1850 Census: Frederick Ward in Gilmer County, GA

I recently analyzed the 1850 census enumeration for my 4th great-grandparents, Frederick and Keziah Ward.  In 1850, they lived in Gilmer County, Georgia, but they would have been in North Carolina in 1840.  I’m hoping that by identifying their neighbors in 1850, I can use that information to confirm their location in 1840, since some of their FAN club (friends, associates, neighbors) may have migrated from North Carolina to Georgia as well.  In the process, I learned some interesting things and discovered one big problem.



21 Aug 1850
Gilmer County
Subdivision No. 33
Dwelling 170 / Family 170

NameAgeSexOccupationPlace of Birth
Frederick A Word32MFarmerN. C.
Keziah Ward24FN. C.
Mary A.13FN. C.
Harvy D10MN. C.
Nancy8FN. C.
Hampton P6MTenn

Value of real estate: 0 1


I abstracted data for 24 households – including the full pages before and after the page on which the Wards appear.  While I captured name, age, occupation, land value, and birthplace for each person in the neighborhood, I’m only including surnames here.

Surnames of neighbors

Walker, Bane/Baine, Poteit, Osborne, Lovingood, Leaper, Powell, Dover, Parker, Smith, Foster, Harris, McDaniel, Uldrich, Davis*, Parker, Word/Ward, Felmet, McDaniel, Chadwick, Wikel, Evans, Davis*, Black, Powell, Bearden, Gregory, Adams. 2

*I have the Davis surname in Gilmer County from another family line.  It will be interesting to see if the Davis families here connect to those.

Source Analysis

The source is a clear, legible image copy.  The handwriting is consistently neat and on the third page reviewed, a surname has been crossed out and another name written in.  The surname that was crossed out is for the next household (given name for both heads of household is the same).  This leads me to think that the census taker copied over his records and this is the copy. There are also at least two instances where the census taker spelled the surname differently for the husband and wife; Frederick Word and Keziah Ward being one example.

Content Analysis

This neighborhood illustrates the migration into Northwest Georgia following the 1832 land lotteries.  Out of 125 people abstracted, 67 were age 18 or older; 57 of those were born in the Carolinas, with only seven born in Georgia and three born in Virginia.  Of the 58 who were under the age of 18, 34 were born in Georgia, 22 in North Carolina, and 2 in Tennessee.  Between 1832 and 1850, people were moving into the area and having children in their new locale.

 Frederick’s family certainly fits in with this pattern.  He and Keziah and their three oldest children were born in North Carolina.  Sometime between 1842 and 1844, they moved to Tennessee, and then moved on to Georgia by 1849.  Like almost every other head of household, Frederick was a farmer and he owned no land.

Compatible Data

  • Frederick was born between 1 Jun 1817 and 1 Jun 1818 in North Carolina.  The 1860 census has him born in 1818 or 1819, also in North Carolina.
  • The family appears in Gilmer County again in 1860.
  • Keziah was born between 1 Jun 1825 and 1 Jun 1826 in North Carolina, which is consistent with her age on the 1860 census.

Comment:  Their oldest child, Mary, was 13 on this census, which would make Keziah 11 or 12 at the time of Mary’s birth, assuming both their ages are correct here.  This is a problem.  At first glance, one would think Frederick had been married before; however, the North Carolina Marriage Index at Ancestry.com shows a Frederick Ward and Keziah Ward getting married in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1837, the same year that Mary was born.  I hope that the original marriage document will shed some light on this.

  • Harvey was born between 1 Jun 1839 and 1 Jun 1840 in North Carolina.  This is consistent with his age and birth state as reported on the 1860 and 1870 census schedules.
  • Nancy was born between 1 Jun 1841 and 1 Jun 1842 in North Carolina, which is consistent with her enumeration in 1860.
  • Martha was born between 1 Jun 1848 and 1 Jun 1849 in Georgia.

Comment: The 1860 census puts her birth year as 1850-51, but she had to have been born earlier in order to appear on the 1850 census.

Possibly Compatible Data

  • Hampton was born between 1 Jun 1843 and 1 Jun 1844 in Tennessee.  The 1860 census suggests a birth year of about 1846 in Georgia.

Comment: I’m more inclined to believe the information from 1850, since that is closer to the time of his birth.

Data with no other independent sources

  • Mary was born between 1 Jun 1836 and 1 Jun 1837 in North Carolina.

Comment: see above comment regarding her age and Keziah’s age.  Also, she does not appear in her father’s household in 1860; she may have been married by then.

  • Gap in sequence of children.

Comment: A child should have been born in the gap between Hampton (ca. 1844) and Martha (ca. 1849).  If so, he/she likely died before 1850 and may never be identified.

Next Steps

  • Search NC census records in 1840 for Frederick Ward.
  • Search the NC Marriage record index at Ancestry.com to see if Frederick had a previous marriage.
  • Search the databases of Georgia marriages at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch for a marriage record for Mary.
  • Locate Mary on the 1860 census.
  • Locate Frederick and Keziah’s marriage record in the images available at FamilySearch.


  1. 1850 U. S. census, Gilmer County, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision No. 33, p. 360 (stamped), p. 719 (penned), dwelling 170, family 170, Frederick A. Word household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Jul 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 70.
  2. 1850 U. S. Census, Gilmer County, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision No. 33, pp. 716, 718, 719 (penned); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Jul 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 70.

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