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

April 19, 2001
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Understanding Census Questions

Q: Can you explain to me what the numbers in the Column "Age Ranges" are on the MA 1800 Census Index? No one seems to be able to decode the two strings of numbers in the "Age Ranges" column. -- Ron

A: It is not uncommon to see a string of numbers, usually separated in the middle with a space, after the name of the individual in indexes to the pre-1850 censuses.

First, so that others understand what we are discussing, an entry may look like:

Robert Ayers 21010 11200

To decipher these numbers, it is necessary to understand the original form used by the enumerators during 1800 when they canvassed the country recording this information. The first set of numbers deals with the free white males in the household. The second set of numbers deals with the free white females.

Each of digits in the above number represents an age range. Notice that in each case, there are five numbers. These numbers correspond in order to the following five age ranges:

  • Under ten years of age
  • Of ten and under sixteen
  • Of sixteen and under twenty-six, including heads of families
  • Of twenty-six and under forty-five, including heads of families
  • Of forty-five and upwards, including heads of families

Using the example above, the household of Robert Ayers had 2 boys under 10, 1 boy age 10 to 16, and 1 male adult age 26 to 45. For the females there was 1 girl under the age 10, 1 girl age 10 to 16, and 2 women age 16 to 26.

U.S. Military Buried in England

Q: I am trying to locate the name of the cemetery in England where the U.S. soldiers were buried during World War II. I would like to have the name and location in England. A friend of mine has offered to take a picture of my brother-in-laws headstone but I do not know where to tell him to go. -- Cheryl

A: The American Battle Monuments Commission is in charge of the burials of the 134,548 American servicemen and women buried in overseas cemeteries. Unfortunately not every serviceman that fought overseas is buried in one of the cemeteries with a headstone. The more than 78,000 servicemen whose remains have not been recovered are listed on the Tablets of the Missing. The Tablets of the Missing are at each of the overseas cemeteries as well as on the East Coast and West Coast Memorials in the U.S. You can write to the commission directly.

You will receive information about the exact location of your brother-in-law's grave or his listing on the Tablet of the Missing. You can also request a photograph of the cemetery with the veteran's marker or his name on the Tablet of the Missing superimposed.

You can contact the commission at:

American Battle Monuments Commission Operations
200 Massachusetts Ave.
Room 5127 Casmir Pulaski Building
Washington, DC 20314-0001

You mentioned that your brother-in-law is buried in England. The American Cemetery in England is the Cambridge American Military Cemetery, Cotton Cambridge C83 7PH, England, UK. When contacting them from the United States, you will want to use this address: Cambridge American Cemetery, Box 882 PSC 47, APO AE 09470. This cemetery has 3,812 American soldiers buried there and another 5,126 that are listed on the Tablets of the Missing. Most of these soldiers were involved in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Researching in Indiana

Q: I would like info on Charlie Ewing, born in Brownstown Indiana, 1-19-1866. His parents are James & Susan B. Ewing. She dies 9 days after his birth. Thanks. If you will tell me how or where to search I will find it. -- Kathleen

A: You will find that most information on our ancestors is found by researching in county records. You know where Charlie was born. Since his mother died just after his birth, it is likely that she will be buried somewhere in that county, even perhaps the town of Brownstown.

Genealogical and historical societies across the country have spent many hours through the years transcribing and extracting cemetery records which they publish. Some of these are now even available on the Web. You may want to check Genealogy Library to see what they have available in their subscription databases.

You may also want to see what the local genealogical society has. Many of these societies now have Web sites. I would suggest that you begin with seeing if they have an online site, and if so, what books they have published.

To find out more about the family as a whole, I would encourage you to begin with the 1870 census. It is likely you will find Charlie with his father. As was often the case when a small child lost his mother, it is possible that the father remarried. The 1870 census will help you with when and where James Ewing was born.

You will also want to think about looking for marriage records for James and Susan. Again, these records are usually found on the county level. And they are another resource that societies are often publishing, at least in the form of an index to the marriage records. Since many of these are often organized at the county courthouse under the last name of the groom only, such indexes are useful when researching the marriages of daughters in a given family.

Many of these records may be available through your local library if they have a good genealogy department. And there is always the Family History Library and its many branch Family History Centers. Through your local Family History Center, you will have access to most of the microfilm holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.


Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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