The ability to merge sources (particularly census) into a tree at is really a nice one.

However, one must be careful not to indicate that a source says something it does not. The reasons are pretty obvious–but here’s an example with the names changed.

Thomas Smith was born in Harford County, Maryland, on 2 May 1865 and you have three primary sources to back it up. The 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 census all indicate he was born in Maryland. Let’s say that they all point to a year of birth of 1865

Yet if you aren’t careful when you tie the census record to his date and place of birth, you seemingly indicate that the census indicates he was born on 2 May 1865 in Harford County, Maryland. I’ve never seen a census between 1880 and 1920 that provides that specific of a place of birth.

Shouldn’t you create a “new” place/date of birth that is 1865 in Maryland and tie the census source to that?

Or am I just a stick in the mud?




2 Responses

  1. No, you are not a stick in the mud, but yes I HAVE seen full birth dates in the 1900 census. While going over the census return for my great great grandfather’s sister, I was puzzled by the numbers written next to the birth months of the people in her family. Then I recognized some of them – they were the actual day of the month these people were born, which I’d seen before in the city birth records! (Family of Mary and Jacob Boll in Dayton, Ohio.)
    I cannot recall having seen, however, the city of birth in a census return.

    • The date of birth in 1900 is interesting. I have seen city of birth in a few census enumerations, but mainly in urban areas where the person was born in the city in which the census was taken and that’s what was written.

      And thanks for letting me know I’m not a stick in the mud 😉

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