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Justin J. Rebbert
24 September 2008, 08:16 PM
From my mother as well as my own knowledge, I know that I have a g-grandfather named August John Seeholzer, Sr. (b. ca. 1892), wife of Catherine (Heiser), father of Dorothy (b. 1920) and August John, Jr. (b. 1922), and that all of them were born in New York City.

I have found a 1930 Census listing for this family in Queens, NY. From the date of first marriage info on that Census, I have determined that August John Seeholzer, Sr., and Catherine were married ca. 1918.

Therefore, it seems to me that there should be a listing on the 1920 Census for August John and Catherine Seeholzer (neither child being born yet). Yet I cannot find it. And, although I have been able to find Catherine Heiser fairly easily in earlier years, I have not been able to find August John Seeholzer at all prior to that 1930 Census.

On that 1930 Census, he lists that both parents were born in New York. My mother tells me that his father's name was Jacob. Yet I have not been able to find much about a Jacob Seeholzer, either. Other than two city directory entries that may or may not be him, there is also an 1856 naturalization form, which probably is not for my Jacob Seeholzer, as he is believed to be born in New York, based on info from that 1930 Census as well as from my mother.

So, I've been hoping to find a 1920 Census listing for August John and Catherine Seeholzer, as well as a 1910 and 1900 listing for just August John Seeholzer, possibly still living with his parents. But at Ancestry.com, I cannot find any of those records, nor any other type of record, such as birth or death, etc.

I have tried searching for "August Seeholzer", "John Seeholzer", both with and without birth year of 1892. I haven't tried misspellings as Ancestry.com includes enough of that on its own, as well as other years. I have tried both the new and old search tool there.

Why can't I find this info? I admit I don't know too much about the Census, but while I can imagine it might be possible for someone to be missed or left out of one, it seems less likely to me that the same whole family would be consistently missing, census after census. So, I'm asking for search tips or anything else you can tell me to help me search better. I'm not asking for anyone to do the search for me; I need to learn how to do it myself, so I can apply that to future searches. Any help is appreciated. Thanks! :)

Oh, and sorry for the novella post!

Linda G
24 September 2008, 09:27 PM
I feel your frustration!

A critical component to a successful search is an 'accurate' index entry. Index search results may not match our expectations for several reasons:

something else was recorded for that person (a name variation, an estimate of birth year, etc)--for multiple reasons

something else was perceived by the person transcribing the original record, either in the actual census enumeration process, or decades later when one of the enumeration copies was indexed

the search algorithm doesn't do what we think it does

I am sure there are other reasons, but you get the idea.

that's why many of us develop 'creative' approaches, looking for odd combinations, not too restrictive that hopefully will allow something useful to appear. and looking at the search results with an open mind--again looking for the possible (a phonetic spelling, the correct age and birth place and sort-of-the-right-sounding name, etc). and some times a page by page search, which is difficult to imagine for a highly populated place like NYC

or looking for someone that you know is nearby with a name that is less likely to have been messed up (a neighbor, a sibling)

using the wild card search feature

using other indexes, if available, and then going back to the ancestry images

I will say that I have seen a lot of 'mis-indexed' entries for my family members on ancestry. but it's still so much better than the alternative--no index at all!

Personally, I have had the best results on ancestry when I restrict my search to a specific census year and location (state, county, town if I'm absolutely sure), and then try different variations for name (sometimes only surname variations, sometimes only first name possiblilities) and birth year/place (or just birth year). I can't say that one approach works best for me... it's being flexible and trying different possibilities that seems to be most useful.

Good luck!

jep111
25 September 2008, 02:30 PM
From my mother as well as my own knowledge, I know that I have a g-grandfather named August John Seeholzer, Sr. (b. ca. 1892), wife of Catherine (Heiser), father of Dorothy (b. 1920) and August John, Jr. (b. 1922), and that all of them were born in New York City.



Here he is in the 1900 Census:
Year: 1900; Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 8, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T623 996; Page: 16B

Here he is with his first wife in the 1910 Census:
Year: 1910; Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 5, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T624_909; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 65; Image: 1341.

Here he is in the 1920 Census:
Year: 1920;Census Place: Elizabeth City Ward 11, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1070; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 101; Image: 1000.

