Casefile Clues

06 June 2012

Looking for Theodore and Margaret Hoontes in Clinton County, New York 1925 and 1940

Ancestry.com recently released the 1925 New York State Census along with the New York State index to the 1940 census index. Based upon this double offering, I decided it was time to try and find Theodore and Margaret (Demar/Desmarais) in Clinton County in those two years.

It was not as easy as typing their names in the search boxes.

It took some doing--finding them in 1940 was accomplished by searching for individuals with a last name of Hoo* in Clinton County, New York. This did the trick based upon how the name of Hoontes was read in the 1940 enumeration. Note that a soundex search for Hoontes would not catch this spelling as the "n" has been read as an "a."

Screen shot of "record" for Theodore Hooatis on Ancestry.com as of 6 June 2012 from Ancestry.com's 1940 census index.

The Hoontes' are enumerated at 92 Bridge Street in Plattsburgh, New York. I tried searching for Greek natives living in Clinton County, New York, but got no results that appeared to be Hoontes. This was because neither he nor Margaret have a place of birth included in their enumeration.
1940 Census Enumeration, Theodore A. and Margaret E. Hoontes.
Searching based on place of birth is only helpful if the people gave the correct information--or any information at all.

Finding them in the 1925 New York State Census  was not difficult once I decided to search for Hoo* as a last name in Clinton County, New York. Theodore's name was read as Pheodore. I can see how this happened based upon the image, but it really seems to me that "unusual" first names, that differ from more common first names by one letter should be double-checked for accuracy at some point in the process.

The actual image from 1925 shows how Pheodore was interpreted as the first name. I still think it's a pretty easy thing to see it as Theodore, but maybe that's just me.

Until there are lots of user-submitted corrections, searchers will have to be clever on using these new databases.

And of course, manual searches can still be done.

The citizenship status and immigration dates for Hoontes are interesting. We'll be discussing those in an upcoming Casefile Clues article.

Note: All of these screen shots were taken in the morning of 6 June 2012.