“Left By Mistake” Becomes an Unaged Human

Always look at the original.

The Ancestry.com  transcription for the Jjohnson-1940soseph W. Johnson household indicated there was an unnamed, unaged Johnson living in the household. Having located the family’s entry at 1122 1/ 6th Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois, before the 1940 census was even indexed the transcription intrigued me.

I knew Beverly was the youngest child, did not think there were any others after her who “died young” and knew that the Johnson couldn’t be Joseph’s mother (she was dead) or Joseph’s father (living on his farm approximately 30 miles away).

A quick look at the actual item explained the “discrepancy.”

There was no unnamed Johnson in the Joseph W. Johnson household.

The line after the eight-year old Beverly Ann Johnson?

The census taker made it clear what the intent was: “Left by mistake.”

How on earth could the transcriber at Ancestry.com read that as another individual in the household?  That, Dear readers is a question for another day.



2 thoughts on ““Left By Mistake” Becomes an Unaged Human

  1. Interesting, Michael.
    The FamilySearch volunteer indexers got it correct. And gave a different spelling for Leland.
    Aren’t many of Ancestry’s databases indexed overseas? I’ve seen some very strange spellings given by indexers for even common American names.

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