Over the holiday weekend I spent some time researching my 3d great grandparents on my father’s side, Henry Clay McEuen (1823-1894) and his wife Elizabeth Baker McEuen (1829-1917). They lived their lives in Kentucky.
Henry and Elizabeth had 14 children, the eldest of whom was my great great grandmother, Henrietta McEuen Adams (1847-1902). As part of checking my sources, I was looking at Source 22, the 1880 federal census entry for Henrietta and her husband George Washington Adams (1845-1938) in Rumsey, Kentucky.
The entry for George and Henrietta spanned two pages. When I was looking at the second page, I noticed that Henrietta’s parents were on that page. They were living with nine of their children, along with four grandchildren and Elizabeth’s mother–a four-generation household. I went to add that source to their record in Reunion and saw that I already had a (different) source for them for the 1880 census. I figured I’d duplicated the same source and was surprised to see it was a separate enumeration, on a different date, in a different town. In this second enumeration, the youngest five of their children were with them. The names and ages all matched. It was clear to me that it was the same family.
I did a little googling and discovered that being counted twice isn’t that unusual. The census is supposed to reflect the state of a household as of the census date (which in 1880 was 1 June). But clearly, in the case of this family, it reflected the household on the days the enumerator knocked on the door. I suspect that’s not unusual.
On the first enumeration, on 11 June 1880, in Rumsey, McLean, Kentucky, Henry is listed as 55 years old and a farmer. In the second enumeration, on 29 June 1880, in Sacramento, McLean Kentucky (10 miles away on today’s roads), Henry is listed as 56 years old and a “tobacco speculator” (or at least that’s what I think it says–let me know if you think otherwise when you look at the photo above). A quick look at Henry’s birth date revealed that he was in fact a year older–he celebrated a birthday on 28 June, the day before the second enumeration.
I’m speculating that some time between 11 June and 29 June, Henry and Elizabeth (or Betty, as she was known), packed up their five children under 20 and moved to Sacramento. They left behind the four older children who had lived with them, including Lucretia, a widow, and her four kids, along with Betty’s mother, Mahala Baker. Henrietta and George lived nearby.
I wonder what prompted the couple to move away from five of their kids and her mother. Perhaps Sacramento was a better place to be a tobacco speculator, or perhaps Henry had not bought land yet, so couldn’t call himself a farmer. I look forward to trying to dig into this a little more to see why the family might have moved.
It’s really fun to me how a single discovery like this–a family being counted twice on a census–can lead to further hypotheses and discoveries. If they’d moved in May or July, rather than June, I wouldn’t have had this level of detail to go on.
I love playing detective and I’m grateful to Henry and Betty for providing so many clues!