Sunday, December 30, 2007

Research Log: MIDKIFFs in the 1920 Census

I spent some time this morning looking for John Franklin MIDKIFF, Jr. in 1920 U.S. Federal Census (it was his future wife and in-laws, the WESTABYs, that I recently discovered at long last, on the 1920 census). Since John was only an almost-ten-year-old boy, I searched mainly for his father, John Franklin MIDKIFF, Sr. The household should look like this:
John Franklin MIDKIFF - age 49, born Texas
Margie Ethel (TOLLIVER) MIDKIFF - age 32, born Nebraska
Edna Susan MIDKIFF (from John's first marriage) - age 15, born Colorado
Ruth Ethel MIDKIFF - age 11, born Colorado
John Franklin MIDKIFF, Jr. - age 9, born Colorado
Dorothy Zada MIDKIFF - age 5, born Idaho

The family could also include any of the older married children, in-laws, and grandchildren of John, Sr. and his first wife, Ella Lydia WILLIS. They are:

Charles Nathaniel MIDKIFF, Sr. - age 25, born Oklahoma
Marie Marcella (WELLS) MIDKIFF - age 23, born Idaho
Charles Nathaniel MIDKIFF, Jr. - age 3, born Idaho
Edna Marie MIDKIFF - age 1 6/12, born Utah

Myrtle Mary (MIDKIFF) ARTER - age 22, born Oklahoma
James Montgomery ARTER - age c. 31, born Pennsylvania
Agusta Mary ARTER - age 4, born Idaho
possibly Jim-or James-ARTER - details unknown
possibly Edith ARTER - details unknown

Iva Ella (MIDKIFF) HURST - age 17, born Colorado
James L. HURST - age 22, born Nebraska
James N. HURST - age 3/12, born California

I started doing some simple searches on Ancestry.com, but did not get any matches to this family. I have lots more possibilities, but this is just a start. Below are the search terms I used and the subsequent results. I used my Online Research Log to keep track of my research.

john, midkiff, exact search; 45 hits, no matches

john, midkiff, soundex search, birthplace: texas; 3 hits, no matches

john, midkiff, soundex search, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years; 12 hits, no matches

j, midkiff, exact search; 57 hits, no matches

j, midkiff, soundex search, birthplace: texas; 5 hits, no matches

j, midkiff, sounex search, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years; 10 hits, no matches

john, exact search, birthplace: texas; birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, father's birthplace: tennessee, mother's birthplace: illinois; 2 hits, no matches

j,exact search, birthplace: texas; birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, father's birthplace: tennessee, mother's birthplace: illinois; 10 hits, no matches

[blank], exact search, birthplace: texas, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, residence: idaho; 106 hits, no matches

[blank], exact search, birthplace: texas, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, relationship: head; residence: washington; 150 hits, no matches

[blank], exact search, birthplace: texas, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, wife: margie; 18 hits, no matches

[blank], exact search, birthplace: texas, birth year: 1870 +/- 2 years, wife: marg*; 352 hits, no matches

I then went on to try various other children in this household:

dorothy, exact search, birthplace: idaho; birth year: 1914 +/- 2 years, father's birthplace: texas, mother's birthplace: nebraska; 1 hit, no match

john, exact search, birthplace: colorado, birth year: 1910 +/- 2 years, father's birthplace: texas, mother's birthplace: nebraska; 1 hit, no match

john, exact search, birthplace: colorado, birth year: 1910 +/- 2 years, residence: idaho; 17 hits, no matches

john, exact search, birthplace: colorado, birth year: 1910 +/- 2 years, residence: colorado; 90 hits, no matches

john, exact search, birth year: 1910 +/- 2 years, residence: butte county, california; 100 hits, no matches

j, exact search, birth year: 1910 +/- 2 years, residence: butte county, california; 100 hits, no matches

Theories:

1) This family is not on the census at all due to moving around the country (probably from Idaho and/or Utah to Northern California). However, given that it was winter, that probably doesn't make sense.

2) They are on the census, but "Midkiff" is badly mangled in the index...or was written as METCALF(E), a different Soundex code.

3) They are living with other relatives, and I need to look for all adult children and siblings of John and/or his wife, Margie.

2 comments:

Randy Seaver said...

Miriam,

I played around with this for about 30 minutes tonight using the kid's names (using wild cards), birth years +/- 2, birthplace, plus parents names and birthplaces - all in a seemingly random search process -- and came up with nothing remotely close to this family. If they were using their first names, then they are most likely not enumerated.

My Seaver research showed that about 10% were not enumerated in each census - some even if they were in the same address in the census years before and after (e.g., there in 1910, not there in 1920, there in 1930). Just the way it is, I fear.

Randy

Miriam said...

Randy, I really appreciate your time and effort into helping me out! I am 99% sure this family simply wasn't enumerated, but then I've thought the same thing about other families that I later found in censuses! I'm just trying to cover all the bases!

Thank you for your comment.