Rufus Harry Darling in the Censuses

Census Sunday
Darling Research
Darling Line
By Don Taylor


I first looked at the life of Rufus Harry Darling about ten years ago. I briefly looked at him in 2019 and found him “in the news.” Since then, my genealogy database corrupted and I’ve found I need a “do-over” for much of my research. I’ve also learned to enter my findings into Family Search to ensure they will be available for future researchers. Also, my current process includes cleaning up any wrong entries or sources that I might have, assuring my sources are “properly cited,” and confirming what I know is synced to my Ancestry Family Tree and documented on Family Search.

Rufus was born in 1857. His father, Rufus Holton Darling, died when he was about a month old, leaving little Rufus to be raised by his mother alone. He was married twice. He married Ida Ready in 1889; she died in 1898. He remarried Hannah McAllister in 1907 (sometimes, erroneously, said to have married in 1905). He died in 1917. So, I would expect to find Rufus in all of the Census records from 1860 to 1910.



Age 3 – Living with his mother, Elizabeth J Darling; sisters, Mary, Elizabeth, and Emma (Emily); brother, Abner; grandmother, Catherine Swazey; and uncle, Theodore, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Age 13 – Living with his mother (Mrs. R. H.) Darling and sister Emma (Emily) are in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Age 22 – Although he was “away,” he was enumerated with his mother, sisters Kate & Emma (Emily), and niece Kitty at 42 Rose Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

1890 – Not available.[iv]


Age 43 – Rufus was rooming at 5 East 7th Street, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. He had been married for ten years (?) and was working as a traveling salesman. 


Age 47 [sic], Rufus was rooming at the Curtis Hotel, 10th & Broadway, Kansas City, MO. He had been married for five years [sic], had two children [Elizabeth & Robert], and was a stock salesman. 

Although the age is incorrect and the number of years he was married is erroneous, his birthplace, the birthplace of his parents, his number of children, and his occupation are correct. Rufus & Hannah married in 1907; however, they told people they married in 1905 to “legitimize” their daughter Elizabeth. Being married for “5 years” makes this Census record consistent with one document and oral history. Additionally, Rufus was 27 years older than his wife, Hannah. I believe they kept to a story that he was only twice Hannah’s age (22) when they married, as Hannah’s father was very unhappy with the age difference between Hannah and Rufus. 


Although there are several other Rufus H Darlings in various census records, I feel comfortable I have followed Rufus Harry Darling through the census records throughout his life. With this knowledge, I can confirm my other sources regarding his life. 


Some records indicate that Rufus’ first wife, Ida, died in 1898. However, the 1900 Census indicates he was married for ten years. I need to confirm Ida’s death. 

I also need to confirm Rufus’ life events in 25 other sources.


[i] 1860 Census, Various, 1860 Census – Rufus H Darling [sic] – Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan. “United States Census, 1860”, Village of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Page 19, Line 29.

[ii] 1870 Census, Various, 1870 Census – Rufus H Darling – Kalamazoo Village, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Page 100, Line 33.

[iii] 1880 Census, Family Search, 1880 Census – Rufus H Darling – Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan. SD 1; ED 134, Page 15, Line 48.

[iv] The 1890 US Census for Michigan is not among those who survived the fire that destroyed much of the 1890 Census Records. See FamilySearch Wiki for details.

[v] 1900 Census, Various, 1900 Census – Rufus H. Darling – Kansas City,  Ward 3, Jackson County, Missouri. SD 5, ED 21, Sheet 7B, Line 89.

[vi] 1910 Census (NARA, 1910), Various, 1910 – Rufus H Darling – Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. Ward 1 – Sheet 11 A, Line 16.

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