The 1870 United States Census of Charles City County provides important family information, but it also provides an interesting glimpse into history. The census was the first to enumerate freedmen. Thus, slaves previously listed simply by gender and age as taxable property were listed by name and by household. The census is also interesting because it came after the conclusion of the Civil War which resulted in an exodus of slaves and the death of many residents, and so it provides an opportunity to measure the war’s impact on the population. Finally, the census was taken just six months after the law mandating free public education took effect, and thus provides an opportunity to study the students who first availed themselves of this educational opportunity.
Pictured to the left:
O. P. and Aurelia Binns
While searching this data base researchers should be mindful of the several facts. Charles City County, is divided into three political districts. Today, the districts are numbered, but previously they were named. The eastern part of the county was the Chickahominy District, the central was the Tyler District, and the western part of the county was the Harrison District. The census is enumerated by a dwelling number and a family number and then by names of individuals living in the household. Some dwellings were unoccupied and other dwellings contained more than one family group, each having its own number. A few families were listed without a dwelling number, and to those we have assigned a dwelling number in the 3000 range.