Thursday, December 27, 2007

Census Questions

Here is a clip of the 1850 census for the family of William Wisner in Avon, Lake Co, IL. We have parents, William and Betsy, followed by sons Prentice, William, Henry and Wirt. Fanny was the wife of Prentice.

On the next page (not shown here), same household, is George H Wisner, age 2, who I believe is the grandson of William & Betsey, son of William Jr.

So here is where I need help!

What is the last name shown?
Edited to ad: I worded this poorly. I am looking for the name on the last line.

Since Fanny is listed after the immediate family is it probable that the last name shown is not a child of William & Betsey? Is the order meaningless?

What age is Henry?


I may have found a clue in Wisners in America but I'd like to know what others see here. Am I just seeing what I want to see? Should I be concerned about the order the names are listed?

9 comments:

Lori Thornton said...

Last name appears to be Wisener.

Regarding Fanny, I'd say that it is inconclusive based on this census and would require further research. Is there a will or probate record available? Do other records shed light on it? She could be a daughter-in-law with a 15-year-old son or she could be a daughter with a 15-year-old illegitimate son, or the enumerator may have realized she was a daughter of William and failed to put her married name. She could be widowed. This record is just not conclusive on any of these. Interesting record since there are several "older" people out of order and since there appear to be so many older males in the household.

Henry appears to be 45.

Miriam said...

Apple, if you're talking about the last name in the household, vs. a last name (surname), it appears that the last name in this household is James, age 15.

It has been my experience with the 1850 - 1870 censuses that names after the typical head-wife-children of the household are other relations. It is very likely that James is the son of Fanny, and thus Prentice, since you say Fanny and Prentice are wife and husband.

However, this can only be a guess, and you will obviously need other documentation to prove the relationship.

Henry appears to be 45. Since his apparent mother, Betsy, is 60, she would have between 14 and nearly 16 when she was born, depending upon when their birthdays fell. This is a young, but not impossible, age for a mother in those times (or even today!).

Miriam said...

P.S. George H. Wisner is probably another son of Fanny and Prentice's. The 13-year gap between their two apparent children may indicate they had more who died young. Check, too, to see that George is age 12 and not age 2.

Apple said...

Hi Lori,
I know from other records that Fanny was the wife of Prentice. I had not considered that the child listed after her might be hers!

Miriam,
I think it says James too but since that is what I hoped it was I wanted other imput. Thanks! I'm fairly sure that James was not a son of Prentice but he could be a son or other relation to Fanny. I think from other records that Henry is shown in his correct birth order and that his age is listed incorrectly. I was wondering if anyone else would see 45 as 25. George was the grandson of Wm & Betsey but there is still some doubt on my part as to who his father was.

Jasia said...

Interesting that you and Miriam see the name on the last line as James. To me it definitely looks like Dennis.

I have to agree that Henry is 45.

Apple said...

Before I started looking for James I had the name as ??nnis so I can easily see it as Dennis.

Becky said...

If you want my 2 cents worth - I'd also say the last name on the image is James. I've got a census record for my James Joslin where the James looks nearly identical.

Anonymous said...

I feel certain that the name is James.

David said...

My guess is that Henry was listed as 45, but the first digit just doesn't look like other 4s on the page. And the name on the last line appears to be James. The J somewhat matches Js in other names on the page (e.g., James, John, Jane).

When I run into issues like this, I try to find other census records and look for a pattern of consistency and make note of what seems out of place or incorrect. If I have other records, such as a baptism or death certificate, I'll just transcribe the census as is and not mention what should be obvious to those reading my material.