Genealogy: 1860 Census birth year reference chart

census birth yearBy Barry J. Ewell
As you track your ancestor through the U.S. Federal Population Censuses, you can use age to help you

  • Identify individual members of the family
  • Provide clues to confirm I have the right person/family unit as you search each census
  • Provide clues as to relationship in the family
  • Provide clues if I have the right female when surnames change through marriage
  • Provide clues when people use nicknames and other name variations from one census to the next

I have prepared a birth year reference chart for each census to help you identify an estimated birth year for each ancestor.  This article will focus on the 1860 U.S. Federal Population Census.

Learn more about information about age found in the census:

1860 U.S. Census birth year reference chart
In Column 4 of the 1860 US Population Census, learn the age of each member of the household.  The following chart will provide the approximate corresponding birth year for the age provided.

Age calculated as of June 1, 1860.

AgeBirth YearAgeBirth YearAgeBirth Year
May 0/121860281832671793
Apr 1/121860291831681792
Mar 2/121860301830691791
Feb 3/121860311829701790
Jan 4/121860321828711789
Dec 5/121859331827721788
Nov 6/121859341826731787
Oct 7/121859351825741786
Sep 8/121859361824751785
Aug 9/121859371823761784
Jul 10/121859381822771783
Jun 11/121859391821781782
11859401820791781
21858411819801780
31857421818811779
41856431817821778
51855441816831777
61854451815841776
71853461814851775
81852471813861774
91851481812871773
101850491811881772
111849501810891771
121848511809901770
131847521808911769
141846531807921768
151845541806931767
161844551805941766
171843561804951765
181842571803961764
191841581802971763
201840591801981762
211839601800991761
2218386117991001760
2318376217981011759
2418366317971021758
2518356417961031757
2618346517951041756
2718336617941051755

Census taker instructions for age on 1860 Census
The following are the exact instructions given to census taker (enumerator):

7. Ages.– Under heading 4, entitled “Age,” insert in figures what was the specific age of each person at his or her last birth day previous to the 1st day of June, opposite the name of such person. Where the exact age cannot be ascertained insert a number which shall be the nearest approximation thereto. The exact or estimated age of every individual is to be recorded. If the person be a child under one year old, born previous to the 1st day of June, the entry is to be made by the fractional parts of a year, thus: one month, 1/12; two months, 2/12; and so on to eleven months, 11/12. Omit months in all cases where the person is of one year and upwards.