Sunday, May 6, 2012

Special Censuses

     The U.S. Federal Census is taken every ten years.  The first census was back in 1790.  If I had any ancestors in that first census, I have no idea who they were.
     There were also some state censuses.  I found my maternal great-grandmother, Josephine Duper and her parents in the 1905 New York State Census.  I don't know why Josie was listed with her parents when I'm sure she was still in the deaf school that she attended in 1900 and 1910 (according to the U.S. Federal Census).  I did not find see the 1915 NY State Census and by the 1920 census she was married with two young children.
     Josie's husband, Samuel was not deaf but his parents Daniel and Flora Davis were.  Josie was struck with Scarlett Fever at a very young age and was in a deaf school by the age of 5.  I don't have any information about Josie's mother-in-law, Flora but I have two records for Daniel.  I first learned of Flora's father-in-law's deafness from the 1870 U.S. Federal Census which stated that he was 'deaf and dumb'.  I stumbled upon another census quite by accident which provided a bit more information about my 2nd great-grandfather.  I found the U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes which stated that Daniel Davis lost his hearing due to 'Brain Fever' at the age of 7 and was a student of a deaf school for 8 years.
     I recently discovered another type of census which provided interesting information.  The U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives 1888-1895 has contradicting information than what I already had.  This record had Daniel's date of birth as Jan. 1, 1859 yet I had 1860.  My 2nd great-grandfather answered these questions so he should know and provide the correct answers.

  Sec II, Questions To Be Answered By Husband

question 4:
Are you deaf or hearing?  D
If deaf, Age when deafness occurred?  5
Cause of deafness?  Brain fever
Residence when admitted?  Milton, Ulster Co, NY
Year when admitted?  1869  Age when admitted?  10
     I was a little bothered by the answers that I saw in this latest census I found regarding the deaf family marriages and hearing relatives.  This particular census states that deafness occurred at the age of 5 yet the other special census - the 1880 Schedules for Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent classes has the age of 7.  The census about deaf families states that Daniel was 10 years old when he was admitted to an institution in 1869 and the other census states that the length of time in institution is 8 years and he left in 1878.  These dates are off by a year.  I saw censuses that showed Daniel's birth as 'abt' 1859, the 1930 census as 'abt' 1860 and the 1900 census shows Jan. 1860.  Although this special deaf family marriage census had Daniel's birthday as Jan. 1, 1859, I will go by the year 1860.  The 1910 census has Jan 1860 and his death certificate shows 1860.  My 2nd great-grandfather might have answered the questions but I don't think that he actually wrote the answers.  The last page is dated then signed by a third party. 
     This census on deaf family marriages has questions for the husband to answer followed by the wife's answers.  The wife did not fill out her section.  So, how do I know that this census is for my 2nd great-grandfather>  His name was Daniel J. Davis with father Wm H and mother Emily. His place of residence was Milton, NY and date of birth Jan. 1, 1859 (or 1860).  This has to be my Daniel because how many Daniel J. Davises could there be with the same birth date, parents, town and deafness caused by brain fever?  The only information in the wife's section that was filled out was 'D' for the 'Are you deaf or hearing' question.  On this same page was written "wife placed in the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane at Poughkeepsie,NY".  Is that why section III (questions to be answered by the wife) was not filled out?  An Insane Asylum?  I'll have to devote a separate blog post for that.
     You never know what tidbits of information you'll find in any of the records you look at.

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