February 23, 2018

Pages 2830
Whole Number 133

in 1820, 1830, 1840, & 1850

This is not the first time that a report of persons named Sparks appearing on the census records for the state of Maryland has been published in the Quarterly. On page 5 of the very first issue, that for March 1953, we gave the names of 23 men and 2 women named Sparks (or Spark or Sparkes) who were reported as heading households in Maryland when the first census was taken in 1790. Then, on page 1,906 of the June 1977 issue (Whole No. 98) we listed the 17 heads of Sparks households appearing on the 1800 census of Maryland. (The 1800 census of Baltimore County has been lost, which accounts for the smaller number of Sparks households in Maryland in 1800 than in 1790.) Also in the June 1977 issue of the Quarterly, on pages 1,907-08, we listed the Sparks heads of households appearing on the 1810 census of Maryland. There were 34 names on that list. Also in the Quarterly of June 1977 (pages 1,908 -13), we gave a listing of all Sparkses appearing on the 1850 census of Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

We now present a record of all persons named Sparks (including Spark and Sparkes) appearing on the 1820, the 1830, the 1840, and the 1850 censuses of Maryland.

In a chapter entitled "Maryland" written by John Frederick Dorman for Volume I (revised edition) of Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources (published by The American Society of Genealogists, Washington, D.C., 1980), it is noted that Maryland's first colonists arrived in 1634. Mr. Dorman has summarized the state's early history as follows:

The colony was founded partly as a Roman Catholic refuge but religious toleration was marked from the beginning. The Puritan element was strong, especially in Anne Arundel County, and a large number of Quakers also settled there and in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore. In later years, Dutch, Swedish, Scotch-Irish and French settlers came into the Cecil County area and there was a large German population in Western Maryland. After 1689 the Church of England was established as the state church. (page 271)

As our readers are doubtless aware, federal census records from 1790 through 1840 give only the name of the head of each household. That individual, along with all other unnamed members of his or her household, were then enumerated by sex and age group. These age groupings, which differ from census to census, are self-explanatory, although it should be noted that on the 1820 census able-bodied white males aged between 16 and 18 were not only counted in that category, but they were enumerated again in the category of males aged from 16 to 26.

It should be kept in mind that in all census records, the arrangement is by household. While the typical household then, as now, consisted of a husband, wife, and children, one cannot assume that this is always the case. Relatives, roomers, and employed individuals living in a household on the day the census taker called were counted in the same manner as were spouses, sons, and daughters.

As will be seen, an unusually large number of Sparks households were found in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. It is unfortunate that the 1830 census of this county, along with those of Montgomery, Prince George's, Saint Mary's, and Somerset Counties, are missing.

While persons named Sparks appearing on the 1850 census of Queen Anne's County were published (as noted above) in the Quarterly of June 1977, this record is repeated here in order that it may be complete in one place.