The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 3
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Migration into East Texas, 1835-186o
usual source has been the statistics of birthplace and residence
in the printed reports of the United States census. Birth-residence
statistics are, without doubt, extremely useful indexes to the
volume and direction of population movement. But they also
are notably defective: they do not measure accurately; they gloss
over the actual steps in migration; and they reveal nothing about
migrants as persons.
The present study introduces, in application to East Texas, a
method of measuring and describing migration that is superior
in accuracy and in analytic detail to the birth-residence index.
The new method determines the sources and annual rates of
population movement into a region and establishes certain char-
acteristics of migrant families, thus affording a substantially cor-
rect statistical picture of the anatomy of interstate migration.
The manuscript returns of Schedule 1 of the United States
censuses, 1850-188o, offer a means of detecting the migration of
free families.2 Consider the Brooks family, of Cherokee County,
Texas, as enumerated in 1850. Moses and Eliza Brooks have two
children, "Agnus," aged three years, born in Tennessee, and
Moriah, aged one year, born in Texas. The birthplaces of "Agnus"
and Moriah prove that the Brooks family moved from Tennessee
to Texas. And the children's ages show that the move occurred
in 1846-1847, 1847-1848, or 1848-1849. (The year must be hy-
phenated because the census year ended June 1.) If the year
midway between the birth years of the children be taken as the
indicated year of removal, one may say that the Brooks family
migrated from Tennessee to Texas in 1847-1848. "Agnus" and
Moriah thus illustrate a way to ascertain, in the manuscript
census returns, whence and when families moved between states
or into the nation. The following study is an experiment in the
application of this child-ladder method.
The scope of the experiment can be understood from a nar-
rative of how it grew. The first plan contemplated a small trial
of the method in the Texas returns of the Census of i850 only.
2For illustrations and descriptions of the census schedules, 1850-1880, and loca-
tions of the Texas returns, see Barnes F. Lathrop, "HIistory from the Census
Returns," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LI (April, 1948), 293-312.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/9/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.