Finding Children In-Between Census Years

Maybe one of the hardest items to research, mostly you may not even know about a specific individual ever existed. Infant and child mortality was high in the years of 1700s to 1940s. Visit any older cemetery and you find many infants and children did not survive past childhood.

You might think checking the US Federal or State Census records would provide all the name, not if a child was born and died in-between census records dates. There were the mortality censuses done in 1880, but even not all were listed. The person or child had to have died the last full year before the census was taken.

One of the best methods is to see if there is a family Bible. It was the place to record births-marriages and deaths in a family, sometimes not just the immediate family members but sometimes, grandchildren. If you don’t have a copy of the records written in your family’s Bible, check other relatives, collateral (aunts, cousins, uncles) relatives, collateral genealogy researchers, local hometown archives and museums and the home state archives. Many family Bibles have been donated to such locations or a digital or print copy made of the B-M-D records in the Bible.

Another resource is the local hometown newspaper or a neighboring town newspaper. It may only be a brief notice of a baby’s death, but at least it is a start.

Research the cemeteries in the home counties and towns. Check with the records the cemetery has as far a names or if you go to visit, walk to read the headstones. Children who were born and died in the 1870s-1899, this might be the only record. Of course many of those headstones only say “Infant’ – son of (parent’s name), the infant was never named.

One census resource I have found excellent in seeing if there were any children missing on the family tree, is the 1900 US Federal Census. One of the questions to adult females: Mother of how many children” and Number of these children living”. The 1910 census records for adult females, the question is: children born” and children living”.

Remember to ask your family members about children of earlier generations who died young. Go through some of their family photo albums, there might a photo of a child.

Photos: Baby Nicholson; Page of family Bible with births; Page of family Bible with deaths; and Obit on an infant – 1900.

Related Blogs:

Any Baby Book?

Birth Spacing

A Sibling Never Known

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