Saturday, February 3, 2018

Making Sense of the Census-Finding Nancy and Helen

Are you having trouble finding people in the census when doing a search on ancestry, familysearch or other genealogy content providers? 
Sometimes, you need to be thinking creatively  with how you search and when viewing the results when they pop up.

My great grandfather Jubal Ransom Early (1888-1964) was an interesting man. So far, I have discovered three marriages and several childen during his lifetime. Divorce wasn't legal at the time so it's likely he just walked away and started over with each new family.

Looking for Jubal in the 1910 and 1920 census of both North and South Carolina has not been successful. I have tried all the tricks. Using just his first hame, his last name, initials, birth date,and also looking for all the Earlys in a county and state. Nothing. 
In 1915 and 1916 he had children with Nancy Horton Early (1892-?) in Iredell County, North Carolina. One of those, a son died in 1916. 
In the 1930 census, Nancy and daughter Helen (1916-1971) were in Greensville, South Carolina where Nancy is listed as a widow although Jubal didn't die until 1964. This was a common practice expecially in states where divorce was not legal. Many woman claimed to be widows after their husbands left them.

Not finding Jubal-you'd think I would with a name like his- I changed my search to try to locate wife Nancy and daughter Helen hoping he was with them. 
No hits in the areas the family was from came up. Where was this family? I decided to expand the search into other areas.

Then I noticed a curious entry.

Could this be Nancy and Helen? 

1920 U.S. Census Lee County, SC, population schedule, Mt. Clio Township, Enumeration District ED 20, p.4 B (penned), dwelling 78, family 80, Nancy Early, digital images, Ancestry ( 21 Jan. 2018); from National Archives microfilm publication T623 roll 1524

I believe it is them. The ages match up even though the location is not where I would expect them to be. Why was Nancy living in Lee County, SC? She is listed as married so where is Jubal?
Then I realized.  Jubal was most likely next door in Sumter County, where he met my great grandmother! This was 1920 and my grandmother was born the same year! He's doesn't appear on the census of that county, but he obviously was there at some point. 
So, did he have his wife and daugter boarding in the next county while he was courting my great grandmother? It appears so. The cad.  

Where exactly was Jubal while the census was taken in 1910 and 1920? That's a question that still needs to be answered. Hopefully more creative searching can find him.

Do you have people you can't find in the census. Making sense of what the search engines bring up sometimes take creativity and thinking outside of the box.

It helped me find Nancy and Helen. Who has it helped you find?

This post was written for #52 Ancestors from Amy Johnson Crow. Week 5-In the Census.

Thanks for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,


  1. Nancy was indexed as Nana but that is definitely a Y at the end of her name - look at the loop over “Helen.”