16 December 2014

One Samuel Twice Not Two Samuels Once in 1820

The 1820 Census Index at Ancestry.com indicates that there are two entries for a Samuel Jones in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania's Newport Township.

The household counts are the same and the

Those entries certainly looked the same. A viewing of the entire page indicated that they were both on census page 378.

So why were they coming up twice? Why were there two results and two images for Samuel Jones?

Viewing the Ancestry.com "source" for the two Samuels started to get at the actual problem.

The image numbers were different--they differed by two.

When I went and manually viewed the census pages for Luzerne Township, I noted that Ancestry.com said there were 7 images for that township. The image numbers and the corresponding census page numbers are shown below.

Newport Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania—Ancestry.com census image number

Actual census page number—taken from census image
Image 1
p. 376 [upper left]
Image 2
p. 378 [upper left]
Image 3
p. 380 [upper left]
Image 4
p. 378 [upper left]
Image 6
p. 380 [upper left]
Image 7
p. 384 [upper left]

Pages 378 and 380 appear twice. This is probably because they were microfilmed twice and appear twice on the NARA microfilm which was used to make the US census images at Ancestry.com.

Looking again more closerly at the two images for Samuel Jones (which were copied directly from Ancestry.com's image with no alteration) makes it clear that one is better than the other. What most likely happened is that the person who microfilmed the census realized that he had made a few "less than optimal" images and so he remicrofilmed those pages. 

There's only one Samuel in Newport Township.

It's not Ancestry.com's fault. 

But it goes to show that as we research we need to think--even after we've seen the image of the record.