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lying to US Federal census.

lying to US Federal census.

Posted: 17 Jan 2013 7:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
i've only been at this type of research for a couple of years so please be kind.

i have a census where i believe the family lied about a member being there. the situation is pretty dicey and i think they are covering.

what i know:
in 1905 the mother X and daughter XX drop off a 4 year old granddaughter R, she is the daughter of K, K is another daughter of X and sister of XX. i have agency paperwork in hand, saying R's grandmother and aunt drop her off because K got married to a soldier and moved to midwest. K was 13 when R was born, she has just turned 16 when she marries, not the father of R.

i have all the right names X, XX, K in 1900 census plus family data as to ethnicity of family.

i have K with right husband in 1910 chicago.
the trouble is the K is also reportedly in her birth family in 1910, X, XX and another sister, with a new husband.

if this was a "normal family", i would take the presence of K in 1910 as disconfirming evidence and throw out my hypothesis of her birth family and keep looking.

but the family has good reason to be lying and covering up the now moved away daughter....

anyhow. how should i comment this on my tree?
possible family? keep looking? mystery?

how common is lying to census do people think?
are there places to read about the common errors one will see in census due to prevarication?

it's not the first time i've seen this. i've seen numbers of living children erased, birth dates fudged, Widow changed to Married for a missing husband. so how certain can we be of the census data?

rmwilliamsjr at gmail

Re: lying to US Federal census.

Posted: 17 Jan 2013 8:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
You can't be certain of census data. It all depends upon who provided the information, how questions were asked, and how truthful or knowledgeable the person was that provided the answers.

Re: lying to US Federal census.

Posted: 19 Jan 2013 4:22AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 19 Jan 2013 4:24AM GMT
I think most discrepancies on the census are accidental — due to uninformed respondents, language barriers, and census-taker error. But there are definitely cases in which people didn't tell the truth, for a range of reasons. One of my ancestors, a naturalized American citizen who had immigrated from Italy, sometimes told government officials (and her own children) that she was born in Kansas or Missouri. Who knows why — a desire to seem more American, nervousness, a fear of condemnation during World War II? Maybe all of the above.

I've also seen a few cases around the turn of the previous century where separated/divorced people living apart would list themselves as widowed on the census.
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