Census Records A sampling of census record entries allowed some preliminary conclusions to be drawn. Even more important than these limited interpretations was the development of a locating system for persons who do not appear in the existing indices to the census by using the directories to identify neighbors who appear in the index and searching adjacent schedule sheets. Below are some tentative observations based on the summer's work entering census data line by line from the 20th Ward, and researching individuals across the city.

The addresses of USCT veterans helped to locate several black neighborhoods. However, the soldiers often lived in integrated neighborhoods, divided more by class than race. Immigrants often lived in close proximity to African Americans. Such integration can be deceiving. Many blocks surrounded alleys in which the blacks lived while the townhouses facing the streets were occupied by the more affluent whites. These areas were also very densely populated, and the very commonly found forty-by-fifteen foot building of three stories often housed more than twenty residents. The great majority of African Americans did not own their homes and those who did often owned several rental properties.

The research discovered that the census takers failed to record an extraordinary number of residents. Occupants of the alleys were frequently ignored. The number of houses not included in the census, but indicated as occupied by the city directory, exceeded 10 per cent. The census takers did not follow a house by house, street by street route. Nor did they even move around blocks in any systematic fashion. Several census takers even enumerated individuals outside their assigned boundaries, especially in the east end of the city, even crossing ward lines in some cases. Such irregularities further reduce the reliability of the census data through overlapping entries or exclusions.

Black Baltimore

This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

Copyright February 03, 1998 Maryland State Archives