Sometimes it is difficult to tell where the wrong information a census record ends and the correct information begins. This 1860 census enumeration for the household of Conrad Haase in Hancock County, Illinois’ Walker Township is an excellent example.
Francis and Louisa were actually Francis and Louisa Bieger, children of Barbara Haase by her first husband who died in 1855. It is not unusual for children to be enumerated in a census with the last name of their step-father, but it’s still an item that is not correct.
Francis’ age is listed as twelve, but she would have been nine as of the date of the census. It’s not a significant error, but it is an error.
More problematic is the place of birth for the children enumerated in the household. All of them were born in Illinois, based on guardianship records for the oldest two and the date and place of Barbara and Conrad’s April 1859 marriage in Hancock County, Illinois, for the Lena’s place of birth (it’s doubtful she returned to Germany just to have the baby).
Because of those errors, one has to wonder what other errors are possible in the enumeration?
Did the census taker assume all the females were born in the same place–the place of birth for the father? Is it possible that Barbara’s place of birth was somewhere in Germany other than “Hesse Cassel?”
The reason for the concern is Phillip Pipher.
The twenty-six year old Bavarian is listed as a cooper. He does not appear with the Haases in any other census enumerations.
Why is he living with the Haases?
I’m not certain, but what is coincidental is that Barbara’s maiden name was Siefert. Just saying the names Philip Pipher and Philip Siefert over and over makes one realize that they don’t sound all that different, especially to an untrained ear or to someone writing up a “good copy” of the census to be sent as the final copy. It is reasonable that he is a relative of Barbara. This would not be as plausible if all the places of birth were correct, but it’s already clear that at least three of them are incorrect.
Is it possible that one more is?
Boarders and others living with relatives in a census enumeration should usually be researched further (unless your ancestor ran a rooming house in which case it probably isn’t necessary). In this situation, given the potential relationship between Philip and the others in the household, it’s especially warranted.