State & National Census Reports are filled with information for genealogists. Both the population & nonpopulation schedules give us insights into the lives of our ancestors. What have you found that is Surprising? Reassuring? Bewildering?
I am helping a good friend trace her family, hopefully across the Atlantic to Ireland & Germany. Naturally, we are starting here, gathering as much information as we can before stepping further back in time.
Fortunately my friend lives in the same county where her family has lived for over 150 years; Rensselaer County, New York. She knows the cemeteries and the stones and has remembered some stories. We wrote down the names & dates she already knew and began to uncover more.
When we looked at her Meissner family we turned to the census records on ancestry.com. Census records are a good place to begin and she knew her family had lived in Troy, New York for generations. However, we could not find them. It makes no sense.
We tried city directories and easily found the Meissner family, beginning 1875 and extending for over fifty years. In 1875 Henry Meissner was a cigar maker. In 1883 Henry Jr. joined him as a clerk. In 1889 there were Meissners as saloon keepers, cigar makers and clerks all in Troy. They were there in 1900 when Theresa, widow of Henry, appears; in 1910 when eight Meissners are listed, including two widows; and in 1919 when only three Meissners are included.
1899 Troy City Directory Page 236
Why, then, aren’t these people in the US Census reports or the New York State Census reports? We did find a 1910 report for Margaret Meissner and her three children. However, there should be reports for every year beginning 1880. Maybe I mentioned this before but it makes no sense.