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1840 Census Omissions

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: 1840 Census Omissions Reply with quote

While Concordia area was first settled in 1838, names of some of these original pioneers do not appear in the 1840 census. According to Young’s History of Lafayette County, “Those who entered land in Lafayette County in the years 1838 to 1850, according to the original entry book in the recorder’s office, were: Friedrich Dierking, 1838; Friedrich Frerking, 1838; Friedrich Thremann [Thiemann?], 1838; Christian Dierking, 1840; Conrad Stuenkel, 1840 and 1847; Heinrich Franke, 1840 and 1847; Heinrich Bruns, 1840 and 1842;…” [followed by a number of names after 1840]. Rodewald, et. al Descending Love, Ascending Praise Appendix D includes a more detailed listing of land purchases, including specific dates. Other names of people purchasing land by 1840 include Ferdinand Bruns (Aug. 8, 1839), Frederick Niemeyer (Aug. 6, 1839), Christian Oetting (June 18, 1839) and Frederick Stuenkel (Dec. 21, 1840).

The Freedom Township area was included as part of Lexington Township in the 1840 census. Only three of the names above, namely Henry Bruns, Conrad Stuenkel, and Friedrich Dierking, are obvious in the records as show in the first excerpt below. It is difficult to match families in these early census records because only the head of the household is listed by name and the rest of the family only tabulated by age groups.

Various reasons are given why the census taker may miss some people or names cannot be found in the records.
1) Because of the isolation of the people in those early years on the frontier, others in the area may not have known they were living there (although there was a record that they purchased property). Eastern Lafayette County at that time was very sparsely populated and roads were almost non-existent, so the enumerator could not simply ride up and down the roads to locate all of the residences.
2) There are frequent spelling errors in the early records. Names were given verbally and recorded by the census taker phonetically, which gave rise to some misspellings particularly with an English speaking person recording a German name.
3) The person or family may still have been in the process of moving and not yet settled in a new location.

The handwritten census records for Lafayette County in that year were not dated, but the census was normally taken sometime between late spring and early fall. Since Frederick Stuenkel’s land was purchased on Dec. 21, 1840, it is reasonable to exclude him. Friedrich Frerking’s purchase was recorded on June 5, 1840, possibly after the enumerator canvassed the area. However, Conrad Stuenkel’s purchase is listed as June 13, 1840 and he is included in the census.

Henry Bruns, Conrad Stuenkel, and Friedrich Dierking owned land adjacent to each other so this would explain why they are listed together in the census. Friedrich Frerking’s land was just east of Henry Bruns, but it is possible he may not yet have settled there since his wife and young son had just arrived in the US shortly before then. The land purchased by Friedrich Niemeyer was a few miles west of Friedrich Dierking, his brother-in-law, with whom he immigrated on the 1838 Burmah voyage. The census taker may not have located his farm. On the other hand, since Niemeyer was a man of moderate means back in Germany, Robert Frizzell (p. 33-34 of Independent Immigrants) hypothesized that he worked in St. Louis for a while to obtain funds in order to buy the land. So, while he purchased the land in 1839, it may have been some time before he moved to Lafayette County. A similar argument might also be made for the absence of Ferdinand Bruns, another brother-in-law of Dierking, whose property was adjacent to Niemeyer’s and was purchased two days later.

Frizzell (pg 79) also explains that the land entry for “Christian Dierking” was actually for Friedrich Dierking’s 14 year old daughter Christine. So she would have been included in the census listing for Friedrich.

Heinrich Franke was quite young when he purchased his land, only 19 years of age in 1839. His second land purchase in May 1840 was directly north of Henry Bruns land so one would expect that he would be contacted by the census taker if he was living there by then. Is this the “Lucy(?) Franky” entry shown in the first clip below? The count includes a male between 15 and 20; but it also includes a male and female between 20 and 30, a female between 50 and 60, and two young female children under 5. Were they all part of the same family and the mother(?) listed as the head of the household?

Christian Oetting’s land was several miles southeast of present day Concordia. His daughter Marie was baptized at St. Paul’s in 1840, so he must have been living in the area at the time of the census. Is he the “Christen (?)ing” at the end of the first clip below? The 30-40 age grouping would match him and his wife; however, there is also a male and female in the 20-30 age group. Could he have had some relatives living with him at that time?

Finally, the entry for Friedrich Thiemann is probably that shown in the second clip below. The “Teamon” spelling is phonetically close and the entry is listed next to those of his neighbors.

1840CensusExcerpt(pg 148).jpg
Excerpt from page 148 of the 1840 Lafayette Co.,Lexington Township records. (Identified as Freedom Township in the margin.) Lists Henry Bruns, Conrad Stuenkel, Friedrich Dierking, and Lucy(?) Franky (Franke?).
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1840CensusExcerpt(pg 148).jpg

1840CensusExcerpt(pg 147).jpg
Excerpt from page 147 of the 1840 Lafayette Co.,Lexington Township records. (Identified as Freedom Township in the margin.) Friedrich Thieman's name was apparently misspelled as 'Teamon'.
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1840CensusExcerpt(pg 147).jpg

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