JAEH issue index
Volume 35, Issue 1 – Fall 2015

Supplement to

Irish Origins and the Shaping of Immigrant Life in Savannah on the Eve of the Civil War

by Tyler Anbinder

The numbers below each house in the figures that follow correspond to the "dwelling numbers" recorded in the 1860 census of Savannah. Each colored square in each dwelling represents an adult inhabitant of the dwelling (only adults eighteen and older are represented). The color of each square indicates each resident's country of birth and the letters within the green squares indicate the county of birth within Ireland. The various German nation-states that existed in 1860 are all labeled "German" in these graphs for simplicity's sake.

I determined which dwellings sat on which streets by searching for the residents of each dwelling in the Directory for the City of Savannah,...1860. These search results, and the names of each adult resident of each dwelling and his or her place of birth, can be found in my Savannah Irish Immigrants Database, available at http://thedata.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/anbinder. Because of discrepancies and inaccuracies in the directory, and because the directory did not usually provide precise house numbers, but merely said "Broughton bet. E. Broad and Houston" or "Broughton nr. Houston," the block designations given in these figures should be considered approximate rather than exact. Furthermore, the houses are not depicted to scale; the height of the "roof" for each dwelling is determined by the number of adult residents. It is possible that dwelling 2264 housing thirteen adults was no bigger than dwelling 2263 that housed only five.

As a result, these figures indicate which residents of Savannah lived within close proximity to each other, but should not be taken as a definite representation of which residents lived next door to one another. It was typical for census takers to canvass all the dwellings on one side of a block, from one end to the other, and then cross to the other side and do the other half of the block, but we do not know whether this census taker followed that practice. Yet by comparing the names of the inhabitants of each dwelling to their place of residence listed in the city directory, we can determine when the census taker finished work on one street and began to enumerate residents on another. For some very long streets, the dwellings could not be depicted in one long row in these figures due to space constraints. so when the dwellings depicted in these figures appear to turn a corner, this should not be interpreted as my belief that the street actually turned at this point, but instead as an effort to fit all the dwellings from certain blocks onto one page. Finally, in some places these figures skip certain dwelling numbers, but this is not an oversight. Instead, the missing dwellings were reported by the census taker to be uninhabited.

These figures show only free African Americans and not slaves, who were not enumerated in the census schedules upon which these figures are based. It is very likely that the dwellings inhabited by free African Americans also housed slaves, as it was common in Savannah for slaves to live apart from their owners and most of these slaves lived with free people of color in Yamacraw and the Oglethorpe Wards. But because the slave schedules do not state where slaves lived, it is impossible to determine how many slaves, if any, lived in the dwellings depicted in these charts.

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