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17 April 2013

Census: Research family relationships, part 4

1868 marriage application. Illinois, Will, Lockport. John Shuler and Lena Baumgarten

This series of articles demonstrates how to research family relationships from the digital U.S. population schedule census records. The further back the researcher traces the family, the more difficult it is to verify information. The 1870, 1860, and 1850 U.S. population schedule censuses are the first to offer individual household member’s names, ages, occupations, and birthplaces. These census years may provide relationship clues only. The relationship to the head of the house is NOT given!

All of the research techniques from part 1 of this series have been used in this last research project. Using the Schuler family as an example, the family historian would print out the index sheets and digital census sheets from 1870 back to 1850. The index search on and is restricted to the location of Lockport, Illinois and the surname Sch??ler or Sh??ler. In this project, location is more important than exact name spelling.
The 1870 index results:
  • John Schoeler, 28, Quarry hand, lives in a boarding house, born Prussia
  • Caroline Schoeler, 19, servant, lives with a private family, born Illinois
Enumerated together:
  • Ann Schoeler, 47, keeping house, born Switzerland
  • Jacob Burly, 55, ship carpenter, born New York
  • Charles Schoeler, 22, canal teamster, born Illinois
Enumerated above Ann Schoeler:
  • John Schaler [Schoeler], 28, canal captain, born Illinois
  • Magdalena Schaler, 27, keeping house, born Oldenburg
  • Henrietta Baumgartner, 58, born Oldenburg
  • Maria Baumgartner, 19, born Oldenburg
  • Julius Baumgartner, 17, born Oldenburg
1860 index results:
  • Eliza Shuler, 17, servant, lives with a private family, born Illinois
Enumerated together:
  • Ann Shuler, 41, keeping house, born Switzerland
  • John Shuler, 18, born Illinois
  • Elizabeth Shuler, 16, born Illinois
  • Charles Shuler, 14, born Illinois
  • Mary Shuler, 12, born Illinois
  • Caroline Shuler, 10, born Illinois
  • Agnes Shuler, 7, born Illinois
  • Stephen Shuler, 1, born Illinois
1850 index results:
Enumerated together:
  • John Shuler, 35, laborer, born Germany
  • Eufen Shuler, 31, born Germany
  • John Shuler, 8, born Illinois
  • Eliza Shuler, 7, born Illinois
  • Charles Shuler, 4, born Illinois
  • Mary A. Shuler, 2, born Illinois
The project will include comparing the Schuler name and all variations in Lockport, Illinois between the years of 1870 back to 1850 at the same time while looking for any similarities such as birth year, place, or occupation.
According to the census records of 1880, 1900, and 1910, John was born between 1839 and 1842. Starting with the 1870 records, separate John Schoeler the quarry worker born in Prussia from John Shaler the canal captain born in Illinois. The 1880, 1900, and 1910 census records list his occupation as teamster born in Illinois; not an exact match. The marriage license between John Shuler and Lena Baumgartner dated 1868 provides the link for John Shaler and Magdalena Shaler in 1870.
In 1860 and 1850, one abode carries the name Shuler. Four given names are carried from 1850 to 1860. Remember, the census records do NOT offer relationships, only clues. According to family research of other documents such as marriage license, baptismal records, newspaper clippings, and land records, the Schuler family in Lockport, Illinois is:
  • John Schuler, born about 1815, native language German
  • Anna, wife, born about 1819, native language German
  • John, son, born about 1840 in Illinois
  • Elizabeth, daughter, born about 1842 in Illinois
  • Charles Henry, son, born about 1845 in Illinois
  • Mary Ann, daughter, born about 1848 in Illinois
  • Caroline, daughter, born about 1850 in Illinois
  • Agnes, daughter, born about 1852 in Illinois
Without marriage certificates, written family documents, and oral tradition, the family relationships would NOT have been identified from the 1870, 1860, or 1850 census.
Other questions:
  • Who in 1870 is John Schoeler, quarry worker?
  • Is Caroline in 1860 and 1870 the same person?
  • Who is the Eliza in 1860?
  • Who is Stephen in 1860?
Census records offer hints or clues not absolute facts.
For comments and questions, please contact Selma Blackmon.

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