Anything Can Be Wrong

This 1920 census enumeration contains significant errors. The husband and wife were not married and he was not the father of her children. The “wife” was not divorced from the father of these children until 1921 and she did not marry the man shown here until 1922.

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7 thoughts on “Anything Can Be Wrong

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      The children were never adopted by this husband and they either told the censustaker they were one family or he just assumed.

      Reply
  1. Sharon

    Censuses are notoriously wrong. The only thing they really show is where someone is living at the time the census taker visits. And even that can be wrong. I have a number of different family members listed in two different locations in the same census. Usually it is a child who shows up in two different households, perhaps as a servant in one and a son or daughter in the other. But I also have a wife listed both in the husbands household and as a married woman living 2 hundred miles away in a boarding house by herself and working as a nurse. There is no doubt it is the same person. They divorced some years later.

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  2. Karen Tomblin

    I have found that you have a much better chance of getting correct information about family connections in a small town, where the census taker usually knew the people. I personally never trust a census.
    The 1940 census that says my Great Grandmother was the informant and she was born in Washington, when she was actually born in Arizona and was very proud of it. I’m pretty sure the census taker was the one who was wrong there not the informant.

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  3. Lyn

    In the 1940 Census my paternal grandfather was listed on the farm with his wife and her mother, and then crossed out. I know he was away from home at the time and working for the WPA — but haven’t been able to find him anywhere else in the 1940 Census though I know where he was from letters he wrote.

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