Wellfleet page
Wellfleet VR
Dec 2007, revised Feb 2008

    I have transcribed and annotated the 1850 census for Wellfleet, and posted it as a 750 kB Excel file, (Some people can't open the Excel file, and I've made an HTML version, which is harder to read and use.) If you  write to comment (to David.Kew [ at ], please indicate household numbers, or page and line numbers when relevant. This should be an ongoing project.
     The census tabulates the people of the town as of 1 June 1850. There are 58 pages, with 42 entries per page, except 17 on the last one, for a  total of 2411 people, in 502 households. Each page includes the date on which it was actually written (not included in the transcription), and those dates extend into August. The document was written in a crabbed hand, mediocrely photographed. Numbers and middle initials are particularly hard to read.  Page image PDF
    The census seems to have been taken from South to North.
     Columns B-N are transcripts of the actual data as I read them, except that the majority of surnames, occupations and birth states were actually  indicated by ditto marks. The other columns are my reworking of the data  to facilitate spreadsheet analysis, with comments, family relationships  and maiden names based on my genealogical database. Separate pages have tables and charts of names, occupations and ages.

A - Excel line number, for default sorting

B - Page.Line number: from the census pages

C, D - Dwelling and household: Most people lived in single-household dwellings, but two-household dwellings were common, with up to four-household dwellings. There were also 2 hotels and the alms house.  There were 423 dwellings and 502 households. Several pages were photographed without including the dwelling number, but all still have the household number. Several errors were made when writing  in the dwelling and line numbers, splitting families, which I changed and  noted. The family clusters are notable.

E - Name: Usually only the head of household's surname was written, the other family members' indicated by ditto marks, or just omitted. Middle  initials were often included, but not full middle names, except when the census taker apparently thought those were surnames. Given and surnames  were usually fairly clear, but middle initials were often not, or just  wrong. I filled in the surnames based on the ditto marks, context and my database.

F - Age: These are frequently wrong by 1 or 2 years, but up to about 10 years. Infants ages were measured in months, but there seems not have been a consistent starting point (supposed to be 1 Jun 1850). I commented on some  large errors, but didn't fix them. Some illegible and missing ones were  filled in from my genealogical database. Mary Harding (mn unknown) was the oldest, at 89. The age distribution graph looks like that of a Third World  country, not surprisingly.

G - Gender: There were a surprising number of gender errors, which I corrected and noted. Males 1258, females 1153.

H - Race: There were 2 black people in town, Charles & Sarah Pope, household 472. (I mostly use this column to bookmark lines to research  further.)

I - Occupation: Males over 16 had occupations listed, if any. The majority  (68%) were mariners, and so often indicated with ditto marks. Several head-of-household men did not have any markings--it is unclear to me whether the spaces were accidentally or intentionally left blank, or whether there are ditto marks too faint to see. ("None" is a defined occupation.) Many young men, 16-20, do not have occupations listed.
  The government employees consisted of 4 fish inspectors, 1 school  teacher, 1 post master, 1 light keeper and the keeper of the alms house. Since there were several schools, but  only 1 male teacher, the other teachers were women.
  There was only one baker, Marcus Sidrick, age 16, so perhaps his mother, or another woman, owned a bakery. The recently widowed  Hannah Dill managed a hotel, and several teens and young women were  probably "help," but the occupations of other women are unknown.
J - Valuation: Households were assessed for value (by unknown criteria), with about half having enough to bother with. Wealthiest was Solomon Holbrook, with $3000.

K - Birth state: Most often ditto marks for Mass. are seen down the whole  page. These are frequently wrong for wash-ashores and probably for transients, and one family has "England" written, yet was Wellfleet born.

L - Married within year: Some known recent marriages were not noted here.

M - In school within year: Virtually all children 4-16 were in school, and some 17-19.

N - Special concern: Blind, insane, deaf, paupers, etc. There were several such. A separate column for "over age 20 and cannot read" has only 1 questionable entry, and is combined with the special concern column, but probably should have had several entries. I think the Portuguese men, in particular, probably were illiterate.

My annotation columns:

O - Given name: My interpretation, with standardized spelling and more likely middle initials. Most of the people are in my database from town, state and cemetery records. Married women sometimes used their given middle name, and sometimes used their maiden name as a middle name.
There  is a problem with Lemuel and Samuel: some males that are pretty clearly  Lemuel in the census are Samuel in other records. There are so many confusions between such names that I suspect the census taker did not hear a difference. Or Lemuel was unfashionable. Other times the problem is the penmanship. These may be revised later.

P - Surname: My interpretation, with standardized spelling.

Q - Surname, Given.

R - Comments: mostly comments on differences between the name seen and my  version.

S - Nominal birth year: For sorting and data analysis. This just subtracts the age from 1850, except I filled in the data for infants based on 1 Jun 1850 as the benchmark date.

T - Relationship: My analysis of the household relationships. From my database when possible, but some are assumed.
     h - head male (usually husband)
     w - wife
     hw - head woman (woman heading households were usually widows)
     s- son (including stepson); gs - grandson; sl - son-in-law
     d - daughter (including stepdaughter); gd - granddaughter; dl - daughter-in-law
     m - mother; ml- mother-in-law
     f - father; fl - father-in-law
     b - boarder, a term I use mostly for unrelated adult males in homes
     n - niece, nephew
     help - unrelated teen and adult women in homes. Since women's occupations were not listed, this is uncertain.
     ? - mostly for children that I can't relate to the household
U - Maiden names: for married women, and a few spinsters. From my database.
    It is posted as a locked file, meaning that you can download it and sort  it, but not modify it directly. (To make a modifiable version, simply  "save a copy as ...".) This is one amateur's work, done over several months. There certainly are errors and questionable deciphering,  so please check the page images yourself for crucial entries, which are here and at HeritageQuest.