One Family, Double Enumeration: A Tale of Two Georges

George Bennett in the Bronx

The Image attached is of George Bennett Sr and Jr taken about 1900 near their home located at 1965 Webster Ave, New York City (The Bronx).

My husband’s family tree has given me fits of frustration ever since I began researching it. My main family line and his main family line both seem to end and without clear answers as to where to look next. For my family, I know I have to scour Virginia records. For his family, I know I have to discover when his Bennetts immigrated to the United States from Ireland.

When my journey to trace his family began, I thought I had a good lead on them through census records. My one stumbling block: There seemed to be two possible George Bennett Jrs. My task was to figure out which one was my husband’s Great-grandfather. I tried many ways to rule one out. Weird thing is that they both seemed to move from New York City to Hartford, Conn. at the same time. I just couldn’t figure out if my George was the son of Augusta Bennett (the mother living with him on the 1920 US census) or husband of Ruby Taylor (the wife living with him on the 1920 US census) in Hartford.

So I traced the line back further. I knew George William Bennett was born February, 1897 in New York City and that his father was George Sr. from his WWI draft card. Using this information, I found two possible Bennett families that met these criteria on the 1900 US census. One was George and Augusta Bennett, the other was George and Kate Bennett. At this point I bit the bullet and sent away for a birth certificate from the New York City Records Department. With the information I gave them they sent me… the certificate for George and Augusta. Okay, this caused another problem, and made me write them and ask if they were sure I received the correct record. The archives assured me that this was the correct person: George Bennett, born Feb. 9, 1897, in New York City to George Bennett and Augusta Jahnke.

If my George was the son of George and Augusta, I now had two Alton Taylors to worry about too. Alton was Ruby (Taylor) Bennett’s brother. He appeared with her parents on the Coventry, Conn. 1920 US census and there was also an Alton Taylor on the 1920 Hartford, Conn. census living with George and Augusta Bennett, along with their son, George Bennett. While across town (for those of you who are able to keep track at home), George Bennett also lived with his wife Ruby and their two sons, George and Howard. At this point I thought my head was going to explode. How are these two families connected, if at all, and how was I going to figure out who was who? I decided to corner my father-in-law.

I asked him about family members he remembered. Uncles, aunts, cousins, places–any little scrap of information that I could possibly use to figure this puzzle out and make sure I had the correct family(ies). Thankfully, with his information I was able to verify that yes, Alton was at the correct place, but so were George and all his siblings.

Once more I returned to the census records. Then I noticed that both Georges and both Altons worked for a typewriter company. In fact, I remembered that on his WWI draft card George stated he was employed at the Underwood Typewriter Company. Also, my father-in-law thought that Alton had married one of George’s sisters, which would explain why he was listed as the brother-in-law on the 1920 US census for the George and Augusta household.

At this point in time, I have resigned myself to the conclusion that I have two people that somehow managed to have themselves enumerated twice, in the same county, in the 1920 US census. Wow. I had heard of it happening before, but never thought I would actually find it in my searching, least of all in the same family. The positive outcome: Because of the extra searching I did for this post, I just knocked down a maternal brick wall on my husband’s line. Check back for those results!

Want to check my work? Here are the sources; tell me what you think! Did I get it right?

George and Ruby: Source Citation Ancestry: Year: 1920; Census Place: Hartford Ward 8, Hartford, Connecticut; Roll: T625_183; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 112; Image: 1160.
On Family Search

George and Augusta: Source Citation Ancestry: Year: 1920; Census Place: Hartford Ward 9, Hartford, Connecticut; Roll: T625_184; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 114; Image: 68.
On Family Search

Alton and his parents: Source Citation Ancestry: Year: 1920; Census Place: Coventry, Tolland, Connecticut; Roll: T625_198; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 308; Image: 68.
On Family Search

6 thoughts on “One Family, Double Enumeration: A Tale of Two Georges

  1. I know what you mean about finding people in 2 places on the same census. I had 3 cousins listed in Pennsylvania with their grandparents and also listed in Ohio with their parents on the same census. I have to check the actual dates that the census was taken in each place.

  2. I’m sure you’ve done this already, but you should check the City Directories for Hartford. In 1919, G. W., mach operator, boards at 23 Harbison while Geo. W., salesman, house is 45 Sumner.

    Alton Taylor is listed in the 1920 and 1921 directories as living at 37 Harbison, the house next to George and Ruby Bennett (although in the census John Wilson’s household is enumerated there). Wow, the Hartford City Directories even list divorces and migrations. Very helpful.

  3. Trisha: you are not the only to tell me recently that this happened to thier family too. I thought it was a once in a blue moon type of thing, but it is looking more and more common!

    Alissa: I have done a cursory glance in the Hartford directories in the later 20’s but I will make sure to go back now and look in each one more in depth. The Bennett’s had moved to Westchester, New York by 1930. I have been trying to figure out which year using the directories. You are correct, they list a lot of information and are a real find for anyone doing research in that area!

  4. There were many children born in my great grandparents’ family. If one child died the next child of the same sex got the deceased child’s name. So there were 2 Mary Ann’s and my grandfather was the second George.

  5. I have found this to be a common occurrence also. My mother and her sister appear in the 1930 Census in both Virginia and Kentucky. In their parents location, they were listed as Ab which I figured meant absent. In their Virginia “home”, they were listed as boarders since they were temporarily living with a close friend of the family. Sometimes the clue lies in the actual date that the census was taken in each location. It is conceivable that sometimes there could have been a relocation between the dates.
    The Hartford family directories have been extremely helpful to me in placing my father and grandfather.

  6. My grandfather was enumerated twice in 1930; once with his wife and children at home and again in the local jail (a couple days later), probably sobering up.

Leave a Reply