Evidentia Meets the 1790 US Census – Part Two

By | January 6, 2016

In my last post, I documented the claims I chose to catalogue for a 1790 US Census record for Gilmanton, NH. I tried to demonstrate how even the vaguest of information can provided clues we can use in our research.

If you remain unconvinced, that’s OK. Hopefully this post, which will show you a sample analysis for that same evidence, will be more persuasive.

In our last post we documented the following evidence:

This source claims that… Subject/Claim Type
on August 2, 1790 David Thompson lived in Gilmanton, NH Thompson, David (ca 1790)/Residence
on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 1 male 16 years of age or older Thompson, David (ca 1790)/Birth
on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 1 male under 16 years of age Thompson, Jacob/Residence
Thompson, Jacob/Birth
on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 3 females Brown, Rachel/Residence
Thompson, Anna/Residence
Unknown
on August 2, 1790 Jon Thompson lived in Gilmanton, NH, the same town as David Thompson Thompson, David (ca 1798)/FAN

In this post I hope to show how the vague clues “the household included 1 male 16 years of age or older” and “the household included 1 male under 16 years of age” can be used to further our research.

Note that in this series we will assume that the Source, Information, and Evidence has already been classified.

“Proof” of Residence

Before delving into date calculations, let’s look at the evidence we collected regarding Residence.

If we navigate to the Analyze Evidence screen, select “Thompson/David (ca 1798)” as the subject, and “Residence” as the claim type, we will see the evidence we entered in our last post.

Assertion Analysis
The 1790 US Census for Gilmanton, NH asserts that on August 2, 1790 David Thompson lived in Gilmanton, NH This information provides only a single data point for where David lived throughout his life. No additional evidence has been found to support or refute this claim for 1790. However, data in the other census records included in this proof is consistent with this claim. Cross referencing family members included in those census records with other records for David supports the position that this is our David.

residence-assertionsOne of the advantages of Evidentia is that we are looking at all the data together. In our analysis we acknowledge that by itself confidence in the claim is difficult to support (is it our David?). However, we don’t have to look at this evidence by itself.

That’s one of the strategies we need to consider with evidence that might be perceived as vague – is it consistent with other evidence?

We can take the same approach with the Residence claims for Jacob, Rachel, and Anna. Because the subjects in the claims are unnamed, we are even more dependent on other evidence to support or refute the claim — but there is still value in providing a “consistency” check.

Assertion Analysis
The 1790 US Census for Gilmanton, NH asserts that on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 1 male under 16 years of age. The subject in this record is unnamed. The Proof for the Father of Jacob Thompson supports the position that David had a son, Jacob, and the birth date established in Proof for the Birth of Jacob Thompson implies he would have between 5 and 6 in 1790. It is reasonable to conclude that Jacob would still be living at home at age 6.

In this example I used 2 previous proofs, rather than other records in the same proof, to build my argument. (Evidentia even allows you to footnote those two references within the analysis box as part of this proof, and will include citations in the end-notes.)

I used the results of a Proof of Residence for this post: Residence – a Study of Daniel Hart Thompson

Fun with Dates

I have two claims from this source that I tagged as evidence for Births:

  • on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 1 male 16 years of age or older (David)
  • on August 2, 1790 the household of David Thompson included 1 male under 16 years of age (Jacob)

What value can this information offer a birth proof? For that we need the Age Calculator.

First, we need to establish boundaries.

I’ll start with David. The youngest David could be if he was 16 years or older at the time of enumeration assumes his birthday is August 2, 1790. This assumes he JUST turned 16 that day. The oldest he could be…well that could be anything.

calc1

 

If we enter 16 years and 0 days into the Age fields of the Age Calculator, and 1790 (year), 8 (month) and 2 (day) in the End Date fields, the Calculator confirms that David must have been born BEFORE August 2, 1774. (We use the End Date fields because we are trying to calculate backwards to a birth date).

 

What is the value?

  • We know to look for clues for David’s birth BEFORE this date. Even adjusting for the 9 month enumeration period, its still provides a place to start.
  • We can use this figure for a consistency check – is other evidence supported by this calculation?

Admittedly the field of possible birth dates is still quite large.

calc2The calculations for Jacob are more promising. The oldest Jacob could be if he was younger than 16 years of age at the time of enumeration assumes he is 15 years and 364 days old. If we enter 15 years and 364 days into the Age fields of the Age Calculator, and 1790 (year), 8 (month) and 2 (day) in the End Date fields, the Calculator confirms that Jacob must have been born AFTER August 3, 1774.

But there is more. The youngest Jacob could be if he was younger than 16 years of age at the time of enumeration assumes he was born on the day of enumeration. So now we have a range of dates. Jacob was likely born between August 3, 1774 and August 2, 1790.

Again, there is real value in this date range as a consistency check once we have enough evidence to compare and contrast.

Summary

I have tried to present a plausible use case for information gleaned from the 1790 census. I have also presented examples of how to write a claim (last post) and and an analysis (this post). I hope you have found this exercise helpful.