September 17, 2017

Pages 2525-2532
Whole Number 122

SPARKS FAMLIES FOUND IN NORTH CAROLINA CENSUS RECORDS
1790-1830



The first census taken on behalf of the United States government is dated 1790. This counting of the population has continued at the close of each decade since then. Today, our early census records constitute a major source for genealogical research. In the following pages we provide a record of persons named Sparks (also Spark, Sparke, and Sparkes) appearing on the 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses of North Carolina. That for 1840 was published in the Quarterly of September 1972 (Vol. XX, No. 3, Whole No. 79) pp. 1510-12. That for 1850 appeared in the Quarterly of December 1961 (Vol. IX, No. 4, Whole No. 36) pp. 599-609.

Until the 1850 census was taken, only the individual considered to be the head of each household was listed by name. That individual and other members of his household were then enumerated by sex and age groups. Slaves were counted separately.

In the first census of 1790, all females were counted in one category, but males were divided by age: those over 16 and those under 16. In 1800 and 1810, however, both males and females were divided into five age groupings. In 1820 there was a separate category for males between 16 and 18. In 1830 these age categories were extended to comprise 13 different columns under both males and females.

When using these early census records for genealogical research, it is important to note that the person named as head of the household was also enumerated. Thus, as we look at Anson County on the 1820 census, for example, and find that a James appears with only one male enumerated as aged 26 to 45, we can be sure that this was James himself. We find also that this James Sparks had in his household one female enumerated as between 10 and 16 years of age. Unless we find information on James Sparks in other early records, we cannot be sure how this young female was connected to him. Perhaps she was his youthful bride. On the other hand, she could have been a sister, a cousin, or simply a hired girl.

We can assume that in most instances where we find a male named as head of a household with a female of similar age along with children of varying ages, not only was the female the man's wife, but that the children were their own. However, without other proof, we have to recognize that they could have been step children or other relatives. They may have been apprentices learning a trade, or neighborhood orphans that had been taken into the family.

Males headed most households, of course. Where a woman's name appears, we can guess that she was a widow. If the heads of two households bear the same surname and were listed by the census taker on the same page, the chances are great that they were related, especially if the surname is unusual. But, again, we can only speculate in the absence of other records. We must also keep in mind that, while the census taker was paid by the government for his labor and was instructed to be complete and accurate, mistakes were made. Whole households were missed, or sometimes counted twice. Names were sometimes misspelled, especially if they were unusual, and individual family members were sometimes omitted or placed in the wrong age category. The census taker normally had to rely on the information provided by whomever was home when he visited a given household. Even a parent might not remember whether a child was over 16 or under 16.

While census data must be interpreted with care, with many conjectures and tentative conclusions, these records still constitute a most valuable source for genealogical study.

SPARKS FAMILIES LISTED ON THE 1790 CENSUS OF NORTH CAROLINA

  Males
16 & over
Males
Under 16
  Females
All ages
Slaves
Males & Females
Anson County
Charles Sparks 3 1   1 3
 
Northampton County
William Sparks 1 1   1  
 
Rockingham County
Thomas Sparks 1 0   2  
Rowan County
David Sparks 1 2   1  
Jonas Sparks 2 3   3  
William Sparks 1 2   3  
 
Surry County
George Sparks 1 1   1  
Joseph Sparks 1 4   4  
Matthew Sparks 1 3   4  
William Sparks 1 1   2  
William Sparks, Jr. 2 1   5  
Thomas Sparks 1 1   2  
 
Wilkes County
John Sparks 1 4   3  
John Sparks 1 4   3  
Reuben Sparks 1 1   3  

 (Editor's Note: The above records have been copied from a set of published volumes issued by the Bureau of the Census in the early 1900's. A separate volume of the 1790 census for North Carolina, however, was published in 1905 as Volume XXVI of The State Records of North Carolina collected and edited by Walter Clark. According to his introduction, Mr. Clark obtained permission to copy these records through a special act of Congress. A comparison of the above Sparks entries in these different copies revealed complete agreement except for the number of females in the household of Reuben Sparks of Wilkes County. Clark copied the number as 2 rather than 3.)

SPARKS FAMILIES LISTED ON THE 1800 CENSUS OF NORTH CAROLINA

  Males   Females
  0
10
10
16
16
26
26
45
45
up
||| 0
10
10
16
16
26
26
45
45
up
Anson County
James Sparks (p. 207) 1 1     1 ||| 1 2     1
 
Burke County
Jeremiah Sparks (p. 791)       1   |||          
William Sparks, Sr. (p. 791) 2 1     1 ||| 3 2     1
 
Rowan County
Jonas Sparks (p. 439) 2 2     1 ||| 1 2 1   1
William Sparks (p. 439) 2     1   ||| 2     1  
 
