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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Source Document - Maxwell 1860 U.S. Census

As you can imagine, searching for ancestors in a census can be challenging sometimes.  It is handy when "pushes" the documents to you via their "hint" system.  I have a wealth of source documents that are attached to my ancestors because of this. also "pushes" documents that aren't actually relatives too.   You've definitely got to be on your toes to weed through the "mess" (for lack of a better word).

On the flip side, it can be very difficult to locate relatives as I found in trying to find Patrick Flanagan in Napa, CA.  His census information was filed under Polk Flanigan.  This reflects poor transcribing of "Patk" and further of that into Polk.  Well, I recently found something similar with my Maxwell's in 1860 Schuyler, New York.

The transcriber entered the Maxwell name (which is fairly easy to to read on the census form if you ask me) as Markwell.  Just that one typo forced me into a very lengthy search for my Maxwell's in 1860 Schuyler, NY.  See below and more commentary to follow:

To find this document, I had to narrow down the location of my Maxwell's in 1860.  I new with certainty that they were living in the Newport, New York area near the Irish Settlement.  I also knew with my research that their family farm was not probably in Newport but in the neighboring town of Schuyler.  I pulled the 1860 U.S. Census pages for Schuyler.  There were over 20 pages worth.  I went page by page and found my Maxwell's on page 11 with the last name mispelled in the transcription.  If I hadn't of done this, I never would have found them.

Another bit of information that I should share here is that Katie Maxwell (Catherine Maxwell Duffy) is not listed on this census with the family.  I am not sure why but am 99% certain that I did find the correct family.  Katie would have been about 10 or 11 years old during this 1860 census.  I have her living with her older brother Dennis in Newport, New York, in 1870.  She may have already been with him by then.  Based on what is written in the 1870 census, she helped with his family and children at his farm. 

I must admit that it was quite a bit more fun to some extent to look through the census page by page as if reading through a book.  The internet age with all of its search engines and "hits" sometimes leaves out the fun of a true "find".  Eureka!  I found it.


  1. Wonderful! I just found the Maxwell 1860 census, but only through searching for Judith. Joseph returned no results. However, I was unable to see the original census without being a member of ancestry. Thanks for providing it!

    Jonathan Vecchi

  2. You are welcome Jonathan! That's part of why I post so that I can share info with relatives, distant and not so distant.