When Ancestors Are Missing From Census Records

Last week, I shared how researching relatives on the census records with my great-great-grandfather led me to breaking through a brick wall and discovering who his parents were.

However, he was not listed on the 1870 census with his parents.  He was only listed with a woman who I was able to determine was his grandmother.  Beside their

Early census taker with a family

household lived a married sister and her family.

So, where were his parents?

Well, in researching his grandmother, I discovered who his parents were and that they were both still alive in 1870.  So, they should have been on the census records.

Yet, I’ve searched and searched through the census records for that area and the entire state and have been unable to locate them.

So, why are they not on the census record.

Well, there were times when census records only gathered the information of the people that were actually at home.

This could be for a variety of reasons such as the census taker was in a hurry, the census taker assumed those present were the only persons living at home or the person answering the questions misunderstood who should be included, to name a few.

So, it seems very plausible that when the census taker arrived, the only information was provided was for the two people home.  Those individuals included my great-great-grandfather and his grandmother.

I’ll be honest, I’m so glad he was at home, because this small find lead me to his family.  This was a brick wall I tried for over twenty years to break through before I was able to.

So, if a loved one is missing there is a possibility they were not home when the census taker came.

I urge you to do the research and see if there are other records of the individual.

Have you ever had a family member left off the census records?