Thursday, September 27, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1860 U.S. Census Record for Edward Hildreth Family

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is the 1860 United States Census record for my Hildreth great-great-grandparents and their family in Northborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts: 

The entry for the Edward Hildreth family is:

The extracted information for the family, residing in Northborough, taken on 12 July 1860, is:

*  Edward Hildreth - age 28, male, a combmaker, personal property of $500, born in Mass.
*  Sophia Hildreth - age 24, female, born Mass.
*  Hattie Hildreth - age 2, female, born Mass.

The source citation for the census image is:

1860 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule; Northborough town; Page 955, Dwelling #794, Family #984, Edward Hildreth household; online database, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, Roll 528.

I see at least three probable errors in this census record:

*  Edward Hildreth: Vital and Bible records indicate that he was born in April 1831, so he should be listed as age 28.
 *  Sophia (Newton) Hildreth:  Most, but not all, records indicate that she was born in Vermont, not Massachusetts.  
*  Sophia (Newton) Hildreth: Some, but not all, records indicate that she was born in September 1834, so would be age 25.

In my previous looks at this 1860 U.S. census record, I had overlooked the fact that the Edward Hildreth family shared a residence in Northborough with the Theodore McNeil family.  Both couples were young, the males had the same occupation, and were probably friends.  What I had missed was that both Theodore McNeil and his wife Hulda were born in Vermont.  That was a red flag for me today - were they possibly related to Sophia Newton?

I quickly checked the Ancestry Member Trees and did not find a tree for them.  I wondered if they had married in Massachusetts, so I checked the NEHGS site and found their marriage on 11 April 1854 in Fitchburg:

This record indicates that Theodore McNeil was a resident of Clinton, age 23, a combmaker, born in Irasburg, Vermont, to John and Laura McNeil.  Hulda C. Rice was a resident of Clinton, age 20, born in Sheldon, Vermont, to Calvin and Lucretia Rice.

A search for the birth of Hulda Rice in the Vermont Vital records, 1760-1954 collection on FamilySearch did not reveal a birth record.  However, a marriage record was found for Calvin Rice and Lucretia Daines on 8 December 1829 in Sheldon, Vermont.  A search for a birth of Theodore McNeil in Vermont, or for a marriage of John McNeil and Laura in Vermont, found no records, even using wild cards for the vowels in the names.  Lastly, there are several Ancestry Member Trees for John McNeill (1789-1851) and Laura North (1792-1857), but they don't list a son Theodore.  There are no Ancestry Member Trees for a Calvin Rice and Lucretia.  

So, my "hope" that Theodore or Hulda (Rice) McNeil were possibly related to Sophia (Newton) Hildreth were dashed, at least as far as online records are concerned.  Oh well, it was worth the 30 minutes to pursue and eliminate at least "low hanging fruit."  Ten years ago, it would have taken two trips to the Family History Center, six microfilm orders, and over one month's time to do these searches in Vermont and Massachusetts records.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Lisa S. Gorrell said...

In your 7th paragraph, I think you mean "1870" census. Great analysis. I'm trying to this in my RootsMagic as I add census records and clean up my citations. I have found I had almost no images saved and am now "catching up."

Randy Seaver said...

Lisa, thanks for the correction, I edited 1960 to 1860...just a typo for a writer with no editor and poor figner control!