You will find that things don't always line up exactly. Ages, places of birth, etc. change census to census. Some stay pretty close, some vary wildly. Try to put them into the context of their times... i.e., people of German descent might try to fudge things after WWI. Census takers make mistakes. Women and men have been known to lie about their age to attract a mate.

Anyway, hope this helps a little.

Cheers!

John

fmlyhntr
25 September 2008, 06:36 PM
There are many reasons the family might not be in the census. The obvious one is they weren't where you are looking. But there are other reasons: the census taker missed them; the name is so horribly misspelled or transcribed, it will be pure chance if you ever find them; or your information is not complete (August was a nickname and his real name was Francis--that kind of thing).


Christina

John M. Leggett
25 September 2008, 07:18 PM
I have not been able to find August John Seeholzer at all prior to that 1930 Census....I've been hoping to find a 1920 Census listing for August John and Catherine Seeholzer, as well as a 1910 and 1900 listing for just August John Seeholzer, possibly still living with his parents. But at Ancestry.com, I cannot find any of those records, nor any other type of record, such as birth or death, etc....Why can't I find this info? I admit I don't know too much about the Census,Any help is appreciated. Thanks! :)!

Sometimes it goes the other way when searching census data. My father is listed twice in the 1920 census: in Texas and in Washington.

John

Karen Peters
27 September 2008, 01:53 PM
I've also seen where pages from one county were put at the end of another. If it were too easy, it wouldn't be fun.;)

Justin J. Rebbert
29 September 2008, 06:21 PM
Sometimes it goes the other way when searching census data. My father is listed twice in the 1920 census: in Texas and in Washington.

John
Yeah, I've seen the same thing with one of my great-grandmothers. In the SSDI, there is a record for Catherine (Heiser) Seeholzer with correct full DOB and death month and year. There is also a listing for her in the Florida Death Index, with full date of death, and even lists her place of death as Lee County, FL. Yet my mother, who attended her funeral in New York, tells me that there is absolutely no doubt that she died in New York, where she had lived all her life. So either there is someone with the exact same name and DOB who died in FL at the same time my g-grandmother died in NY, or somehow, someway, she got listed in the FL Death Index by mistake.

Barbara
29 September 2008, 06:50 PM
It might not be a mistake. She could have been "snow birding" or just visiting in Florida and died while there, and her remains sent home to New York for the funeral and burial. One easy way to check is to get her death certificate from the State of Florida. It will give you her home address, disposition of the remains, and the name of her parents, as well as the date, place and cause of death. You should be able to determine from the information provided, whether it is your great grandma. The last time I ordered one it was only $5.00. Just Google Florida records to download the order form.

Justin J. Rebbert
29 September 2008, 07:30 PM
Here he is in the 1900 Census:
Year: 1900; Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 8, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T623 996; Page: 16B

Here he is with his first wife in the 1910 Census:
Year: 1910; Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 5, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T624_909; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 65; Image: 1341.

Here he is in the 1920 Census:
Year: 1920;Census Place: Elizabeth City Ward 11, Union, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1070; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 101; Image: 1000.

You will find that things don't always line up exactly. Ages, places of birth, etc. change census to census. Some stay pretty close, some vary wildly. Try to put them into the context of their times... i.e., people of German descent might try to fudge things after WWI. Census takers make mistakes. Women and men have been known to lie about their age to attract a mate.

Anyway, hope this helps a little.

Cheers!

John
Thanks for trying. Unfortunately, some of those I have already seen and discarded. Many details prove that this isn't the family I'm looking for, such as the parents' names, the brother instead of a sister, the place lived (the family I'm looking for never lived in NJ), and a few other things. Fortunately for me, however, I have some new information that might help me refine my future searches. My mother located a family history report she wrote for a college class project in 1972, which includes reports of interviews with people who are now dead, and more names, dates, and places.

