Genealogy Tip for today: Censuses have been around for a long time. Ancient history like those found in the Old Testament has recorded the use of census records. Its intent has been for the government to create a roll for taxation purposes. Nothing has changed even today.
What was discovered is the value – to some degree – of the recording of family groups. Although these cannot be considered legal documents proving lineage, they work well in showing parents and children together, especially after 1840. The information given to the census taker was only as good as the memory of the person giving it, and the person writing it down.
The 1850 census was the first “every name” census which listed the names of the wives and children, and other boarders under the roof of one house. They can and are used to supplement other records showing family members living together at a point in time.
The presence or absence of members helps clue you where people are or are not, alive, not yet born, or moved on, etc. Census records do a great job in affirming what is going on in the life of a given family or person. Even the ones previous to 1850 can still be of assistance even though they may not list the name of every person in the household.
Additional to people in the household, age, place of birth, marriage years, occupations and more are found on these censuses. They do vary from year to year as to what is on them. One census will ask for parents’ place of birth of everyone and another one will not.
The biggest handicap is the lack of the 1890 census which was lost to a fire. There are however, work-arounds to this situation. Many states had state censuses on the “5” year, e.g. 1885, 1895 and so forth. There is also a census of Civil War veterans or widows who are still alive. This came out about the same time as well.
There are several ways you can obtain census records. Genealogy websites have them. To my knowledge they all require subscriptions to their databases. Some libraries have Proquest in their databases. These require library cards. Some major libraries have the actual microfilm of the censuses, but it requires an on-site visit. The only one that I know of at this point that has free access is the Familysearch.org website. But their collection is not a complete set of records.
All in all, census records are a valuable tool and worth its caveats. It was census records where I began my research. You will quickly find them to be useful and well used in your research.
Today in History
1630 The town of Boston is founded by John Winthrop as an extension of the colony at Salem. It is named after the town of the same name in Lincolnshire, England.
1787 The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia approves the constitution for the United States of America.
1862 The Battle of Antietam in Maryland, the bloodiest day in U.S. history, commences. Fighting in the corn field, Bloody Lane and Burnside's Bridge rages all day as the Union and Confederate armies suffer a combined 26,293 casualties.
1868 The Battle of Beecher's Island begins, in which Major George "Sandy" Forsyth and 50 volunteers hold off 500 Sioux and Cheyenne in eastern Colorado.
1902 U.S. troops are sent to Panama to keep train lines open over the isthmus as Panamanian nationals struggle for independence from Colombia.
1903 Turks destroy the town of Kastoria in Bulgaria, killing 10,000 civilians.
1917 The German Army recaptures the Russian Port of Riga from Russian forces.
1939 With the German army already attacking western Poland, the Soviet Union launches an invasion of eastern Poland.
1942 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meets with Soviet Premier Josef Stalin in Moscow as the German Army rams into Stalingrad.
1944 British airborne troops parachute into Holland to capture the Arnhem bridge as part of Operation Market-Garden. The plan called for the airborne troops to be relieved by British troops, but they were left stranded and eventually surrendered to the Germans.
1947 James Forestall is sworn in as first the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
1957 The Thai army seizes power in Bangkok.
1959 The X-15 rocket plane makes its first flight.
1962 The first federal suit to end public school segregation is filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
1976 The Space Shuttle is unveiled to the public.
1978 Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David Accords.
1980 Nationwide independent trade union Solidarity established in Poland.
1983 Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America; relinquished crown early after scandal over nude photos.
2001 The New York Stock Exchange reopens for the first time since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers; longest period of closure since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
2006 Alaska's Fourpeaked Mountain erupts for the first time in at least 10,000 years.
2011 Occupy Wall Street movement calling for greater social and economic equality begins in New York City's Zuccotti Park, coining the phrase "We are the 99%."
1879 Andrew "Rube" Foster, father of the Negro baseball leagues.
1883 William Carlos Williams, poet, playwright, essayist and writer who won a Pulitzer prize for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems.
1907 Warren E. Burger, chief justice of the Supreme Court.
1923 Hank Williams, Sr., influential Country singer, songwriter and guitarist ("Lonesome Blues," "Your Cheatin' Heart".)
1947 Jeff MacNelly, political cartoonist, creator of the comic strip Shoe.
1948 John Ritter, actor, comedian (Three's Company TV series).
1953 Steve Williams, drummer and songwriter with influential Welch heavy metal group Budgie.
1953 Altaf Hussain, founder and leader of Pakistan's Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
1968 Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece.
Word for the Day:
1. A fanciful fabrication; illusion.
2. An organism having genetically different tissues.
After Chimera, a fire-breathing female monster in Greek mythology who had a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail. From Greek khimaira (she-goat), ultimately from the Indo-European root ghei- (winter), which is the ancestor of words such as chimera (literally a female animal that is one winter, or one year old), hibernate, and the Himalayas, from Sanskrit him (snow) + alaya (abode). Earliest documented use: 1382.
"The moonlight silvering the delicate trunks made this a vision of beauty, more chimera than reality."
P.D. James; Death Comes to Pemberley; Vintage; 2011.
Quote for the Day
Force without wisdom falls of its own weight. -Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BC)
Smashed Potatoes and Cream Cheese
• 2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes or baby Yukon gold potatoes
• 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
• 8 ounces plain cream cheese or veggie cream cheese, cut into pieces
• 10 chives or 2 scallions, chopped or snipped with kitchen scissors
• Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes until tender, 15 minutes. While the water boils and when the potatoes are cooking, start chunking your cream cheese, and cutting up your chives or scallions.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them and return them to the hot pot to let them dry out a bit. Mash potatoes with half-and-half or milk using a potato masher. Add in the cream cheese and smash until the cheese melts into the potatoes. Then add chives and scallions and season with salt and pepper, to your taste.
[Ed. Note: a large dollop of sour cream in this is also delicious and/or butter!]
Now You Know!