Surry County
Benjamin Sparks (p.689) 1         ||| 1     1  
John Sparks (p. 689) 2     1   |||     1    
Sam'l Sparks (p690) 1 slave       1 1 |||         1
James Sparks (p. 691) 2     1   ||| 2   1    
Joseph Sparks (p. 692) 1 2 2   1 ||| 2 1   1  
Matthew Sparks ( " ) 1 slave 3 3     1 |||     1   1
William Sparks (p. 693)   1     1 |||         1
George Sparks (p.707) 1 1   1   ||| 1     1  
 
Wilkes County
Abel Sparks (p. 62) 2     1   ||| 3     1  
John Sparks (p.62) 3 2 1 1   ||| 1 1 1 1  
Reuben Sparks (p. 62) 2   1 1   ||| 2 1   1  
Charles Sparks (p. 64)       1   |||   1      

(Editor's Note: Ths made in the enumeration of the household of Benjamin Sparks of Surry County - - he himself being omitted from thee above records have been copied from a microfilm of the original records in the National Archives It is apparent that an error wa enumeration of his household When the 1810 census was taken, his age was given as between 26 and 45 Since he appears to have been married with two children when the 1800 census was taken, the chances are great that he was likewise between 26 and 45 in 1800.)

SPARKS FAMILIES LISTED ON THE 1810 CENSUS OF NORTH CAROLINA

  Males   Females Slaves
  0
10
10
16
16
26
26
45
45
up
||| 0
10
10
16
16
26
26
45
45
up
All
Ashe County           |||            
J. Sparks (p. 71)    1 2   1 |||   1   1    
W. Sparks (p. 71) 1   1     |||     1      
 
Burke County
Eliza sparks (p. 338) 4         |||     1      
Jery Sparks (p. 324) 2     1   ||| 2 1 1      
 
Edgecomb County
Samuel Sparks (p. 744)     1 1   ||| 1   1     1
 
Halifax County
Al (Joel?) Sparks (p. 51)     1     ||| 1   1      
 
Iredel County
Richard Sparks (p. 172) 2       1 ||| 1     1    
Rutherford County
Richard Sparks (p. 438) 3       1 ||| 1       1  
 
Rockingham County
John Sparks (p. 205) 2     1   ||| 2   1 1   1
 
Rowan County
David Sparks (p. 241) 3 2 2 1   ||| 1 2   1    
Hampton Sparks (p. 241)     1     |||   1       1
 
Stokes County
John Spark (p. 586) 2   2   1 ||| 1 2 1 1 1  
 
Surry County
Benjamin Sparks (p. 696) 2 1   1   ||| 1 1   1    
George Sparks (p. 644) 1 1 1 1   ||| 2 2   1    
Matthew Sparks (p. 643) 2   1     |||     1      
Matthew Sparks (p. 663)   1 2   1 |||         1 3
Samuel Sparks (p. 631)         1 |||         1 2
Thomas Sparks (p. 642) 4 1 1 1   ||| 2   2   1  
Wilkes County
George Sparks (p. 870) 1   1     ||| 1   1      
James Sparks (p. 874) 1 1 1 1   ||| 2 1 1 1    
John Sparks, Esq. (p. 849) 2 1 2   1 |||     2   1  
John Sparks, Jr. (p. 841) 1     1   ||| 1   1      
Levi Sparks (p. 851) 3     1   ||| 2   1     1
Reuben Sparks (p. 865) 2 1 1   1 ||| 1 1 1   1  
Solomon Sparks (p. 854) 1 1 2 1   |||       1   3
Solomon Sparks, Jr. (869) 1   1     |||     1      

SPARKS FAMILIES LISTED ON THE 1820 CENSUS OF NORTH CAROLINA

  Males   Females
  0
10
10
16
16
18
16
26
26
45
45
up
||| 0
10
10
16
16
26
26
45
45
up
Anson County
James Sparks (p. 52)         1   |||   1      
Sarah Sparks (p. 53)         1   |||       1 1
 
Burke County
Jeremiah Sparkes (p. 53) 2 1       2 ||| 2   1 1  
James Sparkes (p. 53)   1       1 ||| 2 1     1
Allen Sparkes (p. 53) 1       1   ||| 1   1    
Larkin Sparks (p. 87) 1       1   ||| 2 2   1  
              |||          
Edgecombe County
Samuel Sparks (p. 130) 1       1   ||| 1     1  
 
Iredell County
Richard Sparks (p. 236) 3 1       1 ||| 1 1   1  
Rutherford County
William Sparks (p. 354) 3       1   ||| 3 2   1  
Richard Sparks (p. 384) 4     1 1   ||| 1   1 1  
Samuel Sparks (p. 384)     1 1   1 |||         1
Morgan Sparks (p. 389) 1   3 3 1   ||| 4 1 1 1  
Abijah Sparks (p. 391) 2       1   ||| 1   1    
 
