Disproving Same Alexander – Census Records

I’m struggling with ‘same name’ issues. Particularly in regards to Alexander Crawford. I believe there are two different Alexander Crawfords.

  • Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1788 and likely lived in Pulaski County, Kentucky
  • Alexander Crawford, son of Rev. James Crawford of Fayette County, Kentucky and grandson of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters

Other researchers disagree with me. Thus, I’m on a quest to locate documentation to hopefully resolve this issue.

Today, I’m working with census records. Since these are all pre-1850 census listings, they can’t be depended upon to prove family relations. However, they can help establish places of residency.

Using the family information for Rev. James Crawford from the book Descendants of Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford, I can determine approximate ages for the various census years.

NameBirth YearDeath YearSexAge 1810Age 1820Age 1830Age 1840
Rev James Crawford17521803m    
Rebecca McPheeters17551830f556575 
Martha Crawford17751831f354555 
Alexander Crawford17821845m28384858
Mary Crawford1784f26364656
Elizabeth Crawford17891845f21314151
Sarah Crawford18011841f9192939
Rebecca Crawford18051830f5152535

Using the above chart, I can then look at the census records for Fayette County and compare the tick marks to potential family members.

In the 1810 census for Fayette County, Kentucky (where Rev. James Crawford lived), I was able to find a Rebecka Crawford as the head of household on the census with 12 total people in the household:

  • Free white males 26-44: 1 – son – Alexander Crawford – age 29
  • Free white females 10-15: 1 – daughter Rebecca Crawford – wrong age – she would have been 5
  • Free white females 16-25: 3 – daughters Sarah age 9, Elizabeth age 21, Mary age 26
  • Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Rebecca Crawford
  • Number of slaves: 6
  • number of household members under 16: 1
  • Number of household members over 25: 2
  • number of household members: 12

In the 1820 census for Fayette County, Kentucky, I was able to find Alexander Crawford listed as a 26-44 year old male head of household.

  • Males 26-44 — 1 – Alexander age 38
  • Females 16-25: 2 – sisters Sarah age 19 / Rebecca age 15
  • Females 26-44: 2 – sister Mary age 36 / Mother Rebecca age 65
  • Slaves – Males 26-44: 2
  • Slaves Female under 14:5
  • Slaves Female 14-25: 2
  • number of persons engaged in agriculture: 3
  • Free White persons over 25: 4
  • total free white persons: 6
  • Total Slaves: 9

Alexander Crawford again appeared as the head of household in the 1830 census for Fayette County, Kentucky.

  • Males 40-49: 1- Alexander age 48
  • Females 20-29: 1 – sister – Rebecca age 25
  • Females 30-39: 2 – Sisters Sarah age 29, Mary age 46
  • Females 70-79: 1 – Mother Rebecca age 75
  • Free colored persons Females 24-35: 1
  • Slaves Males 24-35: 1
  • Slaves Males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves Females under 10: 3
  • Slaves Femlaes 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Females 24-35: 2
  • Free white persons 20-49: 4
  • Total Free white persons: 5
  • Total Slaves: 14
  • Total free colored persons: 1

The 1840 census of Fayette County, Kentucky also lists Alexander Crawford as a head of household.

  • Males 50-59: 1 – Alexander age 58
  • Females 30-39: 1 – Sister Rebecca age 35
  • Females 40-49: 1 – Sister Sarah age 39 or Mary age 56
  • Free colored persons – males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves males under 10: 9
  • Slaves males 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves Females under 10: 7
  • Slaves Females 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Females 36-54: 2
  • Persons employed in agriculture: 4
  • No. white persons over 20 who cannot read and write: 1
  • Free white persons 20-49: 2
  • Total free white persons: 3
  • Total free colored persons: 1
  • Total slaves; 23
  • Total all persons – free white, free colored, slaves: 27

The above census records support an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, Kentucky between 1820 and 1840. Although there are a few discrepancies, the tick marks appear to line up with the Rev. James Crawford family structure. Thus, there is support – but not definitive proof – for the theory that the Alexander Crawford in these census records is the son of Rev. James Crawford.

If there are two separate Alexander Crawfords, then there should be a second set of census records. I used the information I had compiled on the family of Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County, Kentucky to create a similar table showing ages of the family members in the various census records.

NameBirth YearDeath YearSexAge 1810Age 1820Age 1830
Alexander Crawford17671823 / 1838m435363
Margaret McElwee17661832f445464
Adams Crawford17891869m213141
Andrew Crawford17911878m192939
Martha Crawford1801f91929
John A. Crawford18031838m71727
Shelby Crawford18051870m51525
Harrison Crawford18081870m21222

Unfortunately, the census records for Alexander Crawford in Pulaski County, Kentucky are more difficult to line up with these known family members. In the 1810 census, this could be explained if one of the sons and his family was also living in the household

  • Free males under 10: 4 – ? grandsons?
  • Free males 10-15: 3 – sons John, Harrison, Shelby
  • Free males 16-25: 1- son Adams or Andrew
  • Free males: 45 and over: 1- Alexander
  • Free females under 10: 1unknown
  • Free Females 10-15: 2 — ? granddaughters?
  • Free females 10-15: 2 – unknown
  • Free females 16-25: 1 – daughter Martha or wife of Adams or Andrew
  • Free females 26-44: 1 – wife Margaret
  • Number of household members under 16: 10
  • Number of household members over 25: 2
  • Number of household members: 14

The 1820 census of Pulaski County, Kentucky showing an Alexander Crawford is even more confusing. If this is the same family, then Alexander likely has at least one if not two daughters-in-law living with him along with several grandchildren.

