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16 August 2014

Did Your Relative Do Time?

A stint in prison can explain why your ancestor is not enumerated with his family in the census. Court records or newspapers may contain additional details about why your ancestor landed in prison. State prisons (or the state archives) may have additional records. And, it is also possible your relative ended up divorced over his incarceration--resulting in more records.


  1. Curious now. Were prisoners enumerated on the federal census records?

    1. They should be enumerated in the institution in which they were housed.

  2. My grandfather was enumerated in the 1940 census in two locations 8 days apart. On April 2nd, he was enumerated in the Passaic County, New Jersey, jail. On April 10th, he was enumerated back home in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Had I not happened upon the first record, I would not known to have checked for jail records (which I found) and a newspaper article of the event that got him into jail. Thank goodness that one or both of the census enumerators did not follow the instructions of using only those in residence on April 1st. This was a big find.