Ancestry Daily News
1870 Census Finds
1870 census images discussed this week can be viewed here.
The ongoing release of the every-name 1870 census index at Ancestry.com has
been of interest to many genealogists, myself included. While there are still
a few states I am anxiously waiting for, I have already spent quite a bit of
time searching the ones that are currently available.
A previous Ancestry Daily News column, Ready
to Try 1870, discussed two lines I was anxious to locate in 1870 using
the index. My initial attempts to locate a John Ufkes (born ca. 1838 in Germany)
in Illinois were initially unsuccessful. Instead of spending hours searching
the index for John, I decided to try and locate his sisters in 1870, hoping
one of them would lead me to my John. And it may have.
John's older sister Christena married Rolf Habben in Germany where some of
their children were also born. They immigrated to the United States in the mid-1860s
and were the couple with whom John initially lived when he immigrated in 1869.
This couple was finally located in the 1870 Illinois census, but not without
some trials and tribulations.
Finding a Sister
Comparing the Hoppen enumeration in 1870 to known records on the family of
Rolf and Christina Habben, it seems pretty reasonable to conclude I have the
right family. Other than the last name and Ralph's age, other information from
the 1870 enumeration is extremely consistent with other records. And even the
census name is relatively close to the family's actual surname (Hoppen versus
Habben). This family is enumerated on page 47 of the Bear Creek Township 1870
census schedules. Their daughter, Mary (as Mary Habben) is enumerated on page
45 as a domestic and their son Benjamin (as Benjamin Hopen) is enumerated on
page 42 as a laborer. I was hoping that Christina's brother John Ufkes was hanging
out somewhere nearby in Bear Creek Township. And he may be.
Is it Him?
While I'm not certain where my John was in 1870, he very likely would have
been in Adams County, Illinois, (where he is known to have lived in early 1869)
or in Hancock County, Illinois (where he was living when he married in 1874).
And here is this John Fulkes living in the same township as my John's sister
Christina. There is a little nagging voice in the back of my head that is wondering,
wondering if John Fulkes is really John Ufkes or not.
Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois in the 1870s contained many immigrants
from Ostfriesland, Germany, where John Ufkes and his sister Christina Habben
were from. Having worked on many families from this area, I am relatively familiar
with the surnames originating in that region. And Ufkes is not the only surname
that could be rendered as Fulkes. There are several, including Folkerts and
Focken. Also being aware of the the other Ostfriesen immigrants to the Bear
Creek Township area, I knew immigrant families in that location had the surnames
of Folkerts and Focken. This John Fulkes might not be my John Ufkes after all.
The 1880 Census?
Watch What You Grab
In this case, effective analysis required knowledge of:
What Should I Do?
--- Ages in the census could be incorrect.
I have already made several page-by-page searches of the townships where I
thought John might be living. I may wish to re-search these pages manually and
expand my search region. It is possible that John's entry in the census is so
completely misspelled that the index may not be the best tool to use. Of course,
the majority of the time the index can help us find some ancestors quickly,
saving us more time for the difficult ones.
Editor's Note: Ancestry.com subscribers with access to the U.S. Census
Collection can search the every-name index to 1870 (in progress) at:
Copyright 2003, MyFamily.com. Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry and Genealogical Computing. You can email him at: "mjnrootdig @ myfamily.com" or visit his website at: www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.