The 1850 Blooming Grove Census
Unlike the 1847 Wisconsin territorial census which listed only heads of household, the federal census of 1850 identified every individual in the township. In addition to name, the census recorded dwelling and family numbers (assigned sequentially by the census taker along the geographic path he followed through the town), age, gender, color (if not white), occupation, value of real estate (usually head of household only), place of birth, marriage (if it occurred during the year), school attendance during the year, literacy, and "other."
The Blooming Grove census was conducted on the 2nd of October by Royal Buck. The total population he recorded was 291. Buck's final sequence of entries has been preserved, because it offers clues about where families were living. Although no plat maps of the town prior to 1850 are known, comparison with the federal land sales records can identify the general location of many of the homesteads, and those that do not appear in the land records can often be placed in relation to others by virtue of census sequence.
Among the census's statistics, the leading 5 origins for Blooming Grove settlers by place of birth were Norway (79), New York (61), Germany (21), Ireland (20), and Vermont (15). The average age of the township's residents was just under 21. Only ten individuals were more than 50 years old, and only 10 were under the age of 1 year. Twenty-four children had attended school during the previous year, while no one had been married during that time. No residents were identified as illiterate, and only one was identified as having a special health condition--Mary Vroman, identified as blind.
Entries have been recorded as written by the census taker even when the spellings are obviously in error. Entries that are difficult to read--either because the entries are faded or the handwriting is difficult to interpret--have been notated with a question mark (signifying best guess) or an underscore (signifying that a reasonable guess has not been possible).
Microfilm of the state's records of the census for Dane County is available at the Historical Society library in Madison.
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