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Ancestry Daily News
  Michael John Neill – 8/14/2002


Analyzing Pre-1850 Census Records: Part II

This week we continue the analysis of the census entries for Thomas Chaney of Southampton Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Last week's article is available at: www.rootdig.com/chaneythomas/partone.html

This analysis was done without reference to Thomas' other documents. This forced me to focus on the census entries and not on trying to "prove" any preconceived notions. I'll compare my census analysis with other records once the analysis is done. Images of the census records discussed in this article are online at: www.rootdig.com/chaneythomas/index.html

Note: all the listings below, the words before the word "COMMENT" are from the census and the age categories. The words after "COMMENT" are my own comments and thoughts. Last week's article discussed how the age categorizations were converted to the statements below.

1810 ENTRIES
Male born between 1800 and 1810, COMMENT: boy 2
Male born between 1794 and 1800, COMMENT: boy 1—out of household by 1820?
Male born between 1784 and 1765, COMMENT: Thomas

Female born between 1800 and 1810, COMMENT: girl 4
Female born between 1800 and 1810, COMMENT: girl 3
Female born between 1800 and 1810, COMMENT: girl 2—out of household by 1820?
Female born between 1794 and 1800, COMMENT: girl 1—out of household by 1820?
Female born between 1765 and 1784, COMMENT: wife of Thomas

1820 ENTRIES
Male born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: boy 3, "new" child
Male born between 1804 and 1810, COMMENT: boy 2
Male born before 1775, COMMENT: Thomas

Female born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: girl 7, "new" child
Female born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: girl 6, "new" child
Female born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: girl 5, "new" child
Female born between 1804 and 1810, COMMENT: girl 4—out in 1830
Female born between 1794 and 1804, COMMENT: girl 3—out in 1830
Female born before 1775, wife of Thomas

1830 ENTRIES (no new children—none are under 10)
Male born between 1815 and 1820, COMMENT: boy 3
Male born between 1800 and 1810, COMMENT: boy 2
Male born between 1760 and 1770, COMMENT: Thomas

Female born between 1815 and 1820, COMMENT: girl 7
Female born between 1810 and 1815, COMMENT: girl 6
Female born between 1810 and 1815, COMMENT: girl 5
Female born between 1760 and 1770, COMMENT: wife of Thomas

1840 ENTRIES
Male born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: boy 3
Male born between 1760 and 1770, COMMENT: Thomas

Female born between 1825 and 1830, COMMENT: girl 8— apparently not listed in 1830
Female born between 1810 and 1820, COMMENT: girl 6 or girl 7
Female born between 1760 and 1770, COMMENT: wife of Thomas

You Don't Agree?
That's fine. There's even the chance that if I were to reanalyze the entries I might reach a different conclusion. If I organize my thoughts and include the majority of my reasoning it makes it easier for me to correct errors in my logic or for others to see my line of reasoning. So far, there's no genealogy software program where I can put in the ages of household members from a series of census records and have the program generate a likely family structure (If someone knows of such a program, I'd love to hear about it).

Thomas's "Children"
There's no proof that all the children listed in Thomas' household are his children. They are just children living in his household. Until other evidence comes to the surface (usually via diligent research and not osmosis—though I'll keep hoping), I'll work on the premise that all the children in the household are his.

Based upon the census ages and my analysis:
Boy 1 was born between 1794 and 1800
Boy 2 was born between 1804 and 1810
Boy 3 was born between 1815 and 1820
Girl 1 was born between 1794 and 1800
Girl 2 was born between 1800 and 1810
Girl 3 was born between 1794 and 1804
Girl 4 was born between 1804 and 1810
Girl 5 was born between 1810 and 1815
Girl 6 was born between 1810 and 1815
Girl 7 was born between 1815 and 1820

Girl 8??
Girl 8 was born between 1825 and 1830. She is first enumerated in Thomas' household in 1840 and is between 10 and 15. There is no child fitting her age range in Thomas' 1830 census entry. Girl 8 is tentatively considered to be someone outside of Thomas' family of biological children. She could easily be a relative of Thomas, a relative of his wife, or step—daughter if Thomas married for a second time between 1830 and 1840. She could also be an unrelated individual living in the household. For now creating soap operas based upon girl 8 is not an effective use of research time.

There is a very remote possibility that girl 8 is a daughter—in—law of Thomas. However, given her age of between 10 and 15 years, this does not seem likely.

Other Sources?
The biography of Thomas Chaney indicates he had ten children who lived to adulthood: Abraham, Nancy Browning, Sarah Crow, Elizabeth Rampley, Rebecca Fletcher, Hagan[sic], Mary Perrin, Jane Howsare, Thomas, and William. The biography clearly lists six daughters (using the married names as an indication of their gender) and three sons. I have listed the children in this paragraph in the same order as they appear in the county biography. Based upon the census, the first and last child could easily have been boys. However, based upon the census, it does not look like the last two children were boys.

According to the census analysis, there were no boys born to Thomas between 1810 and 1815. A boy was born as late as 1810 and another was born as early as 1815. It's worthy of note that according to our analysis, two girls were born between 1810 and 1815. Elizabeth Chaney Rampley is known to have been born in 1804, which would put her in the first half of her father's children. My current thinking is that the children as listed in the biography are roughly in birth order.

Hagan?
I'm not sure about Hagan—who is either a son or an unmarried daughter. If the name is correct, it appears to be a male first name. If the reference is to a female, she was unmarried at the time of her father's biography, published nearly thirty years after his death and hence likely never married. I'm concerned that the name "Hagan" is not really correct. Books of county biographies, commonly referred to as "mug books" were not always proofread carefully. Jane's surname of "Howsare" appears to have really been Houser/Howser. It seems reasonable that other names may be incorrect as well.

If Hagan is a female then the gender of the children from the biography matches the census analysis perfectly. If she's a male, then there is a problem as the census indicates three boys and not four.

There's More . . .
Next week we continue the analysis with the will of Thomas Chaney and take a look at what the census had to say about his female companion.

 



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 e—mail him at: mailto:mneill@asc.csc.cc.il.us or visit his website at: www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.

Copyright 2002, MyFamily.com--used by the Author on his website with permission..

Thomas Chaney in the census articles and images