However, your general information and tips about the Census are very useful indeed, and I'm sure will help me greatly in the future. Thanks again! :)

ByronSpoon
29 September 2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks for trying. Unfortunately, some of those I have already seen and discarded. Many details prove that this isn't the family I'm looking for, such as the parents' names, the brother instead of a sister, the place lived (the family I'm looking for never lived in NJ), and a few other things. Fortunately for me, however, I have some new information that might help me refine my future searches. My mother located a family history report she wrote for a college class project in 1972, which includes reports of interviews with people who are now dead, and more names, dates, and places.Justin-
Your August Seeholzer family may be here:
1920 census for Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, listed as
SEEHOLZER Gustave, head
SEEHOLZER Katherine, wife
SEEHOLZER Dorothy, daughter

1910 [did not find]

1900 census for 18th Wd, Brooklyn Borough NYC, Kings Co, New York, listed as
SEEHOLZER Jacob, head
SEEHOLZER Minnie, wife
SEEHOLZER, Eva, daughter
SEEHOLZER, August, son
BARTHOLMEY Mamie [?], sister-in-law [?]
BARTHOLMEY John, brother-in-law
SEEHOLZER Jacob, father

You can re-check the above and fill in the rest of the details.
Hope this helps.

Justin J. Rebbert
30 September 2008, 12:11 AM
That's very interesting, the 1900 Census record you found...

Regarding the 1920, I had found it, and didn't know what to make of it. Pretty much all the details match, or are close enough, to suggest it is my family. They did move to Ridgewood from the City. It's the Gustave that hangs me up. My grandfather, August John Seeholzer, Jr., was, well, a "Junior", being named after his father, and called just "Junior" for most of his childhood. In a recently discovered transcription of my mother's interview with older relatives she did about 35 years ago, there was no mention of her grandfather ever going by the name Gustave. As has been pointed out, however, the Census is only as accurate as what the enumerator was told and what he then wrote down after hearing whatever someone wanted to tell him. Did the enumerator hear the name wrong? Or was my g-grandfather's birth name really Gustave, and did he change it to make it more American? This latter option seems most plausible, as my grandfather wasn't born until 1921, enough time for his father to change his own name, then name his first son after his new Americanized name. I think that I will need to see a copy of a birth certificate for the daughter, Dorothy, born before 1920, to see if the father is listed as August or Gustave.

Now, about the 1900 Census record. I'm definitely going to have to look at that, which I'll do shortly. There are some details there that somewhat coincide with some new info I've just recently learned from that family history paper my mother wrote (I mentioned it in the last paragraph). For example, Jacob Seeholzer, August/Gustave's father, I now know married a woman named Josephine Bartholme. That last name is close enough Bartholmey that, coming from a Census, is probably the same anyway.

So, thanks for finding that, I'm definitely going to look at that and see what I can sort out from it. :)

kmuch
30 September 2008, 07:11 PM
It's quite possible that someone told the census taker the man was "Gus" Seeholzer and the census taker expanded it to Gustave. Or possibly he didn't hear the informant's German accent clearly and just made a guess.

I have a similar case in the 1850 PA census. Frederick (Friedrich) and Mary (Maria) Harm appear with a daughter "Ann E." The daughter's real name was Maria Amelia, and she was called Amelie (ah-may-LEE). Evidently the census taker misheard, in addition to anglicizing the parents' names.

In the 19th century many German names ending in -bach were recorded by Irish census takers as -baugh or -paugh, which was the cognate Irish form. Other names got transformed as well, so be sure to look for variants.

ByronSpoon
30 September 2008, 07:50 PM
...1900 census for 18th Wd, Brooklyn Borough NYC, Kings Co, New York, listed as
SEEHOLZER Jacob, head
...
Justin-
I was at my local library today doing lookups on Ancestry's Library Edition, and then while I was at it I took another look at the above 1900 listing. I had been originally curious why I found the family so easily yesterday via the Heritage Quest census index but you had originally been unable to find it via Ancestry.

Turns out this is a classic example of an indexing error. Sometimes the problem lies with the census taker hearing the name and/or recording the name incorrectly. However this instance exemplifies the also frequent problem of the indexer misreading the handwriting and transcribing the name incorrectly. FYI this entry is mis-indexed in Ancestry as SECHOLZER, and in Heritage Quest it is correctly indexed as SEEHOLZER. The misspelled name does appear in Ancestry's index search results, but well down the list.

So if unsuccessful at finding a person initially, think not only of the name as it might have been heard and/or misspelled by the census taker, but also try some transcription variants such as "e" vs "i" vs "c", or "ee" vs "u", or transposed letters, etc.

kmuch
01 October 2008, 06:41 PM
Justin-
I was at my local library today doing lookups on Ancestry's Library Edition, and then while I was at it I took another look at the above 1900 listing. I had been originally curious why I found the family so easily yesterday via the Heritage Quest census index but you had originally been unable to find it via Ancestry.

