Given Name(s) Last Name

From the Ancestry Daily News
  Michael John Neill – 5/29/2002

Starting with My Senses, Part 2

This week we continue our analysis of the census entries for the family of Nazaire/Isiah Drollette in upstate New York. Our census work is not done until we have located all the entries for this individual and his family. Copies of the family's entire census entries are viewable at:

The 1870 Census
1870 Census, Saranac, Clinton County, New York, family and dwelling number 18, pages 3-4, taken 2 August 1870 (abstracted entry).
Drulette, Isiah, 40, M, Canada,
Drulette, Sarah, 35, F, Canada
Drulette, Julia, 19, F, New York
Drulette, Isiah, 18, M, New York
Drulette, Mary, 16, F, New York
Drulette, Elmore, 14, M, New York
Drulette, Salinda, 12, F, New York
Drulette, Louisa, 10, F, New York
Drulette, Josephine, 6, F, New York
Drulette, Napolean, 5, M, New York
Drulette, John, 3, M, New York
Drulette, George, 8/12, M, New York (born in October)

The wife has a different name than that which is listed in the 1870 census, but based upon the names of the children, I've located the correct family. Many of the younger children from 1870 are listed in 1880. The older ones not listed are probably on their own now, and it is possible that some died between the 1870 and 1880 census. There is also the possibility that some are listed under different names. The twelve-year-old Frank in 1880 might be the three-year-old John in 1870. A middle name might have been used or the child might have had a christening name and a different name as he got older. Further work will have to be done on the children to determine exactly how many there really are. Censuses alone will not provide all the answers.

Is Sarah of 1870 the Mary of 1880? Based solely upon this record I'm not certain. However, the years of birth for the Sarah of 1870 (ca. 1835) and the Mary of 1880 (ca. 1834) are not significantly different. The ages are consistent enough to be the same person and to be different from the Eliza listed as the wife in 1900. More work still needs to be done.

The 1860 Census
1860 Census, Saranac, Clinton County, New York, dwelling 1125, family 1062, page 167, taken 5 October 1860 (abstracted entry).

Isiah Draulet . . . . . 30 M Canada
Mary . . . . . . . . . . 28 F Canada
Julia . . . . . . . . . . . 10 F New York
Isiah . . . . . . . . . . . 9 M New York
Mary . . . . . . . . . . .6 F New York
Elmon . . . . . . . . . . 5 M New York
Lucinda . . . . . . . . . 3 F New York
Louisa . . . . . . . . . . 1 F New York

The family names, with the exception of Lucinda, are fairly close to the names in the other census entries. The wife's name is now back to Mary and the wife (if it is the same one) only aged seven years from 1860 to 1870, something not unheard of with census records. The age difference alone would not be enough to assume a different wife. With the exception of the 1900 census, Isiah's ages have been unusually consistent from the 1860 through the 1880 censuses.

The 1850 Census
1850 Census, Saranac, Clinton County, New York, dwelling 192, family 196, taken 7 December 1850 (abstracted entry).

Nazer Draulette . . .22 M Canada
Mary Draulette . . . 18 F Canada
Married within the census year

This is the earliest entry for Nazaire, who is listed under the spelling Nazer. There were no other entries for surnames reasonably close to our focus person in the 1850 census. The ages of this couple are consistent with the ages of the couple in 1860. The fact that the couple was married within the census year for the 1850 census is consistent with the age of their oldest child in 1860. The "within the census year" for the 1850 census means a range of dates between 1 June 1849 and 31 May 1850. This gives us an approximate date of marriage for the couple.

Getting the Children's Ages
For now, if the names are different, I'm going to consider them different children. Based upon additional research or analysis, I may "merge" children, but charting them all may help me to line things out.

Some of the children listed in the various census records.


Name 1860 1870 1880 Born?
Julia Aged 10 Aged 19   Ca. 1850-51
Isiah Aged 9 Aged 18   Ca. 1851-52
Mary Aged 6 Aged 16   Ca. 1854
Louisa Aged 1 Aged 10   Ca. 1859-60
Napolean   Aged 5 Aged 15 Ca.1865

Personally, I always consider a census age suspect and always insert a "ca." in front of any year of birth obtained from an age in a census record.

1) It is important to analyze as many census entries as you can for the family under study.

2) The entire census entry should be copied—not just the summary you see here that provided the fodder for our discussion.

3) The census information should be copied verbatim--do not attempt to correct or make alterations a century and a half after the fact.

4) Just because two records are consistent does not necessarily mean that they are correct—it just means they are consistent.

Now that I have completed the census work for Nazaire, I should begin searching for him and his family in other records in Clinton County, New York. Given that the family was French-Canadian, records from local Catholic churches may be the best place to start. Based upon the five census entries, I have a good idea of the family structure (or at least the children of Nazaire). The censuses did not provide me with exact dates of birth, but they did allow me to approximate the birth year for each child and for the parents. Months of birth were given for Nazaire, his 1900 wife Eliza, and his child George. These should be double-checked against other records where possible. My search for Nazaire's Canadian origins is best put on hold until I know more about him in New York State.

What I should do:
1) Visit the USGenWeb page for Clinton County, New York, via

2) Consider posting a query for this family on the boards at at: (For more on message board posting, read "Before You Post" and "After You Post,"

3) Learn about records in New York State using the Research Guide from the Family History Library ( -- click on "N" for New York)

4) Search the Family History Library Card Catalog ( for items on Clinton County New York in their collection

New York has a wonderful series of state census records that would also be helpful in researching this family. A future follow-up in this series will discuss applicable state census records for this family. Ancestry's "The Source" has information on state census records. Many state archives have state census records in their collection as does the Family History Library. Those wishing to locate information on state census records may wish to type:
"[your state] state census records"
(without the quotes) into a search engine such as Google ( to locate more information. Readers who are really lucky may find transcriptions of such records online, more likely one will find bibliographies and finding aids.


Szucs, Loretto and Sandra H. Luebking,  Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1997.)

Copyright 2002,
Used by the Author on his website with permission.

Nazaire Drollete in the Census