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Rhonda's Tips: Genealogy Questions Answered
by Rhonda R. McClure

July 26, 2001
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Farm Schedules

Q: In checking the 1920 census the other day I found that my grandpa was a farmer on a rent farm. It had reference to a farm schedule - #4. Have not seen it anywhere and do not know the meaning. Can you help me? He lived in Ohio. -- Lucy

A: Farm schedules were another type of enumeration that was taken at the same time as the population schedules we are more familiar with. It was one of the non-population schedules taken every ten years.

In addition to the sheets the enumerators used to record the names of the individuals living in the household, they also had other sheets. As questions asked in the normal population schedule fell into the criteria of one of these other schedules, the enumerator would then enter the individual or household on the appropriate schedule.

Some of these other schedules include:

  • Indian schedules
  • Farm schedules
  • Mortality schedules
  • Manufacture schedules
  • Unemployment schedule (in 1930)

As an individual is included on a schedule, especially the Farm schedule, that identity number was included on the population schedule. The number assigned to an individual on the farm schedule was just the next numerical entry on the sheets.

In the case of the farm schedules, they were intended to record the information about the crops, acreage, and animals of the farm. You will find no additional information about the owner of the farm and his family in regard to personal identity if you were to find the farm schedule.

Unfortunately, the farm schedules for the 1920 census no longer exist. Surviving farm schedules can usually be found on microfilm or through a state historical society or archive.

Passenger List Annotations

Q: I have been researching my ancestors through Ellis Island's online database, and while I found my grandfather along with tons of very welcome information, I also found what appears to be a reference number. Ellis Island apparently does not list detainees in the online database. I do know that my grandfather had some sort of back deformity, so I am assuming that this number (22x2A 251-505-3/4/42) refers to his being kept under observation. Unfortunately, everyone in my family who would know has expired. -- Tommi

A: On the passenger lists, there are two types of annotations. There are the ones that were recorded at the time of arrival and then those that were recorded much later. Those recorded at the time of arrival were generally to clarify something or dealt with something that took place at the time of arrival, such as being detained. Others were recorded much later and often had to do with some type of a verification.

In your case, while you did not say so, I suspect that the number is found beginning in the occupation column. Such numbers have to do with the naturalization process. The notation was the result of a verification of his entry into the country. This most often took place when an immigrant was applying for citizenship. A Certificate of Arrival was generated by INS to verify his arrival and that certificate was then sent to the court where the alien applied for citizenship.

The annotation tells you a little bit about that verification. First the 22 tells you the request came from naturalization district 22. The x tells you there was no fee required for the Certificate of Arrival. The 2A 251 pertain to either a regular verification for naturalization or some other type of naturalization. The type of naturalization record is difficult to tell given the information you supplied. It would actually require viewing the original record. The 505 was the verification form used to supply the information to the INS office that made the original request. Finally, 3/4/42 tells you that the verification check was done on 4 March 1942.

Unfortunately there is no way to know from just this code when your ancestor first applied for citizenship or when he was eventually naturalized.

Other Ports of Arrival

Q: Once I have determined that my ancestor did not come through Ellis Island, where do you suggest I look? She came over in 1867. Ellis Island was not in operation during that time. I don't remember why they weren't but I remember they weren't. -- Don

A: First, the answer to where Ellis Island was in 1867. Ellis Island did not open until 1892. Before that, while many immigrants came through the port in New York City, it was not through Ellis Island. If they did indeed come through New York City, then it is most likely that they came through Castle Garden.

You did not mention how you have verified that your ancestor did not come through Ellis Island in 1867. This is during the unindexed period for the New York City passenger lists.

In addition to the port of New York..., though, there are a number of other ports along the eastern seaboard where your ancestor may have entered the United States. These include Boston, Massachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is also possible that your ancestor may have traveled first to Canada and then entered the United States from there.

You should probably start your research by looking for a naturalization record that may supply you with more details as to the exact date of arrival, the ship traveled on, and the port of arrival. This would make your research much easier. You will also want to search the microfilmed indexes for those other ports.

Civil War Soldier

Q: My great-grandfather wrote in his journal and also it was mentioned in his obituary that he served in the Civil War. However, I cannot find him listed. He enlisted April 16,1861 Waukegan, IL. Private in H company, 11th Illinois Infantry according to his journal. His name was Ithamar H. Buttrick. Can anybody tell me where to search next. -- Arlene

A: You did not indicate what records you have searched already in your attempt to verify that Ithamar H. Buttrick was in the Civil War.

One thing that I suspect you have not done is to search the reports of the Illinois State Adjutant General. These are usually arranged in order of regiments and companies. These reports include rosters of both officers and enlisted men.

You will also want to see what other records, such as discharge certificates, might be available through the Family History Library. The Adjutant General's reports are available on microfilm and may be ordered to your local Family History Center.