The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “1850 Federal Census”

Hal O. Wene and other fitting names for All Saints’ Eve

The subject of onomatology has always interested me.  Not so much the origins of surnames, but more so fueling the wordplay fun you can have on holidays such as Halloween.

While I couldn’t actually find Mr. Wene in any census records or city directory listings, I discovered more than enough of seasonally scary names…

Like Mary Scary, with husband George and son Charles, living in Boston, 1940.


How about Henry Horror in Allegheny, PA 1880 with mother Jane and two sisters?


Many Native Americans had the most colorful names, which usually involved animals or earth elements.

Ghost Head

Ghost Head in South Dakota 1900 fell into neither category, opting for spiritual decapitation instead there.

Then things got a little HAIRY in Paterson, NJ…

Wolf, Man

As here, the twelve year-old’s file-heading…  Wolf, Man!

And yes, there are plenty of creepy families in genealogical records.


Jennie, Anna & Helen in Philadelphia 1940… Whatta bunch of CREEPS!

Ten years earlier in Warren, Rhode Island…


The Zombies!  With Anna being the HEAD of the family.  And Rob Zombie’s real name is Robert Bartleh Cummings.  Sorry, all you White Zombie fans.

And going back to 1940 for a very thirsty New Jersey family in Morris County.


George and Mary Dracula, with little daughter Dolores Dracula.  Ya think she got teased in school at all, especially around this time of year?

And we can’t talk about ANY Halloween family without mention of…


Yeah, I had to go for 411Locate to find the pair of them.  Though they’re current, it’s both Gomez and Morticia here, along with their double “D” spelling of Addams.  A comic trifecta!

It was a similar deal for this duo.  Still eerie to find them together; in Idaho, of all places.  Found on PeopleFinders, of all places.  Cue up the Dick Dale-like intro theme!


There were several Herman and Lilly Munsters in census records, but not together like this.  <Insert classic Herman laugh here>

All right, so those last two pairs were probably a goof, though I couldn’t resist adding them here.

And how’s THIS for a gravely resting-place name?

Sam E Terry

From Find A Grave, of course!

Then there’s another head-scratcher from Ancestry’s mysterious U.S. Public Records Index.

Casper tf Ghost

Is this even a real source??  Their “original data” doesn’t tell me where Mr. Ghost’s info was extracted from.  But this is a whole post topic in itself!

So, can we safely assume that Casper’s middle name is “The Friendly”?

And one of my all-time favorite bad pun names…


Frankie, Baby!!  In Minneapolis, 1920.

There were way too many Stephen Kings and Alice Coopers in census records to include here.  Heyyyy, I’ll feature them in my Halloween 2015 post!

Non-Dislaimer Clause:  None of these names were manufactured fictionally by me.  Click on any of the snippets.  They link to the originals.  They are all “real”.  And as often is the case, ya just can’t make this stuff up!

Another thing I will NEVER make up is genealogy research!  I may be extremely silly at times, but when it comes to family history research, I am DEAD SERIOUS.  Get it?  DEAD Seri- oh, just hire me and you’ll see…



Family History Humor, featuring Jean E. Allogee




While researching, I frequently come across records that give me a chuckle; mostly bad name puns and the like.

Or those that are comical all in themselves.  Such as the above 1850 Federal Census extract for Rome, PA.

Yes, Henry Hiney, his wife Sally Ann Hiney and their presumed five children.  George Hiney at the bottom (sorry) could be a younger brother of Henry Hiney.

But the kid’s names are even better… Zepheminah Hiney! C.C. Hiney!!

City directories are a GOLDMINE for such silliness.  Or if not, I just add my own.

Like Jesus Christ is NOT in Buffalo!

No Jesus Christ

He should be between Jacob the carpenter and the John on Clinton Street.

But then I thought, Well, DUH!  Of course Jesus would be UNLISTED!!

And what’s a directory without a few good name and occupation combos?  This from the 1911 Boston Directory.

George Speede Boston 1911

Now, what ELSE would George L. Speed be doing for work??

And a 1932 Columbia, NH entry.

Columbia Directory 1932

E.E. Cass: “You wanna work on my farm and your name is Guy LeGro??  You’re HIRED!!

You know, that’s how many surnames came to be in the first place.

“I am a blacksmith and will forth hence be known as Mr. Smith!”

“Yes, and I own a mill.  Instead of ‘Very Friendly Mill Man’,  I hereby change my name to Bud Miller!!”

“Oh, but I am a DOG CATCHER!  Forthwith and beyond -”

Wait, that doesn’t work out; damn!  Eh, you get my gist.

And maybe we could have farmer Guy above “translate” this ad page from the 1915 Lebanon Directory.

Leb 1915

“Yeah, I need my horse renovated…”

“We’re Rogers & Hubbard!  Your one-stop shop for bone-based fertilizer!”

Cow invigorator??  I don’t even wanna know what that’s supposed to do!  Boviagra?

And don’t forget “Books free. Good books too.”  Ha!

I saw this in unsold ad space in a 1928 Lancaster, NH directory.


