In the US federal census before 1900, Indians living on reservations were not enumerated on the regular census schedules. I’m not positive when they began to be included, but I know they were not in 1880 and they were by 1930. I was looking for the earliest records available that listed tribal members for the Tuscarora tribe, so when I found the 1888-1893 Indian census records, I was quite pleased to see that entire families had been enumerated, not just heads of households, etc.
These original records have been digitized by Ancestry in conjunction with the National Archives. Unfortunately, all of the New York tribes are lumped together in New York records, 808 pages of them.
I went through and for the first three years and nearly 500 pages, sorted them into tribes and reservations, the way that they were actually enumerated. I compared the records for the Tuscarora from 1888-1891 and they are consistent, so this looks like a quality enumeration.
I found it particularly interesting that in 1766, 160 Tuscarora arrived in New York from North Carolina, the majority of the tribe. A few more made the journey in 1802. The Tuscarora in New York were adopted either by the Seneca or Oneida, depending on the resource you reference. By 1889, they had 404 tribal members and in 1891, the total was 392.
Reading these census records also points out how much cross-visitiation there was between tribes. You’ll notice several records of one tribe’s members living on another tribes reservation. I’m sure that intermarriage was very prevalent as well. In fact, there was one elderly lady in her 80s by the last name of Fish. Since she is the only Fish listed, I have to wonder if she didn’t marry outside the tribe and then move back as a widow. In 1891, a new name was introduced among the Tuscarora by a young woman in her 20s, DeFeurest.
I noticed another name that occurs only once among the Tuscarora, Jemison (Jenison) but is found prolifically among the Seneca. These records make for interesting reading. I wish we had records to fill in the gaps between the 1760/1800 Tuscarora land sales in North Carolina, the few War of 1812 records and the 1888 census enumeration.
New York Indian Census Enumeration
Seneca at Tonawanda
St. Regis on St. Regis Reservation (pg 51)
Oneida on the Onondaga Reservation
Cayuga residing on different Indian reservations in NY
Senecas on the Cattauragas Reservation
Tonawanda Senecas residing on Cattaraugus Reservation
At Orphan Asylum (for orphan Indians) – note this asylum’s residents were listed in the 1880 federal census (found doing Printup lookup)
Seneca Residing on the Allegheny Reservation
Tonawanda Baud. (sic)
Onondaga residing on the Cattaraugus Reservation
Onondaga residing on the Allegheny Reservation
Signed at the end: New York Agency, August 10, 1888, Enumeration of the Onondaga at Allegheny furnished by a chief.
The next segment, begins again with the Seneca on the Allegheny reservation in June of 1889
Tonawanda band of Seneca on the Tonawanda Reservation
Seneca on the Cattauragus Reservation
Onondaga on the Allegheny Reservation furnished by a chief
Onondaga on the Cattauragus Reservation
Cayuga on the Cattauragus Reservation furnished by a Chief
Oneida on the Oneida Reservation furnished by a Chief
Onondaga on the Onondaga Reservation
Oneida on the Onondaga Reservation furnished by a chief
Onondaga on the Tuscarora Reservation
Tuscarora on the Tuscarora Reservation provided by a chief
Tuscarora Children at Orphan Home (listed separately but included with Tuscarora totals)
Seneca children in orphan’s home
Tonawanda band of ? residing on Cattaraugus Reservation
Tonawanda band of Seneca on Allegheny Reservation
Tuscarora orphans at asylum
Tonowanda band of Seneca
Senecas of Cattauragus residing on Tonawanda Reservation
Onondaga residing on Cattauragus Reservation
1892 begins here
I did not extract 1892 nor further. These records continue through 1893, 808 pages in all.