  • Free white males under 10: 2 – ? grandsons
  • Free white males 10-15: 2 – ? grandsons
  • Free white males 45 and over: 1 – Alexander Crawford
  • Free white females under 10: 1 – ? granddaughter
  • Free white females 10-15: 1 – ? granddaughter
  • Free white females 16-25: 2 – daughter Martha Crawford and 1 daughter-in-law or 2 daughters-in-law
  • Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Margaret McElwee Crawford
  • Free white persons under 16: 6
  • Free white persons over 25: 2
  • total free white persons: 10
  • Total all persons: 10

A search of the 1830 Pulaski County, Kentucky census for Crawford does not include an Alexander Crawford in the results.

This study of Kentucky census records does support

  • an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, KY at the same time as an Alexander Crawford lived in Pulaski County, KY.
  • the Rev. James Crawford family unit living in Fayette County under the name of Rebecka Crawford in 1810 and Alexander Crawford in 1820, 1830 and 1840.

Since the Pulaski County, Kentucky census records are hard to match up with the family unit of Alexander Crawford and Margaret McElwee, it is hard to conclude that the Alexander Crawford shown in these records is the husband of Margaret McElwee.

Thus, I need to locate more records to support my position that these are two different Alexander Crawfords.

1950 Kansas Census

Are you eagerly awaiting the release of the 1950 census? If you follow Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings blog, then you may have seen his challenge to identify members of our ancestral families that will be in the 1950 United States census.

Although it will be interesting to see the household configurations in the 1950 census, there is census data available for that time period — IF the person lived in Kansas. Yes, that’s correct, one can find census data for Kansas thru 1961. This information can be found in Ancestry’s collection: Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961.

Since all of my ancestral lines were in Kansas prior to 1919, this collection has proven to be very helpful.

For example, my great-grandmother, Josie Crawford was living in Dodge City in 1950. Thus, I did a search of the collection for a Josie Crawford living in Ford County, Kansas.


Since I didn’t select ‘exact’ for Josie’s first name, the results included Josie, Jessie and even J Frank. However, at the top of the list was one Josie Crawford.

Clicking on the link to Josie took me to a screen giving her information and a link to the image.

Clicking on the image shows the household of my grandfather, Leon Crawford. In this household was my grandfather, my grandmother, Winnie, my great-grandmother, Josie, and my uncle, Leon, Jr.

Using this collection of Kansas census records, I have been able to find my grandparents and all of my great-grandparents living in 1950. This includes the following:

  • Edward O. Briles (often listed as E O Briles) living in Emporia, Kansas
  • Edward G. Briles listed in the 1948 census in Yates Center Kansas
  • Charles Mentzer living in Neosho Falls between 1946 and 1949 and then living in Emporia in 1953

With my Kansas heritage, this set of records has been very helpful. If you have relatives living in Kansas between 1919 and 1961, be sure to check out this collection: Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961!

Reporting Census Extraction Issue

Do you just rely on Ancestry’s record information for census records prior to 1850? Or do you locate an extraction form for the census year to verify the interpretation of the check marks?

I have to admit that I often just use the information provided by Ancestry. I’m not sure why I decided to locate an extraction form and record the census information for myself today. However, I’m glad I did since I think the Ancestry record had one piece of information incorrect.

I was researching Isaac Crawford of Jefferson County, Indiana. I suspected he was living in Jefferson County in 1820 but hadn’t obtained a census record to support that suspicion. So, I searched Ancestry and was able to locate a record for Isaac Crawford in Jefferson County, Indiana.

The census image for Isaac Crawford also included Will Crawford a few lines up.

Wanting to record the information for both families, I opened my 1820 extraction form and recorded the information on my spreadsheet.

One of the things I noticed was that Will was engaged in agriculture while Isaac was engaged in manufacturing. Suspecting the two men were brothers, this puzzled me. 
When I looked back at the record for Isaac, it didn’t say anything about manufacturing. Instead, it indicated a slave under 14. 
I scanned the images to try and find an image with headings at the top. Unfortunately, none of the 25 images I scanned has headings at the top of the image.

After double-checking my extraction, I decided to report the issue to Ancestry. On the record screen, there is a link on the left to ‘Report Issue’.

I clicked on that link. On the reporting screen, I selected ‘Inaccurate Information’ as the issue I wanted to report.

On the next screen, I entered how I thought the information needed to be corrected.

What happens next will be determined by Ancestry. If Ancestry determines that there was an error, then my time will have been worth it. The ultimate goal is to have accurate information.