Saturday, July 19, 2008

What Is In A Census: A Family Story

Way to many people will look at a census and just see dry facts & don’t look at what all is going on in these documents. Quite often with just a few censuses a nice picture of your family will start appearing.

Here is the story of Thomas Chapman of Rocheport, Missouri that is built from just those dry facts so many people over look.

Thomas Chapman was born about 1824 in Northallerton, England (1). By 1850 he had immigrated to Boone Co. Missouri (2). Here he lived with Henderson Wheeler, the local blacksmith, and worked as a wagon maker (3).

By 1860 he owned his own home (4) in Rocheport (5) and continued working as a wagon maker until after 1880. He married Sarah about 1864 (6), Sarah was born about April of 1837 in Missouri (7). They had 11 children (8): Thomas, James, George, Mary, Sarah, Elisa, Emily H, Millie, Guy, Niel, and Annie W. (9). One of the children died by 1900 and another by 1910 (8).

Thomas Chapman Passed away by 1900 (10). After Thomas’s passing his wife Sarah A. stayed in Rocheport living in their home (11) with her children George, Emma H. and Annie W. and in 1910 only Anna was left in the home. Sarah passed away by 1920 (12).

1. Uncommon but the 1850 & 1860 listed the town he was born.
2. 1850 was the 1st census he appeared on.
3. 1850-1930 shows who is in the house, and their occupation.
4. 1860 & 1870 showed real estate.
5. 1860, 1880, 1900 & 1910 shows town of Rocheport.
6. 1900 gave number of years married even though she was a widow
7. 1860 shows his wife & 1900 gave month and year of birth.
8. 1900 & 1910 shows number of children living & dead.
9. 1860-1910 had the names and ages of the children.
10. 1900 his wife is listed as a widow.
11. 1900-1920 shows living in home or farm, rented or owned, and if it is mortgaged.
12. 1920 Sarah appeared on no more censuses.

Now if this story was built using only censuses, just think what could happen when you find newspapers, county histories, land, cemetery, church & vital records, just to mention a few

Free blank census forums can be downloaded here:

Elyse90505 on YouTube is working on a set of census videos that make it very easy to understand what you can find on these censuses. I suggest you check them out


Jennifer said...

Nicely done. Thank you for the information and the links to the videos on youtube.

Anonymous said...

Good information, thanks for the links.