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04 May 2013

Don't Force the Household

In pre-1880 United States census records, the relationship of household members to the head of household is not given. The individuals living in a household may be husband, wife, and their children. Or it may be husband, wife, some of his children, some of her children, and some of theirs. Or it one of the youngsters in the household may be a nephew or niece.

Or it may be something else. Just do not always make the assumption that every pre-1880 household is a husband, wife, and their children. It may not be.


  1. Agreed - but it's a start. You use other documents to prove or disprove otherwise. Everything you find is a clue to new information.

  2. Agreed, also don't believe the relationships shown. In a 1900 census, my Grandfather had listed a child as a grandson. Turns out it was his 2nd wife's child, by a previous marrage. He had married her after his wife died. He had 9 children by the first wife and 3 by the second, the last being born when he was 72 and wife #2 was 43.