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USGENWEBFairfield County Connecticut

1850 Census of Norwalk, CT

Please read the introduction before you begin searching. Click here to begin browsing the census index pages one by one or click here to search for the name of your ancestor.      

The 1850 census was the first to list the names of every person living in a household. Each household has a separate number and each family has a separate number. If a second family lives within the same household as another family, they will be listed under the household number of the first family living there. The census didn't often list middle initials in 1850, but subsequent census indexes did. Where the original records listed only the first surname and others in a household with that name are shown only with their first names, surnames have been added to aid in electronic searches. Ditto signs were replaced with the actual word they represent. Where an obvious mistake in gender was made in the original, corrections have been made.

Certain names and occupations were abbreviated in the original. To avoid confusion, the abbreviated terms that could be indentified have been spelled out.

When listing the birthplace of each person, it was often quite difficult to distinguish between New York (NY) and other states beginning with N, such as New Jersey or New Hampshire. When these couldn't be deciphered, a state beginning with an N will be assumed to be NY. The abbreviation used in 1850 for Massachusetts appears to have been Ms, which is now used for the state of Mississippi. Whenever Ms appeared in the originals, MA has been substituted to avoid confusion.

Many first names have unconventional spellings in the original. For ease of electronic searches, instead of the spellings given, a standardized modern spelling was used for the following first names: Alice, Hanford, Harvey, Jonas, Matthew, Thaddeus, Theodore, Adeline, Betsey; Bridget, Catherine, Emeline, Eunice, Harriet, Helen, Henrietta, Margaret and Mehitable; Frances for females; Francis for males. For entries with just initials, if known, the real first names have been included within brackets.

For some individuals, some facts, such as first name, middle initial, or place of birth, that change from one census year to the next, are in error. There are also other entries that seem to be errors, such as a number indicating a new household that seems to be right in the middle of a family, or someone listed with the family next door. While it is not impossible to find someone living next door to their own family in another family's home, possibly as a servant, you should not eliminate the possibility that this is simply an error in transcribing the census from the cards submitted by the census enumerators.

Other reasons for errors include people lying about their age, illegible handwriting on census forms, people guessing others' ages or middle names, census enumerators unable to understand what people told them.

Many families had children as young as 8 or 10 living with them who were not related, probably as servants, although some young children did live with their grandparents or other relatives, if their parents were dead. Other unrelated people living with families were apprentices learning a trade or working for that family's business or farm, or an unrelated single or widowed woman working as a housekeeper.

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