Turns out this is a classic example of an indexing error. Sometimes the problem lies with the census taker hearing the name and/or recording the name incorrectly. However this instance exemplifies the also frequent problem of the indexer misreading the handwriting and transcribing the name incorrectly. FYI this entry is mis-indexed in Ancestry as SECHOLZER, and in Heritage Quest it is correctly indexed as SEEHOLZER. The misspelled name does appear in Ancestry's index search results, but well down the list.

So if unsuccessful at finding a person initially, think not only of the name as it might have been heard and/or misspelled by the census taker, but also try some transcription variants such as "e" vs "i" vs "c", or "ee" vs "u", or transposed letters, etc.

Byron is absolutely right. I have another example--in looking for Yerby entries in Virginia, I did think of Yearby, an alternate spelling with the same Soundex code, but it never occurred to me that the family would be indexed under Yearley because someone misread a script b as le. Luckily there were not too many Y's, so I could look through the whole list quickly.

My favorite census anecdote is finding one of my Eastep families indexed as "Step, E."

LarryN
01 October 2008, 09:11 PM
I have a family that I know well, and the father was Augustus - appears that way in some records, and Gustave, appears that way in equally as many, and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are the same man. So it can happen that someone uses two names interchageably.

Karen Peters
02 October 2008, 08:14 AM
I had some confusion over an ancestor named Daniel, who appeared to have a brother David according to some indices. When I finally saw a copy of a census the problem became clear: Daniel written very small in script looks a lot like David.

S McCormick
02 October 2008, 10:28 AM
Another problem with those earlier census forms. The ones I have seen are written in a beautiful copperplate handwritting. At first glance everything looks like it will be very easy to read. If only it were so. Is this person Sarah I., Sarah J., or even possibly Sarah S.? The S in Sarah doesn't look like the initial which follows her name, but on the very same page the S in Solomon and the S in Samuel DO look like it. And that Samuel looks more like Sauuul than it does like Samuel.

You truly do need to do some guesswork; different transcribers guess differently.

Sue

josephum
02 October 2008, 06:51 PM
I have a family that I know well, and the father was Augustus - appears that way in some records, and Gustave, appears that way in equally as many, and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are the same man. So it can happen that someone uses two names interchageably.

I just can't resist entering my experience in searching for Edward R. Welsh. By indirect searching, I found him listed as Gudrun R. Wilsh, and the handwriting on the original record was not that illegible !
Joe

elkriverken
02 October 2008, 07:33 PM
I just can't resist entering my experience in searching for Edward R. Welsh. By indirect searching, I found him listed as Gudrun R. Wilsh, and the handwriting on the original record was not that illegible !
Joe

I found something that "shouldn't" be there! The 1930 Census, Detroit, MI was accurate as far as my parents, (I wasn't yet born). However it revealed a 3 month old infant named John, who would have been my older brother. No one in my family has ever heard of John, and we are a close family with no know "skeletons". Both the Detroit and the Lansing vital records have no record of the birth or death of "John". My parents were deceased when this was discovered. So.............

rnkiii
03 October 2008, 09:20 PM
Just today I was tracking a distant female relative through the available Canadian censuses. I could not track her into the 1911 census, so I tried her son, Vernon's name. Success!! But the reason I was unable to find her was that she was listed as "Amnesia" not Augusta / Agusta as I had found her previously. Use of an 'enlarged' screen shows that the 'tail' of the 'g' was very light and the 't' was crossed hardly at all.

Sometimes I think the 'transcribers' knew we were coming to look for these people and wanted to make their discovery as difficult and/or exciting as possible.

Bob K. rnkiii

martha
04 October 2008, 02:13 AM
I found something that "shouldn't" be there! The 1930 Census, Detroit, MI was accurate as far as my parents, (I wasn't yet born). However it revealed a 3 month old infant named John, who would have been my older brother. No one in my family has ever heard of John, and we are a close family with no know "skeletons". Both the Detroit and the Lansing vital records have no record of the birth or death of "John". My parents were deceased when this was discovered. So.............

Your parents could have been long term babysitting a neighbour's child. According to the census taker rules, any person residing in that household at the time of the census had to be enumerated and it didn't matter if he belonged to that family or not. So at least for this "error" there might be a reasonable explanation!

Martha