Digital History — One Example

The University of Virginia has a historical census tool available online here.  I’ve used this many times over the past several years.  It’s incredibly useful.  Not only can we get results regarding census information, but we can also get maps from this tool, all at the click of a mouse.

For example, we can have a map showing the free colored persons in the US in 1860.

Or, we could have a map showing slaveholders in the US in 1860.

If we’re interested in agriculture, we can get a map showing farms of 1,000 or more acres in 1860, or a map showing farms of 3-9 acres in 1860, or maps of farm sizes between those two.

Those who claim “the North” was an industrialized section might be surprised by this map, showing the distribution of manufacturing establishments in the US in 1860.  Note that the heavy concentration is in two states, with only two other “Northern” states showing higher levels of manufacturing than the rest of the country.  California, of course, is in the far west.  The rest of “the North” is as bereft of manufacturing as “the south.”

This is a very powerful tool.  Enjoy using it.

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