While it is possible for someone to be missed in the census, it is also possible for them to be counted twice. This can happen if the person is moving around the time of the census, has a job that requires them to live away from home for part of the week, or other reasons.

My grandmother is enumerated twice in the 1930 US census–once with her parents and once in the household where she was working as a hired girl. Her brother and his wife are enumerated twice as well–once in the town where they were from and had gotten married, and another time in a town thirty miles away where he had gone looking for work.



8 Responses

  1. Also don’t forget to check if the enumeration was disputed, and a second enumeration took place. In 1880 the St. Louis City, Missouri, city officials disputed the number of residents counted. Demanded a second count be taken. My great-grandfather’s brother was not in the household on the first enumeration, but did appear in the household for the second enumeration. Also the names (first and last) varied on the two censuses (i.e., Heinrich to Henry, Bernhard to Barnard).

  2. My grandmother was in the 1920 census twice. Once at her sister’s in Texas, and then with her husband in OK. Both times she has all her children with her.

  3. My husband’s great-grandfather’s family was enumerated twice in the 1910 Census at the same Boston address. Once on April 21st and again on April 27th. The 27 April one has “Supplemental” written across the top but the categories are all the same. The Census Taker is the same person. The wife’s occupation changes from washerwoman to none, the youngest daughter is listed by her middle name in one and her first name in the other, the wife can’t read or write in one and can in the next one and their last name is spelled two different ways. But it is definitely the same family at the same address. Just goes to show you that you need to take these with a grain of salt!

  4. I found one person three times in the census. She was an older widow lady who lived with her children. As it happened, she was enumerated at a different daughter’s home. When I checked the dates of each of those census, it appears that she lived about two weeks at each household before she went to the next.

  5. I had this same situation where an ancestor moved just in time to be enumerated in two places in the same county. And with the tendency for families to use the same fist names among all their descendants, I have had to make sure that these people who were counted twice in the same census were not first cousins!

  6. It’s so funny that you should post this now. I was just writing a blog post about a possible duplicate in my family. I was wondering if it was even possible for duplicates to occur. This really helps. Thank you!

  7. My paternal grandfather’s family was listed twice in the 1880, both times under the same names at the same address. However, between the June census and the November census, Great-grandpa knocked four years off his age and Great-grandma one year, making her the older. Also interesting—the children all became literate in those five months, including the 8-month-old baby. Knowing my family’s penchant for humor, I wonder if they were having a little fun at the census taker’s expense.

  8. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out if my g g grandfather’s brother was counted twice (different states) in 1860 census. Contributing to the mystery is the lack of detail in older census records. In one census the 26 year old man was with his father and my gg grandfather. In the other he is living with wife and a child. I know my record of him living with his father is correct because my g grandfather is in the same household at the time. The reason I’m pretty sure he is in two census records in 1860 is because I have a DNA match with a distant cousin who has traced their gg grandfather to my gg grand uncle in the other census record in the different state.

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