April 1, 2009
St. Louis, Missouri (TransDutch News Service) -- The world was stunned yesterday when Charles Claremont of St. Louis, Missouri declared he had found a copy of the 1890 census in his parents’ attic. For years everyone thought the only copy had been destroyed by a combination of fire, water damage, and the government.
“I was cleaning out my parents’ attic when I found all these boxes. When I looked inside I saw all these census forms. I didn’t know at first what they were, but I asked my son, who is fascinated with internet genealogy, and he told me what I had discovered.”
Experts are a little hesitant to declare it an actual copy. As Suzy Sugarbaker, APG explains, “there is no known connection between Mr. Claremont’s ancestors and the Census department, so it is unclear why these boxes would be in his parents’ attic. There is some unusual information on the forms as well. Many names get repeated. There are names of several celebrities who weren’t alive in 1890, such as Shirley Temple, Archibald Alec Leach (better known as Cary Grant), and Britney Spears. However, if this is a forgery, it is a cleverly done forgery, as initial analysis shows that statistically it is a perfect match to the statistics that were generated from the original census."
The statistics are available online, but there are 25 volumes, and the amount of work that one would have had to go through to create this by hand is surely insane. Though some have suggested a well-designed computer program could have simplified the task a bit.
An unidentified source from the US Census Department is elated with the discovery. “The purpose of the census is to derive statistical information. For decades we have had the 25 volumes of statistics without the census forms to back them up. Despite how the census is today used by genealogists and family historians, it isn’t for them that the census was or is done. We are required by the Constitution to do a head count, the names on the forms are irrelevant. Now we have the data that proves the statistics.”
Update!!: I have received word from a source at Ancestry.com that they are aware of Mr. Claremont's 1890 census schedules and they "will be posting them very soon. In only two or three years from now. Or four, or five. Not long."