Given Name(s) Last Name

From the Ancestry Daily News
  Michael John Neill 5/22/2002

Starting with My Senses

Note: This article is written under the assumption that the only information I have on Nazaire is what was obtained from his various census records. Copies of the family's census entire census entries are viewable at

I recently went back to an old WorldConnect ( posting on one of my wife's families. The submission contained sketchy information on Nazaire/Isiah Drollette and his family in Saranac, Clinton County, New York. Before researching the family extensively in local records and definitely before researching the family in Canada where Nazaire was born, I decided to locate Nazaire in as many census records as possible. Census searches were conducted initially as I had ready access to these records through the images at The census entries would allow me to estimate a variety of dates and get an idea of the family structure. Once I had used them to establish a framework, searches should be conducted in other records to establish more firm connections where possible.

The only information I had was that Nazaire was born in Canada ca. 1830, was married to Marie/Mary Maille (Maigge) in the late 1840s. He had several children, including one who likely was an ancestor of my wife. Nazaire was thought to have died sometime after 1900 and to have spent most of his time in the Saranac, New York area after his emigration from Canada. My census searches should start in Saranac. I was fortunate that Nazaire did not move much after his settlement in Saranac.

I began with the 1900 census and proceeded to work backwards, trying to follow the genealogical adage of working from the present to the past. The censuses here have been abstracted for purposes of illustration. A census record should always be extracted completely. The other columns of information not included here can provide additional clues and may help in distinguishing one family from another.

IN 1900

1900 Census, Saranac, Clinton County, New York, enumeration district 30, sheet 11, page 221A, taken 15 June 1900 (abstracted entry)

Drollette, Isiah . . . Head Apr 1827 Canada Canada Canada

, Eliza . . . . . . . . . Wife June 1856 New York Canada Canada
Lyman, Etta . . . . .dau July 1882 New York England New York
Drollette, Moses . .son Mar 1891 New York New York New York

Based upon the entry, Isiah and Eliza have been married twelve years. Eliza is the mother of one child, one of whom is living. Children Etta and Moses are both listed as single. Eliza is not the name I had for Isiah's wife.

Even though I've seen no other census entries for this family, something seems awry with the entry. It appears (but is not explicitly stated) that either Eliza or Isiah has been married before. The census indicates they have been married for twelve years and child Etta is eighteen. What appears to be the situation is that Eliza had been married before and that Etta is her daughter by a previous marriage (Etta's father is listed as having been born in England). Moses&146; father should have been listed with a place of birth of Canada instead of New York. The number of children for Eliza does not coincide with this theory, but perhaps the question was interpreted as how many children of this marriage. This census entry strongly indicates that other records should be searched.

IN 1880

1880 Census, Saranac, Clinton County, New York, enumeration district 34, dwelling 92, family 102, taken June 1880 [no date listed], (abstracted entry).

Isiah Draulette . . . . . .self 50 Canada Canada Canada
Mary Draulette . . . . . wife 46 Canada Canada Canada
Elmore Draulette . . . . son 24 New York Canada Canada
Josephine Draulette . . daugh 17 New York Canada Canada
Napoleon Draulette . . son 15 New York Canada Canada
Frank Draulette . . . . . son 12 New York Canada Canada
George Draulette . . . . son 10 New York Canada Canada
Joseph Draulette . . . . .son 8 New York Canada Canada
Salina Draulette . . . . . daugh 3m New York Canada Canada

It is really too bad there is no 1890 census entry for this family, twenty years is a long time. A lot can happen. Listed as aged fifty, Isiah would be born ca. 1830 according to this entry. This year of birth is reasonably consistent with the 1827 year of birth listed in the 1900 census. The name of the wife is now consistent with the name I had (which still does not mean it is correct). Mary (the wife in 1880) would have been born ca. 1834. This year of birth is twenty years earlier than the year of birth for wife Eliza listed in 1900. This wide discrepancy continues to hint at the more than one wife theory.

However, there are two possibilities:

1) Isiah had two wives, Mary/Marie and Eliza.

2) The Isiah I have in 1900 is not the same Isiah as I have in 1880. My research in the 1900 census should have included the ENTIRE Saranac district and not stopped with the first reasonable match. My research log should indicate whether or not I searched the entire district. If an entire search was not done, then I should go back and revisit the census. Until further work has been done on this family, it is always possible that there were two separate Isiahs. I should not let the unusual nature of the name lead me down the wrong path. Two additional comments here:
a) My grandfather with the most unusual name of John Ufkes had two first cousins with the same name. While it is an entirely different family in a completely different situation it serves to remind that men or women can have the same unusual name.
b) I already think I know how many Isiahs there are, but am not saying for purposes of this illustration. And of course, I could always be wrong myself!

Our analysis of the census entries for Nazaire is only partially complete. Next week we'll visit him in the 1850-70 census entries and discuss some possible ways to continue the research beyond the census.


(c) 2002 MyFamily.Com--used by the author with permission

Nazaire Drollette in the census