The Washerwoman’s Genes

June 27, 2006

Washboard: Tidbits from the New York State Censuses

Filed under: Washboard — by WWG @ 8:56 pm

1855: Son George H makes an appearance. He is in the federal censuses for 1840 and 1850, but he is the only child missing in 1860, the first year Cornelius is absent from the family. Now I know George was still in residence in 1855. In 1865, there is a married George W. in Esopus District 1, but he is aged 30 and born in Washington DC. Jannette’s George would be about 25-27. I still don’t know what happened to him by 1860.

1865: Genetta has had 11 children, according to this census. Only ten lived to be counted in a census, though: Benjamin, Josiah, George, Elisha, Eliza, Jane, Richard, Rachel, Josephine and William, and for a long time I thought that was all. Who wouldn’t? Isn’t ten enough? The eleventh died in infancy: Josephine’s twin, who lies in a grave in Terpenning Family Ground next to his grandparents Zachariah and Elizabeth. He died after six months. Eleven, imagine. Raised in the country, they thrived and swarmed to Brooklyn.

1865: “Genetta” is head of household, and listed as “md.” In 1875 “Jennet” is listed as “wid.” The explanation: the NYS censuses do not have a means of specifying “div.” I got a hold of the blank forms.

1875: Jennet’s house is listed as “frame,” value $800. Other houses in the area are worth $2000, $1500, $1000, $3000. Most are frame; one or two are brick.

Finally, by comparing the neighbors in the three censuses, I can tell the family lived in the same neighborhood for the thirty years. Apparently Cornelius and Jannette raised their nine kids in a little house on the Turnpike, a frame house. Like a shoemaker whose kids have no shoes, stone mason Cornelius had a wooden house.


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