23 May 2010

Great Census Problem Swap

Do you have someone you can't find in the census?  I do!  Wanna swap problems?

Ordinarily I'm very, very good at finding people in the US censuses and I have found many problem listings for other people.  But, I still have a few of my own Census Problems!  I think new perspectives might help, so I'm starting "The Great Census Problem Swap!" 

We can swap problems for a while and see where it takes us all.  I'll give info on one of my problems.  If you care to spend some time on my problem, just post one of YOUR census problems as a comment and I will work on yours!  I promise to give it my best shot!  

Clara Eveline (Davidson) Porter in the 1900 US Census?
In 1900, Clara was probably recently widowed, her father had just died, and her only daughter had been married in the past year. Clara should be 50-52 years old and probably with her 16-year-old son, L. Willis.  How far could she have gotten?  

Clara was born 24 Jun 1848 in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont, daughter of Titus Davison and Hannah Bascom.  Clara appears to have always used the spelling DAVIDSON, while Titus consistently used DAVISON.  She married Celim Homer Porter 22 Mar 1870 in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont. 

I have Clara in all of the following censuses:
  • 1850 & 1860 in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont with her parents
  • 1870 in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont with Celim and his parents
  • 1880 in Woods, Chippewa, Minnesota with SA (Celim), and sons George, Frank, and William (who I believe is also called Roy G.).
  • 1910 & 1920 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California with son L Willis

But I cannot find her or son L Willis anywhere in the 1900 census.

Daughter Cora May Porter was born 16 December 1881 in Kerkhoven, Swift, Minnesota and son L (Leslie?) Willis Porter was born 28 Mar 1884 in Big Stone, Grant, South Dakota Territory.  However, Willis's birthdate is from a Delayed Birth Certificate filed many years later.  

I believe her husband Celim died 23 March 1898 in Grant, South Dakota, but I only have a family note to that effect.  I do have formal sources for a 1906 probate in Vermont with no mention of a date or place of his death. Clara's father, Titus, died 22 May 1900, in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont. 

Other family in the 1900 census
Son George C. is in St. Anthony precinct, Franklin County, Idaho with his family.  Daughter Cora is in Big Stone Twp, Grant, South Dakota with her new husband.  There is a Frank Porter, 24, single, butcher, living along in Fort Pierre Stanley, South Dakota, but I don't know for sure if this is Clara's son.  There is a Roy G., 23, born Iowa, in the 8th ward, Omaha, Douglas, but I don't know for sure if this is Clara's son.

Two of Clara's three remaining siblings are still in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont for the 1900 census.  The third, Willis A. Davison, is unaccounted for; I think he had left Vermont. 

At some point, Clara acquired a farm in what is now Bottineau County, North Dakota; the legend is that she won it in a poker game.  There are also family legends that Porterville in California got its name from the family and that son L Willis was a cowboy in Texas before coming to California.  (His first wife was born in Texas.  Their only child was born in 1913 in Los Angeles.)  

Finding Clara or her son L Willis in the 1900 census will probably not give me any earth-shattering new info.  It will just fill in some missing info.

Who is your biggest census problem?  If you care to share, I'll be glad to give it a try!  Have a great day!


  1. Well, this has already gotten some results for me! After the post, I went to play in FamilySearch Pilot, thinking that I haven't run PORTER there for a long time and they've made lots of addtions lately. Sure enough, an index entry for CH Porter showed up for the 1895 Minnesota State Census! It took me quite a while, but I found the image at ancestry.com [the page numbers don't match, and ancestry indexed the family as Portes with the first names & birthplaces funny.

    So, now I know they family, including Clara and L Willis were in Ortonville, Big Stone, Minnesota in 1895! Another place to look for them in 1900!

    Also, FamilySearch showed an index entry for Celim for a will in 1898, Lac qui Parle, Minnesota. So, the date I have for his death is looking better. I'll order the associated film.

  2. This person there too

    Name Clarrie Porter
    Residence Ortonville city, Big Stone, Minnesota
    Age 46y
    Estimated birth year 1849
    Birth place Vermont
    Race or color (on document) W
    Gender Female
    Line number 6
    Household id 249
    Page 1
    Film number 000565762

  3. Could not find any record of census on any of my usual searches but I did find this on a web site that you may or may not have seen.

    Name Celim PORTER
    Lifespan: 1849-1898
    Where Born: Colchester, Chittenden County, VT
    Additional Notes
    Migration Steps
    Celim Homer Porter, second son of Homer Porter and Dolly Bates Porter, lived on the ancestral home farm located on Porter Point on Lake Champlain where his greatgrandfather, Thomas Porter, had settled following the Revolutionary War. Thomas had married Abigail Bates, of the prominent colonial family of Simeon Bates. Bates Family Association has all Bates family lines. Family of Thomas Porter and Abigail Bates in book Child\'s Chittenden County Gazetteer of 1882. Ancestors lie buried in the family cemetery at Mallett\'s Bay. The 1850 U.S.Census of Chittendent County VT shows Celim as a 2 year old with his parents and older brother Norton. Brothers Norton and Celim Homer married in Vermont, Norton to Sarah E. Miller in 1869 Celim Homer to Clara Davidson in 1869, and then both families migrated west, to Minnesota. In Minnesota, Celim Homer and Clara with three small sons, now had a daughter Cora. Brother Norton\'s wife died in childbirth and Norton migrated to Great Falls Cascade Co. MT. Celim Homer and Clara moved just across the state line to Big Stone City Grant Co. SD. where they had another son. The Porter sons started a stationery shop and also took up taxidermy as a regular profession. It is said that Celim Homer worked as a laborer. In 1899 Cora Porter was a statuesque beauty. She caught the eye of unmarried businessman Thomas Vandervelde and they were married in 1899. The family appears regularly in both the U.S. and the SD State Censuses. By the time of her wedding, her father Celim Homer Porter had already died of a lingering illness in 1898 in Big Stone City Grant Co. SD. to Swift Conuty, MN in 1880
    to Big Stone City, Grant County, SD in 1884

    Researcher: Isabel Reichert Vandervelde

  4. Dear FisherOfMen,
    Thank you for your efforts! Yes, the 'Clarrie' of the FamilySearch Index is with the CH. It took me a while to find them, given the differences in page references between FamilySearch & Ancestry. I used to be in contact with Isabel some time ago; she laid the foundation for all my Porter research. I'd not seen this succinct summary--Thanks!!

    I do appreciate your efforts. Is there something I can work on for you?

  5. You are welcome.

    I am good on all the census data since most of my people only got here after 1880 (I wish the 1890 census was not destroyed).

    Thanks for the offer of help.

    I am starting a quest to find German ancesters now.

  6. Great idea. We all see things with different eyes.
    Thank you for the heads up on Hannah Whitlock - I will read the article you referenced and double check where I originally got my info. I just recently found an error in my Baldwin line - so I appreciate your sharing the source with me.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  7. Looked up my source for date of birth for Hannah Whitlock - it was also in the Con. Nutmegger: 1994 Vol 27 p. 18 has year of birth as 1613.
    I do have a note in my files as 'doubtful'.