Most of us have asked someone a question or said something to someone only to have their response to us make it clear that they did not understand what we said.

Is that why your relative gave “off-the-wall” answers to the census taker, records clerk, etc.?

A person’s difficulty in understanding the question can be compounded by age, hearing difficulties, cognitive abilities, native language, etc. Do not assume that your relative really understood what they were being asked.



One response

  1. I think it was sometimes the census taker who did not understand. I searched for years for Dad’s greatgrandfather, who immigrated from France. I finally found him on the 1900 census in Marion, Phillips, Arkansas. Thankfully this is one of the census that did list immigration year and place of birth. He immigrated from France, as a child with his parents, in 1850. Although we know his name was Jean Paul Martin, he was listed as JP Martin and his wife as MM. Since all other names on the page are spelled out, I can only think the census taker was not able to understand his accent.

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