We got a kick out of the funny census listings Family Tree Magazine
readers submitted for the September 2007
All in the Family column. I wish we had enough space to print them all in the magazine.
But there's plenty of space here, so I offer these additional humorous census entries to brighten up your Friday (to submit ancestral look-alikes to the current All in the Family contest
, see the Talk to Us Forum
Madison P. Glenn was born in February 1869, in Van Wert County, Ohio. Madison was 4 months old when the census enumerator visited and marked column 5 (for sex) as F/M
Madison’s gender must have been a mystery to the parents Clark and Elizabeth Glenn, to my fourth-great-uncle and -aunt, or to the neighbor who might’ve helped complete the form. Since Madison isn’t listed in any later censuses, we never did find out how things developed.Cherie P. Bowers
My favorite census entry exhibits the creativity enumerators used when families weren't at home. I can't help but wonder, what if this family had had 10 children? What if they’d been Irish or Italian? What would the enumerator have come up with instead? From the 1889 Washington Territorial census:Name of Persons Nativity
Dutchman, Mr. Germany
------- , Mrs. "
------- , Little "
------- , Small "
------- , Smaller "
------- , Smallest "Lisa Oberg
Shoreline, Wash.Another gender-bender
My grandmother's family of nine siblings was known for playing jokes on each other. Once, my great-uncle Llewellyn Brown (born 1882) was lampooned in a formal manner. In the 1901 Canadian census, I found Loouella
instead of Llewellyn
. I thought it might've been a spelling error, but he was also listed as dtr
. My guess is Llewellyn’s sisters were less interested in the accuracy of the official census than in perpetuating another round of family humor.Marie Tovell Walker
Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaWas her mother named Goose?
The funniest name I've come across in the census is a woman named Bo Peep, listed in the 1910 census of Harrison County, WV, with her husband Lee Maxwell. I did a little further research and sure enough, there she was in a West Virginia marriage index: Bo Peep K. Smith. Her husband was a farmer; I wonder if he raised sheep?Maggie DeFazio