Your Quick Tips

Check Under Middle Names
Recently in looking for another non-related family in the 1910 census, I finally found my grandparents, father, and uncles! No wonder I hadn’t been able to find them initially. The family was listed under my grandfather’s middle name. There they were–the whole family with the last name Elwood instead of Reitenbaugh!

I can hear the census taker asking my grandfather what his name was and the reply being “Joseph Elwood.” Any dummy knew that the census taker had stopped at the Reitenbaugh household. Wasn’t that obvious?

This is probably only one story out of thousands about the ‘hazards’ of finding our ancestors in the census records. I have done the same detail as you suggested for finding family in the 1840 and prior census records. It is tricky to say the least and too often there is more than one household that seems to be a match. I guess that’s what makes genealogy fascinating–the mystery, the search, and the discovery.
Doris Wills

Extra People in the Household in Pre-1850 Censuses
When researching in pre-1850 censuses, don’t forget that sometimes those “extra males” were hired help. Even youngsters 12-16 often lived with someone else to help bring home money or food in exchange for their labor.
Srenda M. Scott

Wedding Witness Romances
Don’t dismiss wedding witnesses lightly. They may have been either engaged friends, or at least courting, and could be found married later.
Terry Dipple

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4 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. I had a set of great-great-great grandparents that I could not find in any of the 1900 census indices. His name was enumerated backwards, as Hunt Elston, rather than Elston Hunt.

    Try every permutation!

  2. I found my great-grandfather in the 1900 census, but then heseemed to disappear. I couldn’t find him in any other census. So I went back to the 1900 page and noted the names of the families who were enumerated on the same page. When I looked for one of these families the 1910 census, sure enough–there was my ancestor, still living next door. His name had been so badly misspelled that it did not show up in the index.

  3. There may also be extra females in those earlier census counts too. Often a young couple would have a ‘girl’ to help with housework especially if there were very young children. It may have been a relative or a neighbors child. So when looking for Aunt Bea, Uncle Andy and newborn Opie – There might just be a teenager of either sex living in the household – life was much more labor intensive then.

  4. German or Early names:

    starting with Anna Marie dropped the first name and went with the Middle name Marie

    Johann Frederick went by Frederick

    My Father Frank Melvin Markley, went all of his life by Melvin,
    My Mother Mildred Lucile (Cunningham) Markley went all of her life with Lucile.

    I have to figure they did know why they went by their Middle name, just continuing a trait.

    Don Markley

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