Laurance & Mildred Harmon & the 1920 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One of my normal processes is finding an ancestor during all of the censuses during their lifetime. I had looked for Laurance and Mildred (Swain) Harmon several times, in several ways, without success. Also, a reasonably exhaustive search should explain why I can’t find someone.

In doing an advanced search, it is essential to understand where the family is likely to be and what it should look like.

    1. When Laurance and Mildred were married (1 October 1917), Laurance and his parents, Louis and Lucille Harmon, lived in Gorham. Mildred and her parents, Milton and Emma Swain, lived in Westbrook.[i]
    2. When Laurance enlisted in the Army on 28 August 1918, the young couple lived at 7 Grace Street in Portland.[ii]
    3. The 1922 Portland City Directory lists Lawrence L. and Mildred Harmon living in Westbrook.[iii]

Consequently, I might expect Laurance and Mildred to be living in Portland, Westbrook, or possibly Gorham with Laurance’s parents in 1920.

A review of the 1920 Census records looking for anyone with the surname Harmon or Swain (even Swan) did not reveal any candidates for the Harmon family in the 1920 Census. As such, I’ve come to the conclusion they were not enumerated during the 1920 Census. My alternate source for families for any particular year is City Directories.

City Directories

1919    A review of the 1919 Westbrook City Directory found 13 Harmon households, but none of them appeared to include Laurance.  A review of the 1919 Gorham directory lists Lawrence L Harmon in the US Army. Laurance served from 28 August to 5 December 1918.[iv] Additionally, the 1919 Gorham Directory includes the Gorham Roll of Honor, “a list of the Sons of Gorham who served their Country in the War for Humanity.” Lawrence L Harmon appears on that list.

1921    The 1921 Westbrook City Directory available on Ancestry only includes four pages. Their version jumps from page 100 (Hansen) to page 184 (Welch)[v]. The 1921 Gorham City Directory says that Lawrence L Harmon moved to Westbrook.

1923    Lawrence L and Mildred S Harmon appear in the 1923 Westbrook City Directory (Page 102), living at 23 Chandler Ave.

1924    Laurance and Mildred are not listed in the 1924 Westbrook City Directory. However, The 1924-1925 Gorham City Directory list Lawrence (and Mildred) Harmon as a farmhand that boards at L C Harmon’s Bar Mills rd. Louis C. (and Lucy M.) appear listed with Louis being an employee at SDWCo (S. D. Warren, Co.), home in Portland, but p.o. Westbrook, rfd1.


It is unclear where Mildred and Alton were while Lawrence was in the service in 1918. They likely lived in Gorham in 1920 because the 1921 Gorham Directory wouldn’t have mentioned they had moved to Westbrook if they hadn’t been living in Gorham. Because of this evidence, I believe Laurance and Mildred were in the process of moving during the 1920 Census and were not enumerated. That explains why I haven’t found any evidence of them in the 1920 Census records.


[i] “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 December 2020), Laurence Harmon and Mildred R Swan, 01 Oct 1917; citing Westbrook, Cumberland, Maine, United States, multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm.

[ii] . “Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 March 2018), Laurance Or Lawrence Louis Harmon, 28 Aug 1918; citing Military Service, United States, State Archives, Augusta.

[iii] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989, Portland, Maine – 1922 – Harmon, Lawrence L.

[iv] “Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 March 2018), Laurance Or Lawrence Louis Harmon, 28 Aug 1918; citing Military Service, United States, State Archives, Augusta.

[v] I reported the problem to Ancestry. Hopefully, they will consider redigitizing the book.

Albert Bodge & the 1840 Census

Census Sunday
Blanchard Project
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One of my first process activities in reviewing an ancestor’s life is to follow the individual through all of the available census records. Often this can be difficult, but in the case of Albert Bodge, it was pretty easy.

Albert was born 2 Aug 1838 and died 19 Aug 1897 at the age of 58. The 1890 Census isn’t available, and I found him in the 1880 and 1870 Censuses living in Westbrook. During the 1860 and 1850 Censuses, he lived with his parents, John and Betsey Bodge, in Windham. Other records have indicated he had four siblings, a brother and three sisters.

Searching for the John Bodge family in the 1840 Census was quick and easy.


