Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census

Like many of my fellow genealogists, I regularly check the list of Recently Posted and Updated Databases (hmm, you do check this regularly, right?). I did this morning.

One new database was added yesterday - the 1852 California State Census. So I got to thinking "who in my ancestry was in California in 1852?" Nobody... but wait, Linda's great-grandmother Jane (Whittle) McKnew was age 5 and in San Francisco then. All I know about Jane is that she was born in Australia in 1947 to parents Joseph Whittle and Rachel Moore, both born in England; this information was from Jane's 1921 death certificate, so the information is secondary and suspect.

Let's see if we can find her in the 1852 California Census. I knew that Jane's mother was Rachel Whittle, and figured that Rachel was a less common given name than Jane, so I looked for:

* First Name = rac*; Last Name = whi*; Birthplace = England

* First Name = rac*; Last Name = blank; Birthplace = England; Residence = San Francisco County

Bingo - Rachel Wadle! Here's the page:

The information for this family includes:

* Name = Rachel Wadle, Age = 32, Birthplace = England, Last Residence = Manchester (?)
* Name = Eliz Wadle, Age = 13, Birthplace = England, Last Residence = Manchester
* Name = Jos Wadle, Age = 9, Birthplace = NSW
* Name = Jane Wadle, Age = 5, Birthplace = NSW

Rachel's husband and father of her children, Joseph Whittle, is not found on this census in any California County. I wonder if he was out to sea, or missed up in the gold fields?

There is so much useful information contained in this census record that provides leads to the identity of Joseph and Rachel (Moore) Whittle. Here is what I've thought of so far:

* Rachel was born about 1820, so her baptism may be in an English parish register entry (and may be in the LDS IGI) for her.

* Elizabeth Whittle (a new person for me!) was born about 1839 in England, so there may be an English parish register entry and an English Civil Registration record for her.

* Joseph Whittle was born about 1843 in New South Wales, which means Joseph and Rachel may have migrated there from England in the 1840 to 1843 time frame. That narrows the search. There may be a birth record for Joseph Whittle in Australia.

* Jane Whittle was born about 1847 in New South Wales, which matches her death certificate information. There may be a birth record for Jane Whittle in Australia.

* The last residence for Rachel and Elizabeth is Manchester. Is that Manchester in Lancashire in England, or is there a Manchester in Australia? Did Joseph Whittle take, or send, his family from Australia back to England after Jane's birth?

* The marriage of Joseph Whittle and Rahel Moore probably occurred in the 1837 to 1839 time period in England. There may be an English Parish Register entry and an English civil Registration marriage record for them that might provide more information about their birth dates, birth places and parents.

* There may be an 1841 English Census record for the family if they are still living in England. If so, that would narrow the date for migration to Australia a bit further. If not, it may indicate that the migrated before 1841.

The Source Citation for this page is (created by "California State Library; Sacramento, California; 1852 California State Census; Roll #: 4; Repository Collection #: C144:4; Page: 524; Line: 7.
Source Information: California State Census, 1852 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: California State Census of 1952. (microfilm, M/F 144, 6 rolls). Sacramento, California: California State Library)."

The source citation above is not Evidence Explained! style, but it has most of the elements. For my own practice, here is an Evidence Explained! style source citation:

"1852 California State Census, San Francisco County, California, Page 524 [penned, upper right-hand corner], line 7. Rachel Wadle: digital image, ( : accessed 9 September 2010), citing California State Library microfilm M/F 144, roll 4."

I wanted a print of this, so I clicked on Print and chose the Enhanced Custom Print option, shown below:

I printed this off for the records. The Source citation says only:

"Source Information: Database: California State Census, 1852."

I'm speechless. How hard is it to add all of the source citation information already attached to the page image and in the system? Yeah, it would take more space, but it would be a good benefit for researchers who have to carefully write out all of the pertinent information on the printed page in order to have a useful source citation.

My guess is that this is the same citation that would appear in my Ancestry Member Tree if I attached it to these persons in my tree.

As in several other census databases, if the user selects "San Francisco, San Francisco County, California" from the Location dropdown menu, you get NO MATCHES. You get matches if you select "San Francisco County, California." User, beware!


Life Goes On said...

Sure is fun to find something new. Thanks for sharing. I forget to check up the updates at ancestry often.

Rod Van Cooten said...

Hi Randy,


for your New South Wales birth registrations.