Clues in the 1850 Mortality Schedule

As I was researching this week’s Tombstone Tuesday about Michael Billman I found some additional information about a woman who I theorize was his daughter.

The records of Zion Lutheran Schumm indicate that Louisa A. Billman married John Bienz on 7 November 1848 at Zion. The bride and groom were both from Zion. Their marriage is also recorded in Van Wert County Probate, which indicates they were married by Rev. George Streckfuss, [1] Zion Schumm’s minister at that time.

Noted at the end of their church marriage entry is that Louisa died 18 June 1849. The couple was married less than a year when she died.

And Louisa was very young. Zion Schumm’s records indicate that she was 17 years, 6 months, and 11 days old when she died. Her date of birth is calculated as 7 December 1831.   

Louisa (Billman) Bienz was in my database but I did not have much information about her, just that she was married to John Bienz.

But this week I found some additional information about Louisa Billman from an interesting record group that I do not use very often, the U.S. Census Mortality Schedule. The Mortality Schedules contain good, but specific information and I usually do not find many people I am looking for in it.

1850 Mortality Schedule, Willshire Township.

Only four mortality schedules were taken. They list the people who died in the 12 months before (1 June through 31 May) the federal census was taken in the years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. These schedules list the dead person’s name, age, sex, color, whether married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. Mortality schedules were taken along with population schedules but they are separate from the population schedules. has most of the mortality schedules, although a few states/years are missing. has the 1850 mortality schedule images and indexes.

The first column of the 1850 Mortality Schedule lists the Name of every person who died during the year ending 1 June 1850, whose usual place of abode at the time of his death was in this family.

The regular census was taken in June and since the information was intended to include those who died the year before the census was taken, the Van Wert County’s 1850 Mortality Schedule includes Louisa (Billman) Bienz, who died 18 June 1849.

The mortality schedule gives this information about Louisa: Louisa Billman, female, 18 years of age, born in Ohio, died in June 1849 from a fever that she had for 6 weeks. [2] Interesting that her maiden name was given instead of her married name. Note that this record shows she was 18 years of age, while the church record gives her age as 17. Either way, she was a young bride but I did not see that her father gave his consent for her marriage.

The best thing about seeing Louisa’s death date in the mortality schedule is that it corrected some information for me. The name Louisa looks like Louis In Zion Schumm’s old church records, which are written in the old Gothic script. I had transcribed her death record as Louis Bienz and did not know who he was. But now I know it is the death record of Louisa (Billman) Bienz. Mystery solved! 

On the line below Louisa’s death entry in the mortality schedule is the name Lewis Schumm, 1 month old, male, born in Ohio, died in October 1849 of UK[?], which he had for 1 day. Zion Schumm’s records confirm that Ludwig Schumm, son of Jacob Schumm, was buried 12 October 1849, age 1 day. I believe the letters under cause of death are UK, for unknown.   

The mortality schedules are an interesting source of information, although they are limited to a very specific time period.

[1] “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” Van Wert, Vol. 1, p.55, John Bienz & Louisa A. Billman, 1 Dec 1848; FamilySearch ( viewed 27 May 2021).

[2] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885, Non-population Census Schedules for Ohio, 1850-1880, Van Wert, Ohio, 1849, District 147, p.243, line 4, Louisa Billman; ( : viewed 24 May 2021).


Skip to comment form

    • Mary Ann Olding on May 28, 2021 at 6:39 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for this information, Karen. You are a master researcher. I enjoy your family articles.
    Mary Ann

    1. Thank you!

    • Charmaine Hoffman on May 28, 2021 at 1:13 pm
    • Reply

    Was so glad to see this. I am connected to the Billman’s and the Bienz’s. I had found Louisa marriage and death notices and I guess her maiden name of Billman was used instead of Bienz. I assumed that John remarried since she was so young. In further checking I think I am finding him married to Magdalena Schueler in 1852. Does this make sense to you? This Johannes (John) was a brother to Christian who was my gggrandfather. Christian’s son Joseph (Will) married Lucy Billman who’s father was Daniel Billman, son of Michael. if I am wrong about this please let me know. I was so excited to see this info.

    1. Yes, I believe you are correct. John Bienz married Magdalena Schueler in 1852. They lived in Willshire Township for years. John died in 1898 and he is buried in row 7 in Zion Schumm’s cemetery. Later, his widow Magdalena (Schueler) Bienz moved with a couple of their children to near Preble, Adams County, Indiana. Magdalena is buried in St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Preble. I wrote Tombstone Tuesdays about both of them. I suggest using the website search feature in the upper right corner to find the blog posts about them. Try using the spelling “Schueler.” I have a Christian Bienz (1829-1900) in my database, as a brother to John, son of Balthas Bienz, and having a son Abram Walter (1873-1919). That is all the information I have about him. Are we talking about the same person? Maybe you can help me out there. I will e-mail you privately. Thanks for writing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.