In my book I discuss the usefulness of Mortality Schedules to the U. S. Census. If you expected to find an ancestor in a certain place in a census, and don’t, the next step is to find the mortality schedule, which lists those that died in the year of a census, but were not alive when the census taker arrived.
Mortality schedules contain information that, in some cases, give the only record of a citizen’s death. The census enumerators were instructed to give great care and obtain accurate information, especially for these mortality schedules.
GenealogyBuff.com has a tool for researching census mortality schedules that have been transcribed and posted on the web. MortalitySchedules.com is a directory of these schedules which provides a search function to find surnames in online transcriptions of the Federal Census Mortality Schedules taken during census years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.
Bill Cribbs, the owner and webmaster for both GenealogyBuff.com and MortalitySchedules.com, spent many days combing cyberspace to find transcriptions of these records. Most of these online transcriptions were made by individuals who volunteer their time and effort freely. A volunteer will normally transcribe an individual county or, in most cases, one census year for that county. Thousands of transcriptions are located on many servers across the web.
“I compiled a directory of every schedule that I could locate. There are still more to be found and they are being added to MortalitySchedules.com as they are discovered,” Cribbs said.