Essex, Mass. - Census


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1830 Federal Census of Essex, Mass.
Kurt Wilhelm, February 1998

Summary

Since the 1820 census, the town population increased by 20% to 1,333. The number of households has increased by 28% to 251. Twenty-six surnames appear in the census for the first time. The total number of surnames increased by 46.5% to 63 names.


    Contents
  1. Description of the 1830 Population of Essex
    1. The Population of Essex in 1830
      1. Total population
      2. Population by age, gender, and race
      3. Population by Surname and family size
    2. Discussion
      1. Differences between the census and the transcription
      2. Changes in demographics since 1820
      3. Suggestions for further investigation
    3. References
    4. Tables and Figures
      • Table 1. Age - Sex structure of the white population of Essex
      • Table 2. The non-white population of Essex by age group and sex
      • Table 3. List of surnames found in the 1830 census
      • Figure 1. Frequency distribution of household size
      • Figure 2. Population by household size
  2. Index of Names
  3. Transcription
  4. Transcription - Text File

  1. Description of the 1830 Population of Essex

The 1830 Census [2] lists heads of families, and enumerates members of the household by age, sex, and race. Compared to the census of 1820 [1], there is a more detailed breakdown of age groups, but occupational groups are no longer listed. Columns on the census forms used to indicated those who are deaf and dumb were not used in the census of Essex.

  1. The Population of Essex in 1830

    1. Total population

The total population of Essex in 1830 was 1,333. The total population as found in this transcription is 1,334. Reasons for this discrepancy are discussed below. The following population analysis uses the figures as determined in the transcription, but officially, the census stands at 1,333. This is an increase of 226 (20%) since the census of 1820. There were 251 households, including the Poor Farm.

    1. Population by age, gender, and race
A breakdown of the white population by gender and age group is given in Table 1. The non-white population was arranged into different age groups in the census, so the breakdown for non-whites is given in a separate table (Table 2). The total non-white population was 14, or 1% of the total population of the town.

Males outnumber females by about 5%. Males outnumber females in all but one age group through 40 years of age. Females outnumber males in all age groups over age 40. Estimating that the average age of those in each age group is the average of the age group (i.e. males under age 5 have an average age of 2.5), then the average age for males is 24, and for females it is 28.4 years. The average age of the total population is 26.4 years.

Table 1. Age - Gender structure of the white population of Essex.

Age Males Females Total
under 5 102 72 174
5 to 10 69 76 145
10 to 15 78 72 150
15 to 20 81 60 141
20 to 30 143 132 275
30 to 40 77 62 139
40 to 50 44 53 97
50 to 60 40 42 82
60 to 70 24 46 70
70 to 80 13 20 33
80 to 90 5 6 11
90 to 100 0 3 3
Totals 676 644 1320

Table 2. The non-white population of Essex by age group and gender

Age Males Females Total
under 10 0 3 3
10 - 24 5 1 6
24 - 36 0 0 0
36 - 55 1 2 3
55 - 100 0 2 2
Totals 6 8 14
    1. Population by Surname and family size
There are 63 distinct surnames and 1 place (Poor House) found in the census (table 3). Twenty-six names appear for the first time in the Essex census. Six names listed in the 1820 census are not listed in 1830. They are Crawley, Jones, Lakeman, Ross, Rust, and Whitehouse. Of the 63 surnames, 35 appear once, 14 appear twice, and 14 appear three or more times as heads of households. The four most common family names and the number of times they are listed are: Burnham - 69, Andrews - 29, Story - 22, Low - 15, Choate - 10, and Cogswell - 8.

Of the 250 households with a named head of household, about 27% are headed by a Burnham. Households headed by Burnham, Andrews, Story, or Low account for 54% of the households and 53% of the population.

The average household size, found by dividing the total population by the total number of households, is 5.3 people per household. The most commonly found household size is 3 people in 41 households (figure 1). The greatest number of people are found in the 36 households with a size of 6 people each, for a total of 216 people (figure 2). There was one household, that of Parker Lemons, for which the enumeration of household members was left blank. Eight households (3.2% of total) contained only one person. Three households contained more than twelve people. They were Moses Knowlton (13), Abner Burnham (15), and the Poor Farm (20).

Figure 1.



Figure 2.


Females headed 42 (17%) of the households. This is an increase from 1820, when 14% of the households were headed by a female.

Table 3. List of surnames found in the 1830 census, with number of households and population of each. Those marked with an asterisk (*) were not listed in the 1820 Census of Essex.

