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21 July 2012

Who is Stephen Shuler in the 1860 U.S. census?

In the 1860 U.S. population schedule census, Stephen Shuler is enumerated with Ann Shuler. Who is Stephen Shuler? The census is for Lockport, Will County, Illinois. Stephen would have been born about 1859. During past interviews with family members, no one remembers an infant named Stephen.

The 1850, 1860, and 1870 U.S. censuses are relationship clues only. They do NOT state the relationship to the head of the house as found in future censuses. From the census page it is impossible to state that the seven names below Ann Shuler are her children. Other documents offer relationship information that John, Elizabeth, Charles, Mary, Caroline, and Agnes are her descendents. But, who is Stephen?

Several possibilities:
  • ·         Stephen died as an infant. Infant graves have been found, but none are unaccounted.
  • ·         In 1870, Stephen Kirchner lived in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The Kirchner surname pops up while researching collateral kin. Could this be a relative visiting the home?
  • ·         Eunice Gooding, 43, was enumerated next to Ann Shuler, 41, they be neighbors and friends? The Schuler property on Madison Street, Lockport, was originally owned by Gooding. This researcher has linked a Stephen Gooding to the Lockport family. Could this be the neighbor child playing next door at the Shuler home?
  • ·         Remember, Ann’s native language is German. She may not have understood the enumerator’s question.

The answer to this question is very elusive. But as a researcher, I must NOT jump to conclusions and say that Stephen is the son of Ann. For further census research suggestions, read How to research family relationships from census records, part 4. The four articles on demonstrate how to construct families using digital census records. My Schuler family is the example.