Holmes County, Florida

Notes on 1885 Census

Compiled and submitted by Wilda Murphy
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24 Aug 2004
Florida State Archives
Microfilm roll M845: 1885 Florida State Census
Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough and Holmes Counties
Holmes County Inhabitants Schedule
Enumerator: J J Newton

The census year began 1 June 1884 and ended 31 May 1885. It was to include all persons living on 1 June 1885, no others.  It was to omit children born since 1 June, but include persons who died after 1 June.

The pages of this copy were not bound in a book.  No Superviser District or Enumeration District was given, except on the final pages of the Agricultural Schedule.  Some pages have no dates.  Most of those that do, have 30th June 1885, but pages 16 and 17 were dated 7 Aug 1885.

The census copies were certified by Florida Secretary of State John L Crawford on 28 Aug 1885.  It appears that at least three people copied these census entries into the pages that were microfilmed.  The handwriting starts out as one style, then changes to that of a different person on page 25, #202, and again on page 45, #405.  As the data was copied, the likelihood of error was compounded by the clerks' having to decipher the census taker's original notes.  Some names were obviously distorted from what they should have been, so you can guess that numbers for ages were also interpreted incorrectly by the copier.

Single initials are very hard to decipher.  Some upper case A's and H's, some S's and L's are almost indistinguishable, not to mention J's and I's.  Usually J's had long tails below the line, but some "J" names, e.g. Jenkins and Jones, were written with the J completely above the line, same as an I, so there is no way to tell which initial is I and which is J.  Also, even in the spelling of names, lower case r's and s's were often confused for the loops of m's and n's by the copying clerk, and some g's and j's were interchanged.  Upper case T's and P's, R's and B's, and T's and L's were sometimes obviously switched.

The census taker or copier often used ditto marks to indicate continuation of the same column entry.  For the sake of readability, I have chosen to replace the ditto marks with the actual entry being represented.  Also for readability, I have converted stroke marks in information columns into letters or words to express the meaning.  For example, I have used the letters "r" and "w" when there was a stroke mark in the "Unable to read" and "Unable to write" columns.  Therefore, whenever a person has an "r" or a "w", he is NOT able to perform that function.  An indicator of "sch" means that the person attended school during the census year.  Many children and infants were marked as not being able to read or write, even though that question was not supposed to be asked in relation to persons under 10 years old.

Relationships to head of household were not reported consistently and do not begin until page 29.

Ages of infants were entered variously:  some in months-days, some in months/12, some in months with no fraction showing, and sometimes the month of birth was given.

A few people had been married within the census year, which I have indicated with "M/yr" in the Marital Status column.  The month of marriage is also given.

I'm sure that even after careful and tedious proofing, some errors have slipped by.  Corrections are always appreciated.



This page was last updated on: 24 Aug 2004