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The 3-D Schedule (it's not a list of cheesy movies!)

An overview of the information found in the 1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule and how it can be used to find 'lost' ancestors or compile family health histories.


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Since 1800 a variety of non-population schedules were collected separately but about the same time as population censuses. Among these is one known as the "3-D Schedule," the "Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes" schedule—and it is especially useful in locating information on your family's health and financial history. The 1880 census asked of each person in the household a series of health questions. This information was used to compile a portion of the 3-D schedule. In addition, poorhouse, orphanage, and prison populations enumerated in the 1880 census were included in the 3-D schedule. 

Imagine the brick walls that you can break through using the 3-D schedule! Was Uncle Joe in prison? Did Granny end up in the poorhouse? What happened to Aunt Jane's children? You may find the answer to these questions in the 3-D schedule.

There are seven parts to the schedule—each addressing a different disability or social situation. The information provided is more detailed than that found on the population schedule. For each listing, the names, town and county of residence, and page number of population schedule is given. The following is just an example of some of the additional information you will find.

I. Insane Inhabitants: whether inmate or day patient, suicidal, homicidal, or epileptic, age at onset, whether they must be restrained or kept in a cell.

II. Idiots: age at onset, supposed cause, whether they were ever in training school (if so, they name of the school), whether blind, insane, deaf, epileptic, or paralyzed.

III. Deaf-Mutes: cause of deafness, age when deafness occurred, self-supporting or partly so, semi-mute, semi-deaf, whether insane, idiotic, or blind, whether ever institutionalized, name of institution, date discharged.

IV. Blind: form of blindness, supposed cause, age when blindness occurred, self-supporting or partly so, whether totally or semi-blind, whether institutionalized, name of institution, date of discharge, insane, idiotic, or deaf-mute.

V. Homeless Children: whether father or mother is deceased, whether abandoned or surrendered by parents, whether born in institution, illegitimate, ever arrested, blind, deaf-mute, idiotic.

VI. Inhabitants in Prison:  place of imprisonment, imprisoned by Federal, State, or City, awaiting execution, witness, serving out a fine, imprisoned for debt or insanity.

VII. Pauper and Indigent Inhabitants: whether supported at cost of city, county, state, institution, whether able-bodied, alcoholic, epileptic, criminal, whether spouse, mother or father is in this institution, whether brothers, sisters, sons or daughters are in institution (how many), whether blind, deaf-mute, insane.

Not all DDD schedules survived intact and not all are on microfilm. Online, try searching the Family History Library Catalog or state and county web sites through the USGenWeb Project. You may also be able to order microfilm through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which provides a listing of available non-population schedules by state. You will be looking for the 1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes schedule for the state and county of interest.

Locally, you may want to check with your state library archives or state genealogical and historical societies for the location of the "Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes" schedule in your area. They are responsible for collecting records of their state and are often charged with housing fragile and seldom used original documents. You may want to ask for the specific section, rather than asking for the full schedule by name. It is also helpful to mention the name of the institution, if you know it, and the county in which your ancestor resided. The Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana has the 3-D schedule for Delaware, Illinois and Indiana only. Duke University's library houses some schedules for other southern states.

Even if the repository you contact does not have the schedule, they may be able to point you to other records containing the information you are seeking.  Finding the 3-D schedule may require some detective work, but for the genealogist, the experience is at least as exhilarating as any 3-D movie!

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2005.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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