Here is the answer to the quiz posted on 6/25/10. Go back and check the question first to get the most out of this exercise.
It was the ill-fated 1890 census. That census was lost for the most part during a fire in 1921 in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington D.C. About 25% was destroyed outright, and about 50% damaged by smoke and water. Not all of it was lost forever, however. Over the years apparently some fragments of that census have been found. These include pieces from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and the District of Columbia. About 6000 names are included.
It is tragic for us to not have access to that census data, and doubly tragic given it’s unique approach to data recording. Rather than simply a recording of people who are residents of dwelling after dwelling included in one big list, this census devoted at least 1 separate page to each individual dwelling. Each page in turn had enough columns to record information on five residents of the dwelling. More pages were devoted to the dwelling if there were more than five people living there.