteria from both the Original and Expanded USCT samples.
1 Included with the data are those soldiers from all samples with no evidence of having children. These soldiers are indicated with the dummy variable gen_vet_no_children.
For more information about our previous samples, see the following code books:
- Original Union Army and the United States Colored Troops Samples
- Expanded USCT Sample
- Andersonville Sample
- Generated Data Set for Union Army Sample
In order to search for children of the veteran, the Research Assistants (RAs) were provided with the military information from the veteran's pension and census information already completed for the veteran over the course of his life. From there the RAs created family trees to organize information, save online records and guide their search for the veteran's children. A variety of available records were examined such as birth and baptism records, marriage records, city directories, military registration cards, enlistment records, state census records, passport applications and passenger lists. The combination of sources helped the RA make an informed choice when selecting the appropriate census and death data for each child.
After locating the children in their own households, information from the US Federal Census manuscripts and information from death sources was then recorded in the specialized input screens developed for the project. Any new census and death information found for the veteran was also included in the input screens.
Household identifiers and inferred relationships were added in the screens to help track households across decades and individuals across generations. Please see the codebook for a detailed explanation of household identifiers and relationship codes.
After the data was collected, it was cleaned and standardized with updated, state-of-the-art cleaning procedures.
A unique 10-digit identification number, stored in the variable recidnum, identifies each recruit throughout the separate data sets of the Early Indicators projects. Each child is linked to the veteran using the recidnum and a unique two- or three-digit identifier.
Veterans' Children's Census Data, by source and format
Please click on a link to begin downloading the desired data file. By downloading a Union Army or Early Indicators dataset, a user is agreeing to abide by the Union Army Data User Access Agreement. For detailed descriptions of each variable and documentation of the data collection process, see the VCC Codebook and Data User Manual.