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About the Census

About the 1900 Pitt County Census Database

Scope and Content
The United States has taken a census of the population every ten years since 1790. Beginning in 1850, census takers recorded all members of each household they encountered. Such actual returns are generally available on microfilm in libraries. Aggregate census data--statistical information drawn from the decennial head counts--have been published by the United States government following each census. These printed volumes provide statistics pertaining to population, agriculture, manufacturing, and other subjects, but not information about individuals.

In 1900, the census listed names, family relationships, occupations, and facts that reflect demographic and educational trends. The 1900 census form included the following categories: street and house number (in cities), dwelling number, family number, name, relationship, color or race, sex, month and year of birth, age at last birthday, marital status, number of years married, "mother of how many children," number of those children living, place of birth, fatherís place of birth, motherís place of birth, year of immigration to the United States, number of years in the United States, naturalization, occupation, number of months employed, number of months in school, ability to read, ability to write, ability to speak English, whether property was rented or owned, whether property was owned free or mortgaged, whether property was a farm or a house, and (for farms) the number in the accompanying farm schedule. This database contains all of these categories excepting house numbers and the three related to citizenship (nearly all residents of the county were natives of the United States).

Census takers recorded a total 30,889 inhabitants within the following townships during the month of June, 1900: Beaverdam, Belvoir, Bethel, Carolina, Chicod, Contentnea, Falkland, Farmville, Greenville, Greenville North of the Tar River, Pactolus, and Swift Creek. Persons in towns and minor civil divisions, including the town of Greenville, were recorded separately. Currently, this database contains records for the inhabitants of Beaverdam Township, Greenville North of the Tar River Township, and the town of Greenville. Data for additional townships will be added as data entry is completed.

In 1900 Pitt County, like most of North Carolina, was rural in nature. "Farmer" was the most common occupation. Many farmers undoubtedly grew tobacco, but the census does not specify this. In towns, however, many occupations are represented. To date, over 200 persons, most living in the town of Greenville, were engaged in some activity related to the tobacco industry. These included buyers of tobacco, warehousemen, and workers in warehouses and processing plants.

The condition of the original census returns has made the transcription very difficult. Many names are obscured by markings or by tape applied to the sheets at a later date. The legibility of names recorded by different census takers varies considerably. Names that could not be read at all were left blank. Those that were partially legible or that might be incorrect include the designations "?" or "sp." Names that were misspelled by the census takers have not been corrected.

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Page Updated 31 August 2004
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