Have you checked the 1840 Pensioners Census for your Revolutionary War ancestors?

by | Articles, Census Records, Military Records | 1 comment

I got an email from a fellow researcher of a common family from eastern North Carolina in which this person was wondering if there was an 1840 Revolutionary War pensioners census for one eastern NC county like there was for another nearby county.

It dawned on me that a lot of people might not know that the 1840 Federal Census has a second page behind the listing of all of the Heads of Household that includes all kinds of useful information.

Here’s a great example with one of the oldest people (aged 106!!!) in Pitt County for the 1840 census, Charles SMITH.

His actual listing is on page 378 “in the district allotted to Jesse Adams.” (In other words, this district on Ancestry is considered “Not Stated” rather than being a named district like Brooks District, Browns District, or Greenville.)

Charles Smith is on line 3 of page 378.

On the very next page, line three, there is Charles SMITH’s name again under a column titled “Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services, Included in the Foregoing” and it gives his age as 106.

Again, Charles Smith’s name appears on line 3, with his age given as 106!

Other information that is available includes:

  • SLAVES (by the same age and gender categories as free citizens)
    • Mining
    • Agriculture
    • Commerce
    • Manufacture and trades
    • Navigation of the ocean
    • Navigation of canals, lakes, and rivers
    • Learned professions and engineers

The next categories indicate the number of people in households with a variety of disabilities:

    • DEAF and DUMB
      — Under 14
      — 14 and under 25
      — 25 and upwards
    •  BLIND and INSANE
      –Insane and idiots at public charge.
      –Insane and idiots at private charge.
    • DEAF, DUMB, and BLIND
      — Deaf & dumb.
      — Blind
      –Insane and idiots at private charge.
      –Insane and idiots at public charge.

Finally, the census recorded information about students at various levels of education:


  • Universities or Colleges
  • Number of Students
  • Academies & Grammar Schools
  • No. of Scholars
  • Primary and Common Schools
  • No. of Scholars
  • No. of Scholars at public charge
  • No. of white persons over 20 years of age in each family who cannot read and write.

If you haven’t already, you might want to go do a rundown of as many ancestors as you can on the 1840 census. You may find all kinds of helpful information.

TIP: Another really great bit of key information you can get from the 1840 census is if the pensioner is not the Head of Household but is another person living in the house. Depending on ages given and relationships, it may change the overall makeup of the household. (This would be in an example where you see a name, say, John Doe, and he’s head of a household where the oldest person is between 80 and 90 years old, but you don’t see the next page of the census that the pensioner, the older person in the household is Bob Smith, John Doe’s father-in-law. The next oldest man is only 45 years old which would mean that if you are looking for a John Doe who should be around 80 or 90 on that census, you might need to look elsewhere.

1 Comment

  1. Annette

    I am not able to access the Mosley Map.
    What must I do to check for Arthur Lowry in what became Johnston County(I think from Edgecomb.)


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