Stokes County
John B. Sparks (p. 365) 1 1     1   ||| 3 2   1  
 
Surry County
Joseph Sparks 1     1 1   ||| 2     1  
Benjamin Sparks   2   2   1 |||   1 1    
George Sparks   1       1 |||     2   1
Jonathan Sparks (p. 666) 2       1   ||| 1   1    
Benjamin Sparks, Jr. (p. 666) 1       1   |||   1 1   1
William Sparks (p. 674) 1 1   1 1   ||| 2 1   1  
John Sparks (p. 674)       1     ||| 1   1    
Joel Sparks (p. 674) 2 1   1 1   ||| 3 1   1  
George Sparks (p. 574) 2       1   ||| 1     1  
Unicy Sparks (p. 674)             |||         1
Matthew Sparks (p. 674) 3 2   1 1   ||| 2     1  
Wilkes County
Charity Sparkes (p.497)     1 1     |||         1
Hardy Sparkes (p. 505) 2       1   |||     1    
Jonathan Sparkes (p. 507) 1     1     |||     1    
John Sparks (p. 510)       2 1 1 ||| 1       1
John Sparkes, Jr. (p. 510) 1       1   ||| 2        
Joel Sparkes (p. 510) 1       1   ||| 3   1    
John Sparkes (p. 510) 3 1     1   |||   2   1  
Jonas Sparks (p. 521) 2     1     |||     1    
Levi Sparkes (p. 523) 1 2   1 1   ||| 2     1  
Reuben Sparks (p. 530)   1 1 1   1 ||| 1 1 1   1
Solomon Sparks (p. 533) 2 1     1   ||| 1 1   1 1
Samuel Sparks (p.535) 3     1     ||| 1   1   1
Solomon Sparks (p. 535) 2       1   ||| 3     1  

(Editor's Note: In the above census record, Samuel Sparks of Edgecombe County was credited with owning one female slave. In Surry County the names of George, Jonathan, and Benjamin Sparks, Jr. were listed on successive lines on the page which suggests that they lived on adjoining property. The same was true of John, John, Sr., and Joel and of Samuel and Solomon in Wilkes County.)

SPARKS FAMILIES LISTED ON THE 1820 CENSUS OF NORTH CAROLINA

  Males   Females
  0
5
5
10
10
15
15
20
20
30
30
40
40
50
50
60
60
70
70
80
80
90
90
100
+
100
||| 0
5
5
10
10
15
15
20
20
30
30
40
40
50
50
60
60
70
70
80
80
90
90
100
+
100
Anson County
Sarah Sparks (p.72)                           |||     1     1       1      
 
Ashe County
Hardy Sparks (p. 26) 2   2     1               |||   2       1              
John Sparks (p. 36)   1 2 1     1             ||| 1 1   1     1            
                            |||                          
Burke County                           |||                          
Absalom Sparks (p.116)         1                 ||| 1 1     1                
Absalom Sparks (p.136)   1       1               |||   1 2     1              
William Sparks (p.139) 1 1 1     1               ||| 1                    
Benjamin Sparks (p.149) 1       2       1         |||   2   1 1       1        
James Sparks (p.199)             1             |||     2       1            
Allen Sparkes (p.200) 1 1 1     1               ||| 2 1     1                
Jeremiah Sparkes (p.200)   1   2 1     1           |||     2     1              
  James Sparks (p.203) 1       1                 ||| 1     1                  
 
Franklin County
Stephen Sparks (p. 350)       1       1           |||       1         1        
 
Iredell County
Richard Sparks (p.43)    1 1   2     1           ||| 1   1 1 1   1            
                            |||                          
Rowan County
Joseph Sparks (p.411) 2       1                 |||         1                
John Sparks (p.416) 1   3   1       1         |||   1   1 1     11          
Surry County
Matthew Sparks (p.22) 1 4 2 1 1   1             ||| 2     2     1            
George Sparks (p.22) 1 1       1               |||   1 1     1              
Eunice Sparks (p.22)           2               |||         1         1      
Benjamin sparks (p.22) 1 1 1 1     1             ||| 2 2 1     1              
Joel Sparks (p.24)   1 1 1 1   1             ||| 1 1 1   1   1            
George Sparks (p.26)         1       1         |||       2 1                
William Z. Sparks (p.26) 1 1 2       1             |||   1 1 1                
 
Wilkes County
William J. Sparkes (p.338) 1       1       1         |||         1                
John Sparkes, Sr. (p.343) 1       1         1       |||     1   1         1      
Solomon Sparks (p.343)   1         1             |||                          
John Sparkes, Jr. (p.344) 1 1       1               ||| 1   1 1   1              
Joel Sparks (p.344)   2   1     1             ||| 1 1 1 1   1              
Jonas Sparkes (p.345) 1 2 1     1               |||   1 1   1                
Colbey Sparkes (p.345)           1               ||| 2 1     1                
Reuben Sparkes (p.346)   1       1     1         ||| 1 1           1          
Joseph Sparks (p.369) 1 1     1                 ||| 2       1                
Temperance Sparkes (p.369)       1   1               |||   1 1 1 1   1            
Samuel Sparkes (p.369) 1 2 2     1               ||| 1 1 1   1         1      

(Editor's Note: According to the Sparks entries on the 1830 census of North Carolina, as shown on page 2531, Sarah Sparks of Anson County owned one slave while Stephen Sparks of Franklin County owned 16. There may have been others who were missed as the record was copied.)

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