30 March 2015

How Do You Know Who Those Tic Marks Are?

It can be difficult in pre-1850 United States census records to know to whom reference is made in various age category tick marks.

Usually the person listed as the head of the household is the oldest male shown in the enumerator's tick marks. However there are potential exceptions:

  • a widowed female is the head of household and the oldest male is her underaged son or the oldest male is her aged father or father-in-law who may not actually be the actual "functional" head of household but is still living in the household
  • the oldest male is the father or father-in-law of a younger male in the household and that younger male is the actual head of household
We'll have a future post about "Grandma and Grandpa" hiding in the pre-1850 census tick marks.