Well, not much, anyway. Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge on Genea-Musings last Saturday was to go on a scavenger hunt – for our great-great-grandparents (or great-grandparents, etc.) in the census: that is, if there were censuses on which they should have appeared, find them and provide a citation. I had done this work for all of my known great-great grandparents except for the Brinlees, so I looked them up in the census. I forgot to note in my blog post that on the 1850 census Hiram Brinlee appeared as Herand Brendler (no correction had been made, yet), so of course I didn’t find him at first. I was pretty sure he was in Collin County at that time, so I just put in Collin County, born in Kentucky and then Tennessee (both states were reported for him as his state of birth, probably because he was born in the area that was only later clearly divided between the two states), born in 1807 plus or minus two years, and when Herand Brendler appeared on the resulting list of names, I was pretty sure that was him (and the list of names in the family confirmed it). Then I submitted name corrections.
The main ancestors I could not find were my Norman great-grandparents Jack and Sarah in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. I had forgotten that I had actually found Sarah Sisson Norman (as “Sallie Norman”) before on the 1920 census, shown with her son Thomas Frank Norman and his family. For some reason she was shown as his mother-in-law (although no different last name was given for her), but I know the name and dates of birth and death of Thomas Frank’s mother-in-law, and this definitely was not her. Jack Norman was still alive at that time (so why is Sarah shown as a widow?), and I believe Sarah was probably visiting Thomas Frank and his family. Perhaps Jack was, too, but was overlooked by the census-taker, or perhaps he was at home and just didn’t want to talk to the census-taker. Here is the census entry:
1920 US Federal Census, Precinct #3, Fannin, Texas, ED 42, p. 1, 2 Jan 1920
Gray and Orangeville Road Fm 11 14
Norman, Frank Head R M W 37 M Yes Yes AL AL AL Yes Farmer OA 4
Nola Wife F W 34 M Yes Yes TN TN TN Yes
Sallie Mother-in-law F W 64 Wd Yes Yes AL AL AL Yes
Ross Son M W 13 S No Yes Yes TX TN TN Yes
Grady Son M W 11 S No Yes Yes TX TN TN
Thomas Son M W 10 S No Yes Yes TX TN TN Yes
Morgan Son M W 6 S No No No TX TN TN
Geneva Daughter F W 4 S No No No TX TX TX
Oby Son M W 2 S No No No TX TX TX
Sarah Daughter F W 1/2 S No No No TX TX TX No
[Source: 1920 US Federal Census, Texas, Fannin County, Precinct #3, Leonard, 2 January 1920, Frank Norman family, dwelling number 11, family number 14, NARA roll T625_1802, p. 1B, ED 42, image 855, Ancestry.com online database, viewed 25 August 2009.]
I have tried several tricks to find Jack and Sarah on the 1910 census, and even used a neat tool on a website recommended to me by Patti Brown of Consanguinity, The Name Thesaurus.
This leaves Angeline Matlock Floyd on the 1870 census and Lizzie Smith on all the censuses before 1900. Angeline was married to Charles Floyd by 1870 (their oldest child, Oscar, had been born in 1869), and her parents had died, so I cannot think of any other place she might have been (visiting friends?). I believe that the most likely possibility is that the census-taker overlooked her and Oscar.
As for Lizzie, I plan to start soon on pulling together all my information and materials on her for my genealogy society’s brick wall session. Part of this will be a “census survey” – a list of all Smith families in Tennessee with a daughter named Susan, Elizabeth, Lizzie or anything similar of approximately the right age on the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Tennessee (the latter census to include a young girl “working out” with another family; family stories indicate that Lizzie may have been orphaned by that time), with special attention to families in which the parents were born in North Carolina (or South Carolina, since the two were often confused).