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.


SNGF: Fearless Female Prompt of the Day

Randy Seaver has asked us to take a prompt from the Fear Females list created by Lisa Alzo for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  I’ve chosen today’s prompt which is to take a family document and write a narrative about it.

My Great Aunt Margaret Jackson married Alfred Fafri sometime in the early 1940s…somewhere.  No one seemed to know when it happened.  As far as I knew, they were always married.  I never met Margaret but remembered Uncle Buster, his life as a Merchant Marine, and that he’d bring us wonderful things like koala stuffed animals from Australia.

It wasn’t until last year when added marriage records for San Francisco to their offerings that I could flesh out Margaret’s story.  I knew that Margaret had been married three times, so I looked for Alfred Fafri in the Groom Index.

The entry shows that Alfred Vernon Fafri married Margaret Mary Nelson 19 Jul 1944 in San Francisco.  Nelson!  This was not a surname I had for Margaret, meaning she had been married four times, not three.

The 1940 US Census fills in the rest of Margaret’s story.  (Click image for larger view)  She was renting a room for $16 on Post Street in San Francisco.  She was going by the name Margaret Nelson and she was divorced.  She had nine years of education.

At the time the census she was unemployed.  She had been working as a waitress in a sandwich shop.  She had no income to report in 1939.  Without being employed, I wonder how she was able to afford the $16 monthly rent?

According to the marriage record, she met up with Alfred Fafri not too long after the census and they were married.  They were married for 28 years,  until Margaret died in 1972.

(It was great for me to find the marriage entry for Margaret.  Up until then I had lost track of her from the 1920 Census when she was with her parents until later city directory information with Alfred.  I know have the 1940 census and I hope to be able to find 1930 soon.)



1940 Census for Hawaii Indexed and Online

Good news! has the 1940 Census index for Hawaii online.  Now you don’t have to muddle through page by page.

A couple of things you should know before jumping in:

  • Names, especially in Hawaii, can be mangled.  I was searching for Seraphin Braga on Oahu.  His first name is indexed as Serphan.  I checked the original census sheet and that’s how it was writing.  It’s best to start with a surname search if you can.
  • Do not use the county field.  You will not get any entries.  For whatever reason, FamilySearch decided not to put the counties in for Hawaii.
  • You can search the district name in the field for cities, towns, etc.  In some areas, no city was listed on the census sheet, but the district is listed.  Use the district.  I believe they are similar to the district names used in the 1930 census.

I did a couple of searches and was able to find the people I had found earlier.  I, also, located Seraphin and his wife, Olympia.  His daughter, Gloria Thom, and her family were on the same page.

I don’t know if this is a complete index.  So, if you don’t find your person the first time, check back.

Now go out there and find some relatives!

Here’s the direct link to the page for Hawaii: