The 1900 Census got the Menaud’s all wrong

The 1900 Census got the Menaud’s all wrong

I missed this entry in the 1900 Census for several years.  I was looking for Romain and Madeleine Menaud, with daughter. Mary Lacazette (from Madeleine’s first marriage).  But, they were nowhere to be found.  It took learning more about the family to root them out.

The Menaud surname is rare in California in 1900.  Even more so in Fresno where my Menaud’s live.  They are the only ones.

This census snapshot gives an idea of how far off the enumerator was:


The names aren’t even close.  Robrot (or Robert?) should be Romain.  M. unk should be Madeleine.  Mary Lacazype or whatever it is should be Mary Lacazette.  The only one that is correct is Romain’s daughter, Leona Menaud.

If I hadn’t done extensive research on this family to learn that both Romain and Madeleine were divorce and had children from those marriages, I might not have found the census record.  The indexes were of no help until I unearthed Leona Menaud in a newspaper article about Romain’s divorce.  If I didn’t have that bit of information, I would have had to go through the Fresno census page by page.  A task I have done before and don’t relish doing again.

It makes me wonder who gave the information.  It couldn’t have been Romain, Madeleine, Mary, or Leona.  They should have known their own names.  Romain and Madeleine had been married only a couple of months prior to the census.  She was from San Francisco.  It’s possible that she was unknown around town and maybe even to her neighbors.  That would explain her being identified as “M. Unk.”  But what about Romain?  He had lived in Fresno since 1872.  He was one of the early settlers of the city.  He was an investor and in 1900 census is listed as a Capitalist.  He should have been well known anywhere he went in area.  Yet, whoever gave the information seemed to think his name was Robert.  I have no other information showing that he was was called by that name.  Raymond was the only other name he was referred to.

This is another example of how indexes can fail us and why we must collect as many sources as possible about the people we are researching.  Not only do we fill in the family’s story but we learn clues to help us with future searches.

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