Early US Deaths in Years Ending in Zero

Sometimes a census record is all we have to indicate that an ancestor lived until a certain point in time and that enumeration is often used as a “last alive on” date. Whenever I see an unsourced death date of 1800, 1810, etc. for an ancestor in an online tree or any reference, I wonder:

did someone enter his death date as “after 1800” and did someone (or their software) strip the “after” from that date?

Several genealogists indicate that a relative died in 1800–no source. The last census in which he is recorded is 1800. While I don’t use these unsourced dates of death in my own records, I still wonder if there is any credence to the year of death they have. Did they find something that I have overlooked?

But when the year ends in a “0,” I really wonder if the “after” got stripped from the approximate date of death.


4 thoughts on “Early US Deaths in Years Ending in Zero

  1. Meredith

    I do the same thing for years ending in “5”. Both look a bit suspect until I can prove otherwise. Unless the tree in question actually has a reliable source, but the further back the date is, the less likely that is to happen.

  2. AnitaB

    A sad result of using this kind of a date is this: if a person has an Ancestry tree, and they copy this un-sourced date to their tree, it will prevent them from finding references to the person at a later date, which are actually available!

  3. Ellen

    It is also possible the person died in the census year, but after being recorded in the census. I used to know someone who did so in 2010. People are also born in census years, change jobs, re-locate, get married, etc.


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