Which Ancestor Is Found in the Most Censuses?

Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman, my 2x great grandmother appears in eight U.S. census records (missing in 1910, which would be nine), although in the first in 1840, she is a child enumerated as a member of the household.

Sarah Moriah Crouse was born 7 May 1833 in Keswick, York, New Brunswick, Canada, the fourth of five children born to Peter Crouse and Rebecca Jones, both children of Loyalists. She had three brothers, Elias, Dean and Samuel, born about 1827, 1829 and 1831, respectively, but each died fairly young. Elias died during the 1860s, but as far as I can tell had no Civil War service. Dean was gone by 1870 and Samuel by 1880. Sarah also had one younger sister, Mary Elizabeth, born about 10 February 1836. I believe Mary Elizabeth was a daughter of Peter Crouse, although he died about the time she was born.

Sarah’s mother, with five young children, soon remarried to Benjamin Blyther and the family moved to Calais, Maine. This was Benjamin’s second marriage, too, and he was about 15 years older than Rebecca, so they raised a blended family, to use a modern-day term.

Here is Sarah’s first census appearance:

Benjamin “Belyther”, entry #4

Benjamin “Belyther” was head of a household with wife Rebecca likely the oldest female, six younger males and four younger females. The female enumerated as aged 5-10 would be Sarah.

By 1850, Benjamin and Rebecca had added four more daughters to their family – Martha, Helen, Ruth and Henrietta. As Sarah was so young when Peter Crouse died, Benjamin was likely the only father she ever knew; she and her siblings were listed as Blyther children. By 1850, she was seventeen years old and this is the last census in which she would appear in her parents’ home.

Sarah married neighbor William Coleman on 6 February 1855 in Calais, Washington, Maine.

By 1860, William and Sarah were the parents of Mary Adelaide, 4, and William Edgar, 10 months. What the census record doesn’t show is that one child had died in infancy – Alvin D., born 27 November 1857 died 16 April 1858.

ColemanWilliam1860 CensusCalais
William & Sarah Coleman, 1860

William and Sarah lived next door to William’s parents, Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Coleman and two doors from Sarah’s Blyther family.

By 1870, the Coleman family had grown and they were still living in Calais. Sons Samuel Jones and Hartwell Thomas Coleman were the two youngest children.

William & Sarah Coleman, 1870

William was no longer a farm laborer, as he was in 1860, he was now a steamboat captain and the family had moved into the city of Calais from the rural Red Beach section of town.

By 1880, William was a tugboat master and eldest child, Mary Adelaide was married and in her own household.

William & Sarah Coleman, 1880

The mortality schedule for 1880 lists Ethel H. Coleman, daughter of William and Sarah, dying that year. Ethel was born 30 December 1873 and died 15 March 1880 of croup. She was buried with her infant brother, Alvin. My grandmother, Hazel Ethel Coleman, was named in memory of her father’s little sister, Ethel.

1900 was the last census that would enumerate William and Sarah as husband and wife, as William died in 1905.

William & Sarah Coleman, 1900

Their children were grown and married; youngest son Hartwell was living at home with his extended family also in their household. By 1900, Sarah was 67 years old. She reported giving birth to six children with three surviving. That is because daughter Mary Adelaide had died in January 1895, leaving a husband, George Redding, and eight young children. Sadly, George had died in November 1899, which meant their orphaned children were divided among relatives. The last family member in their 1900 household was grandchild Rebecca Redding, aged 8 years old.

Sarah has not been found in the 1910 census, the first after the death of her husband, William Coleman. I suspect that she might have been in New Brunswick, visiting family members as she is not living with families of sons Edgar, Jones or Hartwell, nor is she found living alone. She is not enumerated in the 1911 Canadian census, either.

By 1920, Sarah is living with widowed son Hartwell and granddaughter Hazel in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts. For the first time, her age is incorrect. She is listed as being 80 years old, when, in fact, she was 87. I wonder if Hazel, my grandmother, was the informant on this census and she didn’t know exactly how old Sarah was?

Hartwell, Hazel and Sarah Coleman, 1920

In 1930, at the start of the Depression, Hartwell was back living in Calais. He had remarried to Sadie Staples Boone, who had a young daughter, Doris. The three of them lived together along with Sarah M. Coleman, enumerated as 96 years old. She would turn 97 years old just eleven days after the census taker came around and this would be her last census listing.

Sarah M. Coleman, 1930

Sarah was the center of a family photo that was taken near the end of her life:

Sarah M. Coleman, c1930

Sarah, seated, is surrounded by son Hartwell, standing directly behind her, and other family members. The picture was taken either in Calais, Maine or possibly at grandson Hazen Coleman’s house in Massachusetts, as Hazen’s son, Floyd, is standing at his great grandmother’s side.

Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman died on 18 October 1930 and was buried next to the three children who had gone before her and her husband, William.


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