In thinking about how I use the various population censuses available, I am aware that I tend to collect census information early in my exploration of an ancestor but I also go back and look at them when I get stuck. Censuses serve the purpose of locating and tracking the whereabouts of an ancestor over time, and the later ones also provide an approximation of who the family members were. I often start a list of children in a family by the census.
One of my first thoughts was to write about the people I can’t find in a census who really just have to be there somewhere. I’ve written briefly about my mother-in-law as a 2 year old not appearing in the census she should be in. However, another person I’ve been focusing on recently is my ancestor Oliver Snow, who also is not in the last census he should be found in. Oliver lived into 1841, dying in Geauga County, Ohio, and he should be found, therefore, in the 1840 census. He does not appear by name, as a head of household, in the 1840 census but he was then 91 years old and his second wife had died several years before.
Since the 1840 censuses do not name any household members except the head of household, it is more difficult to look for Oliver. However, his advanced age should show up if he was living with any of his children, or even grandchildren. He was also a Revolutionary War veteran, however he did not claim a pension so far as I know. I learned recently that there is a second page to the 1840 census that shows if there were any pensioners for Revolutionary or military service in the household and asks for name and age. Presumably Oliver would not be listed there, however I have been making it a point to save that second page and to look at it for each of the 1840 households I am collecting.
I am in the middle of tracking all of Oliver’s children and then the grandchildren for the 1840 census. I want to know where they were living in 1840 as well as the household headcount. Oliver had two wives and 12 children (6 girls and 6 boys), 10 of whom, 6 female and 4 male, survived to adulthood (I think) and marriage. I am still trying to locate the last of his daughters, Lucina, who was born in 1798. I think I have marriages for the rest and know where they were living for the 1840 census. So far Oliver does not seem to be living with any of them. When I find Lucina if he was not with her I will continue tracking the grandchildren in the hope that he might have been with one of them. Although Oliver was the oldest child of his parents, I do not know that any of his siblings followed as far as Ohio so it is unlikely that he was living with any of them (assuming they were still alive). Since his children were born between 1775 and 1798, at least some of the grandchildren were adults and married with children by 1840. So there are still possible places Oliver might have been living and not counted as the head of household.