Oct 062011

I’m not sure how many times I have looked at the 1910 Census record for my 2g-grandfather’s family (John Brenner).  Today I saw something I had missed every other time.  At the top of the page, there is was — “Enumerator:  John Brenner.”

Before I could jump to a quick conclusion, however, I had to sort this one through a bit more.  You see, there are three John Brenners in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1880.  I can eliminate one of the John Brenners (the youngest son of my 2g-grandfather was named John; he was 1 year old). Our John Brenner, born in Baden, was 44 years old at the time of the 1880 census. At the time of the census, he and his wife are listed with 12 children.  The other John Brenner, also born in Baden, 26 years old, was listed with his wife and a 6 month old child.  Both John Brenners were living in the same enumeration district (#112) — the other John on page 444A; my John, 444C.

I am well aware that my 2g-grandfather periodically held other jobs in addition to the three different primary positions he held during his working life — cemetery superintendent, marble salesman, and bookkeeper / office manager.  It would make sense to assume that he was the census enumerator.  Of course, to make that assumption and enter it into my records would be to commit genealogical heresy.  It could lead to my records (and, perhaps, even me) being “folded, mutilated, stapled, and spindled.”

As I looked at the listing of my 2g-grandfather, I realized that I had seen “John Brenner” written in a very similar hand.  I had previously extracted his signature from a letter he wrote and attached it to his picture (see above). All I had to do was compare that with the listing of John Brenner in the Census record (see below).

Comparison:  The “B” is formed in the same manner – the rounded loops seem the same.  Both “J”s have the same long descending loop and the ascending loop on the “h”s appears to be the same.  I am not a handwriting expert, but the two examples of “John Brenner” seem to have been written by the same person.

My conclusion:  my 2g-grandfather was a census enumerator for 1880.  He not only enumerated his own household, but also that of the other John Brenner.  I am delighted to claim him as a census enumerator because the records he wrote are clear and easy to read.  Way to go, “Uropa!”  I have silently cursed (both as researcher and indexer) those enumerators and record keepers whose writing is almost impossible to decipher.  Thankfully, my 2g-grandfather is only going to get accolades from me.

  2 Responses to “1910 Census Enumerator, Which John Brenner?”

  1. What fun! I find it lovely that you are using material your ancestor helped create.

  2. I had a similar experience looking through the 1910 census of the town where I had many, many relatives. I had perused the images several times in previous years, but recently I looked up at the top and saw that my great-great aunt was the enumerator. No one was surprised. They all told me she was the town busy-body!

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