Bedford County, Virginia 1810 Census.
This is the first surviving census for Bedford, since both the 1790 and 1800 censuses have been lost. Bedford was an important county with a heavy slave population (6,147), and the census records a large total population in excess of 16,000. The manuscript itself is in very poor condition.
From the Introduction:
Of ninety-four county and municipal census records for 1810 transcribed to date, Bedford posed the greatest number of challenges in style, readability, condition of the manuscript, and over-all presentation of data. William Key, the assistant marshall and enumerator for the county, chose a unique method of recording the data. Each folio was divided into two columns (cf. Folio 452, page vii), and this allowed 40-45 names to be transcribed per sheet. Unfortunately, there are smaller margins remaining on the left and right, and portions of the edges have fallen away over the centuries. In addition, the manuscript suffered from both water damage and a resultant severe fading along the outside portions. This is especially true for the left-hand column of each sheet, where many of the names are illegible. Finally, in an effort to prevent further deterioration, early archival conservationists placed reinforcing tape along the bottom edges (and occasionally the right edge). In almost every case, the tape is so opaque that the line of data it covered was lost. The two page examples reproduced in the introduction (folios 452 and 453) actually are “good” sheets, and many others were more seriously degraded.
Two unnumbered sheets were discovered in the transcription, the first following folio 457 and the second following folio 458. All of the other sheets, both verso and recto, carry a unique sequence of numbering from 452 through 491. In this transcription the numbers “457R” and “458R” have been assigned to these unnumbered pages.