1840 Census – John Bodge, Head[i]

    • Males Under 5             Apparently[ii] Albert, age 1
    • Males 5 thru 9             Apparently John (Jr.), age 9
    • Males 40 thru 49        John, Age 45
    • Females Under 5         Apparently Louisa, age 4
    • Females 5 thru 9         Apparently Eunice, age 6
    • Females 10 thru 14     Apparently Mary, age 12
    • Females 40 thru 49     Apparently Betsy, age 41

So, the 1840 Census enumerated all of John and Betsy’s children.

Of interest, there were eight Bodge households in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine, during the 1840 Census – Andrew, two Johns, two Thomas’, Josiah, Olive, and William.

John A. Bodge was a single, white male, age 20 to 29, who was apparently married to a female 20 to 29. It will be essential to note the second John Bodge to avoid confusion in future research.


[i] “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2020), John Bodge, Windham, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing p. 447, NARA microfilm publication , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll ; FHL microfilm .

[ii] Because the 1840 Census does not provide relationship information, the relationships identified here are tentative and only “apparent” based upon age and household.

John Parsons, Jr., & the 1810 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

Following families in the early census records is always tricky. Sometimes, it becomes a rabbit hole without a successful resolution.

John Parsons lived in Sandisfield, Mass., during the 1790[i] and 1800 Censuses.[ii]  He then removed to Windham, Greene County, in 1802.[iii] John died in 1813, which means the only other Census he could be in is the 1810 Census.

Based upon my other research, John Parson’s household should have contained

Name Date of Birth Age on 6 Aug 1810
John 18 Nov 1764 45
Mary 20 May 1767 43
Samuel 5 Apr 1789 21
Polly 17 Jan 1792 18
Orrin 6 Mar 1794 16
John 5 May 1796 14
Chester 1 Dec 1799 10
Permelia 30 Apr 1805 5
Prudence Abt. 1808 2

Based upon that, I would expect


  • Under 10 Chester
  • 10-16 John
  • 16-25 Samuel, Orrin
  • 25-45
  • 45 & over John


  • Under 10 Permelia, Prudence
  • 10-16
  • 16-25 Polly
  • 25-45 Mary
  • 45 & over

So I would expect a Census to indicate a pattern of :

1 1 2 0 1 | 2 0 1 1 0 |


1810 Census Serch

A search on Ancestry for John Parsons in Windham, Greene County, New York, failed to yield any results. Expanding the search to Greene County yielded one result, John Person. His Census pattern is:

0 1 0 1 1 | 0 0 1 0 1 | 4

Not the expected pattern for John. Additionally, John Person appears in the 1820 Census after my 5th great-grandfather’s death.

My next thought is that John, Mary, and the kids live with someone else with the Parson’s surname. There were no entries for a Parsons head of household.

Finally, I browsed through the 1810 Census records for Windham,    Greene County, looking carefully at any covered over, smudged, written over, or otherwise illegible entries. Again, not success. John and Mary had only come to Green County in 1803 and may not have been enumerated properly


I don’t believe John Parsons was enumerated in Windham, Greene County, New York during the 1810 Census.


[i] 1790 Census, 1790 Census – Page 34 – John Parsons, Jr. & John Parsons (Sr.) – Sandisfield Town, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. “Heads of Families – 1790 Census – Massachusetts – Page 34, Column 1, Persons 3 & 4. – Accessed 2 August 2020.

[ii] “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 March 2018), John Parsons Jr, Sandisfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts, United States; citing p. 175, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 13; FHL microfilm 205,611.

[iii] Chas. C. Chapman & Co. (2012). History of Washtenaw County, Michigan: Together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history ; portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens : history of Michigan : embracing accounts of the pre-historic races, aborigines, French, English and American conquests, and a general review of its civil, political and military history. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Company. –, Page 1371.

Joel Cruff Taft & the 1810 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Following families in the early census records is always tricky. Finding children in pre-1850 Census records is particularly challenging. Such is the case of Joel Cruff Taft and the 1810 Census.


Joel Cruff Taft was born 25 December 1800 the fourth child of Asa Taft (1774-1839)

I would expect the Asa Taft household of 1810 to include 9 year-old Joel, his two sisters, Lurancy (age 14) and Amanda (age 11), and three brothers, Asa (age 15), Seth (age 7), and John (age 5). Asa should be about 36 and his wife was 36 also. Joel and his younger siblings were born in New York, so Asa should be found in New York during the 1810 Census.

