Place of residence versus place of work

For 1850 and 1860, do data on state and county refer to the individual/family permanent residence or to the place of work? Some workers might have taken jobs in counties different from that of their permanent residence for some portion of the year. How can I tell with the available data?

STATEFIP/STATEICP and COUNTYICP report the state and county that an individual was enumerated in. This is typically the individual’s usual place of residence, but the specific determination differs census-by-census. The instructions to assistant marshals (i.e. enumerators) in 1850 state the following:

Under heading 3, entitled, “The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the 1st day of June, 1850, was in this family,” insert the name of every free person in each family, of every age, including the names of those temporarily absent, as well as those that were at home on that day.

By place of abode is meant the house or usual lodging place of a person. Anyone who is temporarily absent on a journey, or for other purposes, without taking up his place of residence elsewhere, and with the intention of returning again, is to be considered a member of the family which the assistant marshal is enumerating.

Based on these instructions, workers who took jobs in a different county will be enumerated as a part of their family household unless they have taken up residence in the other county and have no intention of returning. Exceptions however are provided for students, sailors, residents of institutions, and for those who usually slept at a store, shop, eating house, and other similar place:

  • Students in colleges, academies, or schools, when absent from the families to which they belong, are to be enumerated only as members of the family in which they usually boarded and lodged on the 1st day of June.
  • The sailors and hands of a revenue cutter which belongs to a particular port should be enumerated as of that port. A similar rule will apply to those employed in the navigation of the lakes, rivers, and canals. All are to be taken at their homes or usual place of abode, whether present or absent; and if any live on board of vessels or boats who are not so enumerated, they are to be taken as of the place where the vessel or boat is owned, licensed, or registered.
  • Assistant marshals are directed to make inquiry at all stores, shops, eating houses, and other similar places, and take the name and description of every person who usually slept there, provided such person is not otherwise enumerated.
  • All landlords, jailors, superintendents of poorhouses, garrisons, hospitals, asylums, and other similar institutions, are to be considered as heads of their respective families, and the inmates under their care to be registered as members thereof, and the details concerning each designated in their proper columns.

The instructions in 1860 are very similar and can be found in the questionnaires page. The variable GQTYPE (group quarters) identifies individuals who were enumerated in non-family household quarters. In 1850 & 1860, you can identify individuals who were enumerated at work sites, correctional institutions, and schools, among other group quarters, using GQTYPE. Other variables such as OCC (occupation) may let you better identify employees at institutional group quarters from other members.