Last week, I wrote about the many State Censuses and Tax lists now found free online at FamilySearch.org, and referred readers to my descriptive linked listing of these resources posted on GenealogyBlog.com.
Upon reading the materials I’d posted, Ed Storey sent me information about the 1927 Pennsylvania Triennial Agricultural Census. Found in digitized format on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website, this census can give you all kinds of interesting information about your Pennsylvania farming relatives. Granted, it’s not nearly as old as the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 Federal Agricultural schedules, but if you’ve got Pennsylvania people, it’s still useful.
This post deals with the 1927 agricultural census, since it has been digitized and is easily accessed. Note that there was a 1924 Pennsylvania Triennial Agricultural Census that is available for research in manuscript format only. The two censuses are found in 58 boxes at the Pennsylvania State Archives.
These censuses are grouped by the year of report (1924 & 1927), and thereunder arranged alphabetically by county, then by name of borough or township.
The assessment reports for the Triennial Farm Census were completed by the local assessor for each borough or township. The information provided by the 1927 census returns includes the name of the occupant or person operating the farm and whether they were owned, rented or managed the farm; number of males and females in the family; total acres of farm land; number of acres for winter wheat, rye, oats, corn (for grain and silage), buck wheat, potatoes, tobacco, tame hay, and alfalfa hay; number of bearing and non-bearing apple trees; number of bearing peach trees; number of animals including horses, mules, dairy cattle, other cattle, swine, sheep, and hens and pullets; number of bee hives; number of silos; amount of equipment such as tractors, trucks, and automobiles; whether the farm is equipped with a radio; and whether the farm is equipped with electricity supplies by either a individual plant or a central station. The 1927 census also recorded if the farm had running water in the kitchen, a furnace heating system, milking machines, gas engines and telephones. These five pieces of data were the only things not also found on the 1924 returns.
Searching the 1927 Pennsylvania Triennial Farm Census
The data is not indexed, so the user will need to browse for the family they are searching for. The online data is posted as a series of Adobe PDF files, with links arranged alphabetically by county. When you click on a county link, you can then select the appropriate link to the township or borough of your choice. According to the website, if a county or township does not appear, there is no data for it or it did not exist in 1927.
The following is a typical census page – top half only:
Search for your people in the 1927 Pennsylvania Agricultural Census.