So, I would expect a household looking like: 3-1-0-1-0 || 0-1-0-1-0. There may be others in the household

An initial search for Asa Taft in the 1810 Census was unsuccessful.

A search for any Taft in New York during the 1810 Census yielded 11 results. None of the results were located in Broome County (established in 1807) or Tioga County that Broome County was split off from. A review of the enumerated Tafts failed to yield a viable candidate to be Asa.

Name Location Family Comment
Robert Taft Bloomfield, Ontario Co. 0-2-2-0-1|1-0-2-0-1 No males under 10
Dane Taft Otsego Co. 3-1-1-1-1|1-2-1-0-0 No females 26-45
D Saft [Taft] Otsego Co. 4-0-2-1-0|1-2-1-1-0 No males 10-16
Pitts Taft Palmyra, Ontario Co. 0-0-1-0-0|0-0-1-0-0 No children
Matthew Taft Hartford, Washington Co. 2-1-1-1-1|4-0-0-1-1 Not enough males under 10.
Josiah Taft Bloomfield, Ontario Co. 2-0-1-1-0|1-0-0-1-0 Not enough males under 10.
Jesse Taft Bloomfield, Ontario Co. 1-0-0-1-0|0-0-1-0-0 Not enough males under 10.
Eleazer Taft Johnstown, Montgomery Co. 0-1-2-0-1|0-1-1-0-1 Not enough males under 10.
Grindall Taft Pittstown, Rensselaer Co. 0-1-0-1-1|0-2-1-0-1 Not enough males under 10.
S Taft Middlefield, Otsego Co. 1-1-0-1-1 | 0-1-0-1-1 Not enough males under 10.
Widow Toft New York, New York Co. 0-0-2-1-0|0-1-2-0-1 Not enough males under 10.

It seems clear to me that Asa Taft doesn’t appear in New York during the 1810 Census, nor does it appear that he is living with any of his Taft family members in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Name Location Family
Lovet Taft (Sr.) Sheffield, Berkshire Co. 1-2-2-0-1|2-1-1-0-2
Daniel Taft Sheffield, Berkshire Co. 1-0-0-1-0|1-1-0-1-0
Lovett Taft (Jr.) Sheffield, Berkshire Co. 2-?-3-0-0|0-0-1-0-0

I am going to cease my search for Asa & Joel in the 1810 Census for now. Also, Joel was born after the 1800 Census, so I wouldn’t find him there.

Joel Cruff Taft & the 1830 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Following families in the early census records is always tricky. Reading incorrectly transcribed names and filling in the gaps makes things challenging. Such is the case concerning Joel Cruff Taft and the 1830 Census.

During the 1840 Census, Joel, his father Asa, and his Brother, Asa Junior, were enumerated next to each other. In the 1830 Census, Joel and his father were listed next to each other. Brother, Asa Jr., is enumerated two after Joel on the next page. They were located in Lisle, Broome County, New York.

Their profiles show:

      • Asa:                       – 1 1 1 – – – 1  ||  – 1 – 1 – 1
      • Joel Cruft Taft – 1 – – – 1        ||  2 2 – – 1
      • Asa Jr.:                 – 2 1 0 0 1        ||  3 1 – 1 – 1

In 1830, I believe that Joel had five children, a boy and four girls. The four girls fit, Amanda and Catherine being under 5, while Mercy and Sarah would be between 5 and 10.  The boy under five must be the same unknown boy who appears in the 1840 Census between 10 and 15.

Although I cannot read Joel’s name in the 1830 Census, I am confident that this is Joel beneath his father, Asa Taft.

Joel Cruff Taft Household – 1830

Males <5        1          Unknown (b. 1824-1830)
Males 20-30 1          Joel (29)
Females <5    2          Amanda (4) – Catherine (1)
Females 5-10 2          Mercy (8) – Sarah (5)
Females 20-30 1       ?Tamise? (34)

When I research Asa’s life, I will need this Census information for him, so I’ll include it here.

Asa Taft Household – 1830


  • Age 5-10 1          James (8)
  • Age 10-15 1          John (15)
  • Age 15-20 1          Seth (16)
  • Age 50-60 1          Asa (56)


  • Age 5-10         Sarah Jane (9)
  • Age 15-20     Unknown (b. 1810-1815)
  • Age 30-40    Lucy (39)