Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The 1900 Federal Census is my favorite....USUALLY!

Usually, the 1900 census is my favorite. It tells you lots of good stuff. The birth month and year for each individual, how many years they were married and how many total children were born and how many that are still living. I wish they would put all this information on every census! Why don’t they?
My fascination with my Moyer family began with researching my great great grandmother, Estella Irene Moyer. Estella was married to a gentleman by the name of Ard Church on 29 April 1900 and then in 1902 she married Owen Montgomery both in Grangeville, Idaho. This information was obtained from Idaho marriage certificates. Estella was born on 17 Feb 1883, according to her obituary. The first clue I had for her life was found on the 1900 census for Harpster, Idaho, and it states that Stella Myers is 18 at this time.

On this census she is listed with her father, John Myers and he is widowed. So I don’t know her mother’s name. The census states that John was born in Illinois August 1841. The last name on this document is Myers for the entire household. This was a huge question if I had the right family for a long time because on Estella’s marriage certificate her last name is Moyers. It will take several posts but I am convinced that anyone who follows my posts will also know that this is the correct family.
The next person listed on the census was Stella’s sister, Elisabeth, and then their other sister, Rebecca. All three have birthdates in November. November 1881, November 1883 and November 1884. And they were all born in Iowa. Estella’s obituary states that she was born in a place called McPaul, Iowa. This township is in Fremont county. I always have to keep in mind that there may be some errors in the giving of information because in Estella’s obituary, her birthday is stated as February 17, 1883.
The next six people listed on the census are John’s nephews and nieces from his brother, George “Coon” Myers. George died in a tragic accident in 1898 and now the children are living with their uncle and their grandparents. The siblings are Charles (age 16), Roy (age13), May (age 10), Girtie (age 4) and Ray (age 2). The census tells me that Charles and Roy were born in Iowa and May, Girtie and Roy were born in Washington. May was born in Oct 1889 and that would say that they came to Washington before that time. I’m also wondering if little Ray ever knew his father since he is born in the same year as the accident of his father.
The great thing about this census is that it gives me three generations! Estella is my great great grandmother and her father and her grandfather are on this census. George and Sarah Myers are listed next on this census. I get a sense that this family really sticks together in tragedy. John has lost his wife at some time and his three girls are helping with raising their cousins. Grandpa and Grandma are their too helping out and living in a very crowded home.
I have a theory. I have to wonder about the discrepancies on this census. We have to understand that the nephews and nieces on this census end up using the name Myers all of their lives. John and John’s children go by Moyer. George and Sarah start out by Moyer and then end up changing their name to Myers at some point and their youngest son uses that name too. The theory is that someone besides John or his daughters gave the information for this census. I feel pretty strongly about this especially because of the last name but also because the girl’s birthdays seem a little off. It seems odd that they were all born in November…..
The other thing that I feel like I have to throw in the mix, just for fun, is that Estella is also listed on the 1900 census with her new husband, Ard Church in Mt. Idaho, Idaho, Idaho. The census is dated June 6, 1900. The census with her father is dated July 20, 1900. Don’t you just love a good mystery? The enumerator is the same person on both census. Anyone want to throw out some of their own theories on this one? I would love it!

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