The mortality schedules of the U.S. Federal Census recorded deaths that occurred in the twelve months before the census was taken, for each of the towns enumerated in the census. Schedules exist for the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. In addition, 1885 mortality schedules are available for Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Dakota Territory.
A mortality schedule lists an individual's name, age, sex, color, marital status, occupation, place of birth, cause of death, length of illness, month of death. Beginning in 1870, parents' place of birth was included; in 1880, the place where the disease was contracted, and the individual's length of residence were added.