|1850 Federal Census, Will County, IL|
So this is the correct family. Next I look at the family group. Notice how the children are listed from oldest to youngest, with the exception of Jenny. She should have been 17 years old in this census. If she were 17, you would have a nice grouping of children meeting the ‘every other year’ rhythm that so often is seen in families. So I think I’ll chalk this mystery up as solved – the census taker recorded the wrong age for Jane.
|1860 Federal Census, Cook County, IL|
|1870 Federal Census, Cook County, IL|
The 1880 census really is an amazing piece of work. In 1880 the census taker was required to ask the relationship to the head of household, for all of the individuals living in the household. So if Merritt is still living in the household, his relationship to the head of household should be listed. Well it is, sort of. This is the household of Josiah Browne in 1880. I’m still scratching my head over this one. It appears that Josiah has a boarding house. It also appears like there are quite a few individuals living there that work in the boarding house. You have boarders, maids, laundry girls, a cook, etc.
|1880 Federal Census, Cook County, IL|
All of this from a letter written over a hundred years ago...