Mayfield Families in the 1790 federal CENSUS
By Phil Norfleet
Congress originally authorized the establishment of a Federal Census to enumerate the United States population and, thus, determine each state's representation in the House of Representatives. The first Federal Census, in 1790, went only slightly beyond that scope to distinguish between males 16 and over, males under 16, all females, other free persons, and all slaves.
Several of the 1790 schedules have been lost over the years, most of them during the War of 1812, when the British burned Washington DC. However, eleven (11) of the State reports are extant; all have been published and indexed as follows:
2. Maine (although Maine was then still part of Massachusetts)
3. Maryland (except Allegany, Calvert, and Somerset counties)
5. New Hampshire
6. New York
7. North Carolina (except Caswell, Granville, and Orange counties; and all of what is now Tennessee)
9. Rhode Island
10. South Carolina
With respect to Mayfield genealogy, the most serious losses are the reports for Tennessee (then a part of North Carolina), Virginia (which then included all of Kentucky) and Georgia. Some attempts have been made to produce substitutes for these missing census reports by using tax lists. Such attempts are better than nothing, but do leave much to be desired. Incidentally, the published substitute reports for both Virginia and Georgia do not show any Mayfield families in those states. I'm not sure about Georgia, but I do know that there were several Mayfields living in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee in 1790.
The Congressional legislation, that established the Federal Census requirement, designated one specific day as "census day." The information given to the census taker was to be correct as of that day; It should be noted that this day was not necessarily the day that the enumeration was actually recorded at each house. Persons who died after "census day" were to be included because they were alive on census day. Children born after census day were to be omitted from the census reports. These instructions were not always followed to the letter, but we must be aware of them and evaluate the census information as if they were followed. One should not assume that an entry contains errors or omissions before we have studied it and compared it with data from other sources. However, it is useful to note the date of the actual enumeration when it is given at the top of the page. It does show each family as residents of a given place on that day and may help in the interpretation of the information furnished in the report. The "census day" for the 1790 enumeration was the first Monday in August 1790.
Mayfield Families in the 1790 Census
Based on my review of the extant 1790 reports, it appears that most of the Mayfield families in the United States were then living in South Carolina. The table shown below presents the census data for those Mayfield families cited in the published Federal Census for 1790, augmented, where possible, by names obtained from Tax Lists for certain NC and VA counties.
The published book page number, on which each family appeared, is included in the table. For most states and counties enumerated, the reports reflect the same order of names as were in the original reports produced by the individual census takers. Accordingly, household names that are close to each other in the reports, probably were also living in fairly close geographical proximity as well.
Details concerning my opinions as to the identity of the South Carolina Mayfield families are presented at my SC Mayfield Website.
Those Mayfield heads-of-household about whom I have some biographical information have been hyperlinked.