The US Census has been conducted every ten years since 1790. Census data is subject to the “72-year rule.” Detailed census data can not be released until 72 years have passed since the year collected. In April, 2022 the data from the 1950 census was released to the public after 72 years.
What information is collected in the census
- State or country of birth
- Parents’ birthplace(s)
- Year of immigration (if relevant)
- Street address
- Marriage status and years of marriage
- Value of home and personal belongings
- Crops grown or products made
Why it’s useful
When you’re looking for information about a person from a long time ago, in my case, the late 1800s, often there is very little to work with because so much time has passed. Legal documents such as marriage, birth, and death certificates can be a big help, but often they are hard to find. Many of these records are kept at the local level, in church registries, or with state, county, or city governments, making them vulnerable to loss or misplacement. The Census is the one constant over the years that is kept by the federal government under the care of the National Archives. In the absence of other information, the Census comes in handy to help establish basic information: names of persons in the household, their ages, address, and occupation (adults) at the very least. The census is also useful in collaborating with other information that you might not be sure is correct. One thing to note, the spelling of names is not always accurate, as you’ll see below. The census survey relies on the accuracy of census “takers,” people who record the information. They make mistakes.
This is Hannibal’s parents Alanson and Celestia Howell. They lived in Lansing, NY.
Note Hannibal is already married to Charlotte and is not listed.
Hannibal’s father is a painter.
Hannibal and Charlotte live in Groton, NY. Hannibal is a painter. There are two other men living in the house. The name “Washington” is odd. Could he be an African American?
Hannibal and Charlotte live in Groton. Four children. Hannibal is a painter.
Martha (the oldest) is out of the house, maybe married. Jennie has died. Dewitt is working in a spoke factory (wagon wheel). He is 14. Hattie is eight and in school. They live in Hector.
Charlotte Howell is living with her daughter Martha’s family.
Arthur and Hattie live in Hector. Arthur’s occupation is listed as a “fruit grower.” Earl, the oldest, is not living at home. He married Maude Murphy (the one with the diaries).