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Bizzare Entries You Would Never Expect to See in the U.S. Census

We are currently offering free access to all MyHeritage U.S. census records until April 12! Don’t miss this opportunity to explore this invaluable collection. Click here to start perusing it.

Back in the days before censuses could be taken online or by mail, the U.S. census was conducted by enumerators who went door-to-door. These individuals were normally recruited from the local village or town.

Taking the census was probably a fairly tedious and repetitive task. So we imagine that unusual and funny census answers — such as the ones our research team gathered below — provided some welcome amusement among all the drudgery.

Here are some funny entries we found:

Catherine “does as she pleases”

In the 1880 census, a 15-year-old girl named Catherine Cudney had “does as she pleases” listed as her occupation:

Apparently, her 4 younger siblings were just “at home” and did not “do as they pleased” like Catherine!

Our research team traced Catherine through subsequent censuses to find out what became of her. The 1900 census finds Catherine at age 35, married to a man named William Bobb and raising 6 children. No occupation is listed for her in that census. 30 years later, In the 1930 census, she’s a proprietor in the rooming house industry, working on her own account. Finally, in the 1940 census, she has no occupation listed.

We hope she continued to do as she pleased for the rest of her days.

Napoleon Waterloo

We’re not sure exactly what meaning Napoleon Waterloo’s parents were going for when they named him, but yes, it turns out that there was an individual of that name listed in the 1920 census at 7 years of age.

According to the census, his father was born in Luxembourg and his mother in Germany.

We found him in a yearbook from the Evanston Township High School in 1930:

It appears that, as befits an individual with a name like Napoleon, he fought in World War II.

According to his gravestone, Napoleon finally “met his Waterloo” in May 1957.

Patrick is a “worthless drinker”

Patrick Leary, born circa 1840, is listed as a “worthless drinker” in the 1880 census.

We can assume this unflattering description was provided by Mary Leary, who is listed as the head of the household. It appears that Patrick was a family member of her husband’s.

The loafer and the blowhard

Whoever took the Kansas State Census of the Salina Gypsum Township in 1875 must have had some fun.

Job Law, 27, is listed as a “loafer.”

James Coleman, the 55-year-old head of a household, is listed as a “blow hard.”

It’s not clear whether these descriptions were suggested by the residents themselves, or stand as a testament to the enumerator’s opinions of the individuals in question. Either way, they were fun to come across!

The post Bizzare Entries You Would Never Expect to See in the U.S. Census appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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