If I could dream up what the perfect census record would include, it would include all the usual information (name, gender, age, occupation) plus it would include:
- Full name of father
- Father's birthplace
- Father's age
- Full name of mother, including maiden name
- Mother's birthplace
- Mother's age
- Place of parents' marriage
- Whether served in Civil War, Spanish-American War, or World War I
- Church affiliation
You're thinking, "good luck Geoff", right?
This dream came true after what I learned in watching Ruby Coleman's recent webinar, Iowa Ancestors in History, Geography and Genealogy. Before showing the record, she stated, "you're going to want an ancestor in this record!" Then she showed a page from the 1925 Iowa state census. I've never before seen a census record provide all of this information. The full name and ages of both the father and the mother of every person in the census including her maiden name, birth place and marriage place was included! Talk about a genealogy gold mine!
In fact, there is so much information in this census that it took THREE PAGES for each person! Here's some examples (click on images to enlarge):
Page one shows the full name (given name, middle name, surname) of each person, their relation to the head of the household, gender, race, age, and marital status. Pretty good, although normal information for later census records.
Page two gets really good. Here it lists the birth place of the person, the name and birth place of the father, the name and birth place of the mother, how old each of the parents were on their last birthday, and the place of the parents' marriage. THANK YOU IOWA!
I now desperately wanted to have an Iowa ancestor who would be listed in this census.
Since this census provides the maiden name of the person's mother, I wondered if I had anyone in my family file who would 1) be alive in 1925, 2) be living in Iowa in 1925, and 3) not have their mother's maiden name recorded yet. Here's what I did:
Use Legacy's Census Search tool
1) On the Search tab, I clicked on the Census List button.
2) Then I filled in the following information, and clicked the "Create a Search List" button.
The resulting Search List contained 77 individuals who were 1) alive in 1925 and 2) calculated by Legacy to be living in Iowa at the time.
Rather than look at all 77 right then, I filtered this list a little more:
1) On the Search button at the bottom of this screen, I clicked on Find, and then clicked on the Detailed Search tab.
2) Here I told Legacy to search these 77 individuals for someone who did not have the mother's maiden name recorded.
The new Search List had four individuals, one of whom was Louis William KING. Looking at his record, it showed that he died in 1929 in Iowa and that his mother's name was just Catherine - no maiden name.
At this point, my heart started racing a little faster, thinking that I might finally find Catherine's maiden name.
This is where creative searching at Ancestry was needed. My initial search in the "Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925" for Louis William King gave 462 results. The results were a combination of possible individuals in six different census years.
I modified the search by adding Louis' birth location of Iowa, the "lived in" location of Muscatine County, and the "Residence Date" of 1925.
This narrowed down the search results to 453. Next, I changed the Search Filter for the "Lived In" category from Broad to Exact.
Now there were just 12 Results:
Guess which of these was my guy? If you guessed Wm King Lewis you are right. Now that took some creative searching, didn't it?
The record confirmed the names I had for Lewis and his wife:
It confirmed the name and birth place of Lewis' father, yet did not list his age, so I can infer that he was no longer living:
It then gave William's mother's full name and birth place. Eureka! This is the first time I have seen her maiden name!
And it listed where his parents were married, which, with his timeline and trying to learn when he emigrated, this was helpful:
Finally, I learned they were part of the Evangelical church which could lead to some church records.
My next step will be to add this new information to Legacy following the techniques I explained in the "Watch Geoff Live: Adding a Census Record" webinar or in the Legacy Family Tree - Unlocked! book.
I hope that you, too, have an ancestor in the 1925 Iowa state census. If you do, please write about your findings in the comments below. And remember, "Life is short, do genealogy first!"