The Federal government has taken a census every 10 years since 1790. The Constitution provided for a census to be taken to determine apportionment of representation in the House of Representatives. It’s used by the government for various statistical purposes such as taxation or estimation of potential military strength.
By 1910 the census also tells us length of present marriage, how many children a mother has had, and how many are living, birthplace, birthplace of parents, citizenship status, occupation, number of weeks unemployed in 1909, and if a person is a veteran of the Civil War. Residency was based as of 15 April 1910. If a child was born after that date, it would not be included in this census.
The census taker went from house to house and information about the people in that household was given by whomever was present and may or may not be correct.
Amos Claycomb was visited by the census man on 21 April 1910 – this was the first time he was listed as head of household. It also shows him as a male, white, 24 years old, and single. His birthplace is listed as Illinois as it is also for his parents.
The Homer Russell family is listed just after Amos’ entry. Homer P. Russell is a male, white, 28 years old, is married and has been married one time for 3 years. He was born in Ohio, as was his father. His mother was born in English-speaking Canada. Homer’s wife, Goldy P. Russell, is shown as female, white, 26 years old, is married, has been married one time for three years. Goldy also has had one child and it is living. She and both her parents were born in Ohio. Hariet E. Russell, daughter of Russell (we can assume also of Goldy, but that is not stated – relationships are given to the head of household only), female, white, one year old and still single. Hariet was born in Texas, and both her parents were born in Ohio. Also living with the Russells is Homer’s sister, Sarah S. Barger, female, white, age 46 and widowed. She was born in Ohio, as was her father. Her mother (same as Homer’s probably) was born in English-speaking Canada.
There are columns for citizenship: date of immigration and citizenship status. On this specific page, none of these columns was completed.
The next column indicates the language spoken in our highlighted families – English for all of them. It states the trade or occupation. Amos is a farmer on a ‘general farm’ and an employer, Homer is a farm laborer and a worker (as opposed to an owner). Sarah, the sister, is shown to have her own income. Homer’s wife and child have no occupation. I’m thinking Goldy was a pretty hard worker for not having an occupation! The census asked if Homer was out of work on 15 April 1910 and how many weeks out of work in 1909 and he said no and none.
The next question are whether one can read, write and has attended school since 1 September 1909. Both Amos and Homer have ‘yes’ for all. Goldy and Sarah can read and write, but have not recently attended school. The next columns refer to the farm, so only Amos replies: he owns his farm, it is not mortgaged (although he has to pay his father back!), it’s a farm (as opposed to just a house), it’s listed on Agricultural Schedule 21. The remaining questions are regarding Civil War veterans, if a person is blind, or if a person is deaf and dumb. These are blank on this page. There are odd check marks left by the person using the census forms to tally.
Census records can be a gold mine for genealogists. I’m not even working on Homer Russell’s family, but this census gives quite a feeling for his family. In both households highlighted I would guess that Amos gave his own information and Homer or Goldy gave theirs. Amos’ is correct and I would think that the Russells information is accurate. Just remember that we don’t know who gave the information (it could be a neighbor) and cannot be sure of its accuracy.