52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 5 prompt: In the Census.
In the Census: the first thing that pops into my head with that prompt is, In the Census there is TONS of data. (Censuses are veritable gold mines for genealogists.) But if you research ancestry, you already know that. So, let’s see — rather than try to dig up things census-y that readers may not know, I’m going to tackle this prompt in a hands-on way.
Opening my Ancestry.com message box, an unread message pops up from a Gayle O. dated Jan 22, 2018:
“I am totally new to Ancestry, so am not really sure what I am doing yet, but I am looking for information on my grandfather, Elmer Elsworth Kitchen. He was born in 1886 and died in 1937. He was a resident of Clark County, IL. He seems to be very much a mystery man. I can’t find anyone in the family that can give me any information and he was never talked about that I can remember as a child.”
Okeydokey. The name doesn’t ring a bell but, I look Elmer up in my database and see that my 1st cousin 3x removed Sarah E. FASIG (1869 USA–1956 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois) married an “Elmer E. Kitchen,” and, he died in 1937. But — they were married in 1886… Could Gayle have her grandfather’s birthdate wrong, or, is her Elmer Ellsworth perhaps my Sarah & Elmer’s son??
I message her back,
“Gayle, is that 1886 birth date for certain? Also, what was your grandmother’s / Elmer’s wife’s, name?”
Meanwhile, I search the 1900 U.S. Federal Census — closest census following an 1886 birth — in Clark County, Illinois, for “Elmer Ellsworth Kitchen,” born 1886 give or take 10 years, the widest berth given at Ancestry.com. [Hint: Search U.S. Federal Censuses for free at FamilySearch.org.] The closest match is an Edward, age 12, so, born about 1888. Nope; no go. I next search under first initial “E.” only. Same solitary Edward pull. So I try a search of “E. Kitchen” with a birthdate of 1866, using again, a 10-year span, and up comes “Elmer E Kitchens” born Nov., 1866, wife “Sarah E.,” in Martinsville, Clark, Illinois. (Using an 1876 birthdate gives me both of the previous two pulls.)
I feel just certain now, Gayle & I share the same Kitchens, but, I need more for “proof.” Up pops another message reply from Gayle:
“I have Elmer born in 1866. He was the son of George Kitchen and Emmaline Clark Kitchen. He married Sarah Fasig on Feb. 7, 1892 in Toledo, IL. Sarah’s parents were William…and Susanna Friedline Fasig. Hope this helps!”
And of course, it does, as I now know that her Elmer is my Elmer.
Illinois State Marriage Records — free to search online — already told me that Elmer & Sarah married Feb. 7, 1892, in Coles County, Illinois1: [Groom]KITCHEN, Elmer [Bride]FASIG, Sarah E. [Date]1892-02-07 [Volume](This field blank) [Page]80 [Lic No.](Also blank) [County]Coles.” (I’m not even going to pause at Gayle’s “Toleda, Ohio” marriage place… We have our man.)
Now: what can we learn about this gentleman from censuses alone?
The 1900 U.S. Federal Census being the first after Elmer & Sarah marry, I decide to start with that. The household is composed of:
Elmer E Kitchens . . age 33, born Nov 1866 in Illinois; occupation, farmer; his home, rented; his father’s birthplace, Ohio; mother’s, Indiana
Sarah E Kitchens . . age 30, born July 1869 Illinois
Luther O Kitchens . .age 6 (Son) May 1894 Illinois
Elsie A Kitchens . . . age 4 (Daughter) May 1896 Illinois
William Fasig . . . . . age 79 Apr 1821 Pennsylvania
Mary S Fasig . . . . . age 32 May 1868 Ohio; occupation, house keeper
Seventy-nine-year-old William is Sarah’s widowed father. Mary S. Fasig, one of Sarah’s three older sisters (although that middle initial “S” was mistranscribed: it’s in actuality an “L,” and, I know from past research that it stands for, “Lucinda”). Mary is single here. All of the adults in the household can read & write.
The 1900 U.S. Federal Census is wonderful in that it gives the month of individuals’ births instead of just the estimated year. (The year given is often off by one, but the month, rarely inaccurate in my experience.) This census also tells us how many children a woman has had at that point and, how many of those are yet living. In Sarah’s case, she’s had three children; one has died.
Now let’s skip back to an earlier Census when Elmer lived yet with his parents: 1870. The household is composed of:
George Kitchen . . . . age 32; born abt 1838 New Jersey; occupation, farmer
Emaline Kitchen . . . .age 27; abt 1843 Indiana; keeping house
Ellsworth Kitchen . . .age 4; abt 1866 Illinois
Clara Kitchen . . . . . .age 2; abt 1868 Illinois
Living next door to George & Emaline is 59-year-old “Julia Kitchen;” five will get you ten she is George’s mother / Elmer’s paternal grandmother, and, the four other Kitchens in the household ranging in age from 16 to 36, George’s siblings, but, we won’t explore that here. Just a note, though: in the 1800s, one very commonly finds family households if not adjacent to, at least, quite close to one another.
While this is just a start on researching Elmer Ellsworth Kitchen(s), we’ve got quite a good picture already, from a mere two censuses — not bad…
1 “Office of the Illinois Secretary of State,” “Departments,” “Illinois State Archives,” “Databases,” “Illinois Statewide Vital Records Databases,” “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900,” at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases/marriage.html . CyberDriveIllinois.com: love it.
2 FindAGrave.com, “Elmer Kitchen,” Memorial ID 22187985, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22187985 , accessed Feb., 2018. Photo contributed to FindAGrave by Jeffrey Winnett.