Saturday, October 24, 2015

1860 Census Can Reveal Country of Origin

I am participating in the DearMyrtle study group called Tracing Immigrant Origins - Passenger Records Study Group.

The 1860 census revealed more detail in the place of birth than more recent census records. Here is the census for my husband's family, Ludwig & Philapena Wollenweber in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.[1]

1860 Jefferson Co, Kentucky census, pop. sched., 2nd Ward Louisville, p 563-64, dwelling 1970, fam 3256, L.W. Wollenweber household, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Jul 2010), citing U.S. National Archives and Records Administration M653, roll 375.
What can be seen on this census for the place of birth are the actual countries. At this time, Germany is not yet a country by the name of Germany, but rather, many small countries and principalities, such as Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Saxony, and Hessen.

I wondered about the instructions for the census enumerator and found the instructions for recording the place of birth.[2]  They were not to put “Germany” unless “no better could be had.” They were to put down the specific state. And this helps us narrow down the place of origin of our ancestors. It’s still not the village town, but it does help.


United States, Department of the Interior, Census Office, Eighth Census, U.S. Instructions,  https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1860instructions.pdf  : accessed 24 Oct 2015, p. 16.



[1] 1860 Jefferson Co, Kentucky census, pop. sched., 2nd Ward Louisville, p 563-64, dwelling 1970, fam 3256, L.W. Wollenweber household, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Jul 2010), citing U.S. National Archives and Records Administration M653, roll 375.
[2] United States, Department of the Interior, Census Office, Eighth Census, U.S. Instructions,  https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1860instructions.pdf  : accessed 24 Oct 2015, p. 16.


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