In Pre-1850 US Census Records, the Head of Household…

In pre-1850 US census records (1840 and before), the oldest individual in the household may not be the person named as the head of household. The oldest person may be an aging parent or older relative and not the individual who is named as the family’s head.

If a person “ages thirty years” between the 1830 and 1840 census, it’s very possible that the “older person” in 1840 is a parent or older relative who has moved in.

Never assume the head of household has to be the oldest person in the home.


4 thoughts on “In Pre-1850 US Census Records, the Head of Household…

  1. Doris Wheeler

    Good advice. There were two enumerations in 1870 in New York. The first one, done in June, shows H of H as Francis with his family. The second, in December, shows his oldest son as H of H with Francis and family as residents. There was quite different information between the two.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      That’s a good reminder. If I remember correctly there was at least one other urban location that had a “redo” of the 1870 census.


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