Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lying To The Census Taker


     Upstate New York, 47 degrees ( expletive deleted) and raining.  I was going to go out and work in my badly neglected garden this morning, but it looks like I will be doing some genealogy instead.  I'm still working on getting my research notes on Russell Galloway together to send to the historian and was looking through my list of his children when I realized I know very little about his twin sons Edwin and Edward.  I'm not even sure if they were identical or not.  I checked the Lake Shore News on Ancestry and found this--

Lake Shore News Aug 29 1889
In Wolcott at the residence of her uncle, Mr. Edwin Galloway, Aug 21st, Mrs. Mattie M. Bonhotal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Galloway of Buffalo, aged 17 years and 7 months.

     That was a surprise, I didn't know Edward had moved to Buffalo -- he did later return to the Wolcott area and is buried in Wolcott, New York with the rest of his family.  I also didn't know his daughter Mattie (Martha) married and died at such a young age.  The 1880 census shows Edward in Butler, New York in Wayne County:

Edward Galloway 30 laborer
Alice Galloway     26
Martha Galloway     8
Jane Galloway     6
Fred Galloway     3

    Ancestry includes Edward in the index for Buffalo in the 1892 NY census, but the link goes to the wrong page...he's not on it,  I do believe he was in Buffalo at that time however, since Mattie's obituary places him there in 1889.  Then in the 1900 census, there he is on Breckenridge Street in Buffalo.  I am sure it's him-- Edward Galloway, along with his wife Alice and his youngest child Fred.  All the ages match up, and it even says Alice was the mother of 3, with 2 still living, since poor Mattie had died back in '89.  Everything is as it should be until you look at the birthplaces with the incredible assertion  Edward's father was born in Scotland and his mother in Connecticut???!!!  

     How did the census taker get that so wrong?  Did Alice give mistaken information?  That's not too likely, she must have met her in-laws.  Perhaps Fred was the informant??  But he certainly knew his grandfather.  Did a neighbor give the information?  Also not likely since all the other information was spot-on.  Was Edward pranking the enumerator, had he just had a few nips?  I'm at a loss, but upon further reflection, I've always believed the Galloway's were originally from Scotland, though from other census records I know Edward's father and grandfather were both born in the USA.  His maternal grandmother was born in Connecticut as were her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents but census records show Edward's mother was born in New York where she married his father.  So from whence came this mix-up?  

     If I had to take a guess I would consider the possibility that Edward's paternal side was indeed from Scotland and his mother's line from very early Connecticut and Edward was having a little fun with Mr. Ranney the census man that day in 1900.


  1. Ellie, maybe Edward provided his parent's 'origins' as opposed to their actual birthplace.and this could be a confirmation of your hunch! I too had a great-grandaunt who, as a once-off, wrote Scotland as the birthplace of her father, when I 'know' but can't prove he was Irish.

    1. Hi Dara! That's what I'm thinking. Your aunt on the other hand?? My g.g. grandfather on the other side once claimed his father was from France, (definitely not) who knows what they were thinking?