A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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General comments to the Wealth Classification lists  ( List of Families 1850 )

Families listed in these lists :
merican families with aggregate fortunes of $ 1000000 or more in year 1850. The residence state of families corresponds to the place of residence of the main holders of family wealth or to the place of the main family business.

The founder(s) of a dynasty is/are the person(s) who have created the business(es) which became the main source(s) of wealth of the family. In certain cases there are composed families, with several founders, who may have been siblings or otherwise related, partners in the same business or not.

Through the frequent intermarriages between members of the wealthy families, many persons in our lists actually descend from more than one wealthy American. Individuals are allocated only to one family, the one from whom they derive most of their wealth.

Estimates of family fortunes :
Family fortunes are derived from the individual wealth holders of a dynasty by aggregation. The number of members is indicated in the column titled “Nbr”. Only individuals with significant fortunes are considered but they may not qualify for the Individuals lists (although they are in our database). Not all descendants of the wealthy families or their fortunes are known, thus some members may be left out of the analysis.

Over time less and less inheritors of wealthy families have known or appraisable significant fortunes and thus the older families tend to fall from our lists over time.

Activity and source of wealth :
The activity of a family is invariably the one which brought it most of the wealth. The same holds for the source of wealth. In composed families, there may be several activities and sources of wealth.

Links to family profiles :
Families for whom a profile already exists in our Encyclopedia appear in the darker red color and a link is included to their profile. New profiles are added regularly, as the author advances in his documentary work.


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