Surname Hhlds Pop Surname Hhlds Pop Surname Hhlds Pop
Allen 2 11 Evelith 2 13 Makinzie 1 8
Andrews 29 136 *Farnum 1 6 Marshall 2 8
*Annible 1 2 Foster 5 29 *Masuary 1 7
*Boardman 1 8 *Gibbs 1 10 Mears 5 30
Bowers 1 6 Giddings 3 8 *Morse 1 7
Boyd 5 23 Goodhue 2 11 Norton 1 10
*Bray 1 2 Gorton 2 9 Nutter 2 15
*Brown 1 4 Hardy 2 14 Percivall 1 3
Burnham 69 336 Harlow 1 4 Perkins 6 35
Butler 2 12 Haskell 2 12 Pierce 2 8
Butman 1 6 Holmes 2 10 Poland 4 16
*Caswell 1 1 *Jones 1 3 *Preston 1 4
Choate 10 55 *Jarrett 1 5 Procter 4 27
Cogswell 8 41 *Knights 1 2 Quimby 1 3
Craft 1 2 Knowlton 1 13 *Richardson 1 8
*Crowell 1 6 *Lamson 1 5 *Riggs 1 7
*Dade 1 4 *Larabee 1 2 *Roberts 2 13
*Dennison 1 2 *Lee 1 5 *Rutheford 1 3
Dexter 2 11 *Lemons 1 0 *Spofford 1 7
Dodge 2 11 Low 15 111 Storey 22 119
Emerson 1 2 Lufkin 3 18 *Whittemore 1 5
  Total 250 1,314
*Poor House 1 20
Grand Total 251 1,334

  1. Discussion

    1. Differences between the census and this transcription of the census
There are a couple of discrepancies between the census and this transcription. On page 530 of the census, the total for the household of Mary Ann Dennison is listed as 1, and the total for females age 50 to 60 is given as 5, whereas in the transcription we find 2 members of the Dennison household, and 6 females age 50 to 60. The page total in the census is 131, and in the transcription it is 132. Because there is an error of one in a row and in a column, the row total equals the column total, and the error is not easily detected. The total population according to the transcription is 1,334.

    1. Changes in demographics since 1820

The 251 households found in the 1830 census do not represent one household per dwelling house. Felt (1834) states that in 1831 there were 157 dwelling houses in Essex [3]. This gives an average of 1.6 households per dwelling. Since 1820, the average household size decreased from 5.6 to 5.3 people per household, the most frequent household size decreased from 4 to 3, and the household size which contained the largest proportion of the population decreased for 7 to 6. Some of this apparent change may be due to a change in the definition of a household, and that people living in the same dwelling were more likely to be included in the same household in 1820 than they were in 1830. For instance, since before 1820 Robert Crowell had been living in the same dwelling as David Choate. He was listed separately in 1830, but not in 1820.

That the number of surnames found in Essex increased by 46.5% to 63, is due in some part to greater separation of people living in the same dwelling into different households. It is expected that the majority of new surnames result from families moving into Essex.

Because the birth and death records for Essex are incomplete [4], the effect of migration into or out of town on the total population cannot be determined. The increase in population is probably partly due to greater number of births than deaths among the residents, and partly due to a net migration into Essex.

    1. Suggestions for further investigation

It would be instructive to research the families that appear to have moved into or out of Essex between 1820 and 1830. Did the families migrate, or is their listing in the census due to changes in the definition of a household, or is it due to changes in their family status? For those that immigrated into Essex, was it because they married into an Essex family, or was it due to employment opportunities? Shipbuilding increased during this period. Who came into Essex for employment in that industry?

The vital records for Essex are incomplete from 1820 through 1843 [4]. Knowledge of the date of the census provides an indication of birth, marriage, and death dates for those not found in the vital records. The date of the census can be estimated by examining existing birth, death, and marriage records for 1830. For instance, included in the census are:
Moses Marshall (p. 528) died 3 June 1830, age 70 [EVR]
Charles Marshall (p. 535) married 15 Dec 1829 Louisa Andrews [EVR].
They are listed in census with a child under 5 [birth not in EVR[4] ].

Another point of interest might be multi-generation households. By defining a multi-generation household as one which includes a person under 20, a person between 20 and 50, and a person over 50, one could estimate the number of multi-generation households. There exists an impression that many of these early family groups included at least three generations. Is this true?

Finally, it may be worthwhile to put the changes in the population of Essex into perspective by comparing it to neighboring towns, the county, or other geographical areas. Are there any aspects of the growth of Essex which made it unique in the area, or were most towns growing by 20% over ten years. A copy of the instructions to the census taker would be helpful as well, in order to better understand the basis with which households were enumerated.


  1. References
  1. 1820 Federal Census of Essex, Mass.
  2. 1830 Federal Census, microfilm roll, p. 527-536

  3. Felt, J. B. 1834. History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton. Charles Folsom, Cambridge

  4. Vital Records of Essex, Mass. to the end of the year 1849. 1908. The Essex Institute, Salem. [Cited as EVR]


Copyright 2006, 2010 by Kurt A. Wilhelm