A raise of hands…

How many of you have come across typographical errors in city directories?

Yep, everyone but that one dude in the back there.  “Yo!  Henry Hiney!!  Research much??”

So, how many people have THEY offended over the years in hundreds of localities across the country?  They should be apologizing here instead of looking for ad dollars!  OK, rant over.

From the Federal Naturalization Index…


Lewis Superfine from Russia!  Wonder what his Russian name really was.

And I’ll leave you with this almost-triple-play…


Yes, it’s Russel Russ, of Russell, NY!


Thank you and for most of the above images!

Besides being screen captures, these items have not been altered in ANY WAY.  “If you don’t believe me, you can look it up yourself!” (King of California, 2007)  That’s why I always include WHERE they’re extracted FROM.


Because that’s just what The Online Genealogist does.

And don’t forget my Free Quickie Online Ancestor Search!!!  Details upper right.

I would love to research for you!



The year of death on an actual tombstone is reliable. Any person transcribing that tombstone is NOT.


How could they have NOT transcribed two gravestones properly??  Not one, not two, but THREE wrong numbers found within these two entries.

We’ve all seen errors in printed genealogies or family trees online.  While it does keep us on our toes, it can get beyond annoying when the mainline research you’re building hinges on “facts” such as death dates and ages; exactly what you’re hoping to glean from these transcriptions.

The highlighted wife and husband are in a direct line I’m researching.  I included the others merely for comparison and to give you an idea of what information was included.


Now, I had already found Otis Kilton’s probate records online, and knew he died in 1854.  And according to everything else I had on Otis and Lydia, they were both born around 1770.  Such as the 1850 Federal Census here.


So, if the cemetery transcriptions are to be believed, Lydia was NOT 80 when she died.  And Otis?  He’ll be dead in less than 6 months, missing his 54th birthday by a few weeks.

With these serious age discrepancies, I was beginning to doubt my own ability as a family researcher.  Really!!  And I had found nothing to even hint at there being another Otis and Lydia Kilton……exactly 30 years their junior……living in the same town.  I’m no math wiz,  but something wasn’t adding up.

What’s a genealogist to do when confronted with such messed-up information?  Easy – go to the SOURCE.

Yes, The Online Genealogist takes an offline field trip!

Grafton is less than 25 miles away and yesterday was a gorgeous day for a bike ride.  Hit the nearby Northern Rail Trail (ex-Northern RR) which goes across the road from the cemetery.  Couldn’t be handier!

It’s right up here on the left.  See it??


Sorry, getting sidetracked.  Or train-tracked.

Otis Kilton!!  Such a sad-looking stone.


If you were transcribing this particular headstone, what would you be entering into your iPad?  Note any defects or wear that could make this difficult to read.  Pay particular attention to the age and year Otis was laid to rest.

Just in case it’s hard to see on that photo…  And I even underlined the numbers in dispute here!


Now, does that look like 1851 to you?  And was Otis 53; or 83, as was originally surmised?

Lydia Kilton’s gravestone is even more difficult to read.  (Snark, snark.)


Does the first number of Lydia’s age below look more like the “8” or the “5” in 1850?


Phew!  It’s NOT me after all!

This is such a great example of just plain BAD transcription.  I’m sorry, but there is NO excuse for those numbers to be so… WRONG!!!

Of course, we don’t know where the dates and ages got so screwed up.  Most gravestone transcriptions were originally written down in a notepad (some much better than others); how did they get from there to the listing that was placed online?  Was it a rush-job for the transcriber(s)?  If that was the case, why even bother??  Or maybe they were three typos on two lines.  Then fire the person that edited it!

It really doesn’t matter why these cemetery transcriptions are useless for anyone; it only matters that they ARE.  Heck, if I can’t believe two lines, what weight am I going to give to the rest of the Kilton transcriptions on that list?  Do I shrug it off as “Aw, they’re probably the only three errors in that entire list of over 1,000 individuals.”?  Or do I hit the brakes and take any entry on there with a grain of salt?

If I didn’t visit the Grafton Center Cemetery, what would I have done?  As I said, all other evidence pointed to Otis & Lydia Kilton living to their 80s, with all but their first 20 years in Grafton; most of it documented by their children’s births, annual inventory lists and tax valuations.  (Thank you LDS and!)

And besides, my now-infamous genealogy gut told me that those transcriptions couldn’t be right.  Either that, or I’ve got terrible gas

Oh, and this was on top of one of the Kilton children’s headstone.  Creee-py.


The entire middle piece for this stone was gone and the lamb is sort of just placed there.  I’m thinking it used to be at the top of the missing piece.  Hate to see that, BUT the lamb is still there!


As it turns out, this cemetery transcription was a project for the local Boy Scouts.  (Genealogy Badge??)  While their intentions were noble, “boys” would not be my first choice for transcribing tombstones.  And these two Kiltons were the EASIER ones to read!  Some of those early slate stones were extremely weathered and worn.  I wonder if those even made it to their project.  No way a slam on the Boy Scouts; only bad transcribers!

Here is the website…

And watch out for those research landmines!!


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