You Found a Possible Ancestor in the US Census

You are going over a census record – 1860, 1880, 1900 or any other and you spot a name of someone who could be a relative. They might not be living with other known family members with the same name but rather was a ‘boarder’ or living with other family members with a different surname.

To check you have the right person do the following. Review the handwritten census record, never just a transcription (where there can be mistakes). Next check all parts, some cover over two pages and some have additional information on that person at the bottom of the page. LOOK!! Know what the topic or question was written at the top that was answered on the census.

Review neighboring households by looking over several pages before and after, see what names appear. Look and understand what occupation is listed for that person, is it one that person could have done? 

Don’t let a status throw you. It was very common for women and men to state they were married or widowed when really they were NOT. They rarely would want on a document to be known they were separated, divorced and certainly not ‘abandoned’.

Make note of an address given, dwelling number and certainly the village or town name and its county. You will need that info later. 

Photos: Chris & Dora Seegers Family, taken about 1880; Michigan football team; and George Boyer family in 1880.

Related Blogs:

Read Between Census Lines

Missed Info on Census Records

1870 Federal US Census

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