The Hollis Family -- what the census revealed

I cannot begin to describe how exciting it was to see the names of my great grandparents in black and white. People I had never known but who were related to me were documented by a census enumerator in 1900. How serendipitous that someone in the Hollis family was home the day the census enumerator knocked on their door. Many families were omitted from the census for numerous reasons; the most apparent being that they might not have been home at the time of the enumerator's visit. This is the first of two index cards for 1900. The second index card shows that Lillie's nephew John Scott lives with the family at the time the census was conducted. My father was thrilled to receive photocopies of the census records. These records were proof that the stories he heard as a child were correct and revealed more clues about his family. His grandfather is listed as a farmer in 1900 who rented his land and both grandparents, according to the census enumerator, were able to read and write. Were they tested or merely asked about their literacy? Where were they educated? We can only wonder. Does a school census record exist for this time period in Madison, Georgia? I need to do further research.

Interestingly enough, the 1900 census schedule record revealed information that my father did not know. He was unaware of the nephew John Scott who is a link to his grandmother Lillie's side of the family. Lillie's nephew lived with the Hollis family in 1900 but does not appear to be in the household in 1910 and 1920. John Scott would be 19 years old in 1910 and 29 in 1920 so it is likely he had established a household of his own. I need to follow up in the 1910 and 1920 Soundex to see if John is recorded as living in Madison. Garland, my father's father is not yet born in 1900. My father did not know about an uncle Oliver Jr. who in 1900 was listed as being four years old. In 1900 the number of children a woman bore is registered along with the number of children currently living. This information is in the overall "personal description" category. The column entitled "Mother of how many children?" is filled in with the number 7 in Lillie's entry yet the "number of these children living" has the number 6 entered. If this information is correct then prior to 1900 Lillia and Oliver had already experienced the loss of one child.

This is the first of two 1910 Soundex cards for the Hollis family. Note that in the upper left corner of the card, the "color" box has "Mu" entered for mulatto instead of Black as was registered in 1900. The family still resides Madison, Georgia which is in Morgan county and but they have moved since 1900. Vertically, along the left side of the full census sheet "North Main" and "2nd Street" are written. The second index card reveals a new member of the family; my grandfather Garland is the last entry. He is three months old.

It is in 1910 that Oliver is listed as a merchant and owner of a meat market. Once again this validates the story that was handed down to my father. This census record reveals that all the Hollis family members are listed as mulatto in 1910. What is the significance of this? My father and I think that the family members were light skinned Blacks and evidently this enumerator, John W. Snellings, felt that racial mixing had occurred somewhere in the Hollis family's history.

 
                In 1920, persons of mixed white and Negro blood 
               were classified as Mulatto.  Anyone who was not 
               classified as White, Black, Mulatto, Chinese, 
               Japanese, or Indian was classified as "Other."  
               In 1930, the Mulatto designation was dropped.  
               Enumerators were instructed to list persons with 
               any Negro blood, no matter how small the percen-
               tage, as Negro.  Persons of Mexican birth or 
               parentage were to be listed as "Mexican" unless 
               definitely Negro, Indian, Chinese, or Japanese.  
               In 1940, Mexicans were listed as white unless 
               definitely Indian or some other race. . . 
 
                There were apparently no further major definitional 
               changes in 1950 or 1960.  In 1960, racial designation, 
               and, in 1970, ethnic designations, were placed on a 
               self-identification basis, although, where data were 
               collected by an enumerator, the enumerator was allowed 
               to fill in blanks by observation when possible.  In 
               1980, however, enumerators were no longer allowed to 
               enter race by observation.  In every modern census, 
               missing responses have been filled in via editing and 
               imputation routines. 7
 
 

In the case of the Hollis family, the designation as Mulatto occured in 1910. Looking again at the census record and information about the number of children ever born, the information recorded states that eight children were born but only seven survived. This reflects the addition of my grandfather Garland since the 1900 census.

My father was aware that his grandfather had died in a freak accident. He was told that Oliver was hoisting a large steer to be butchered when a ceiling beam gave way and crashed killing him instantly. The fact that Oliver died appears to be true, since in 1920 there is no sign of the Hollis family in Morgan County. Lillie surfaces again in Chicago, Illinois as the head of the household. My father remembers being told that Lillie had family in Chicago. It appears that after the death of her husband and sometime between 1910 and 1920, she gathered up her family and went north. This is the 1920 Soundex card for Lillie and her family in 1920. The 2nd soundex card shows that the oldest son Joseph Albert still lives at home. Also Elizabeth married and gave birth to a little girl. The family has grown with the addition of a son-in-law and a grandchild.

Note that the family members are now listed as Black. This particular enumerator did not use Mulatto to differentiate skin tone. Did he ask the family how they wished to be classified or was it assumed? We will never know. The full 1920 schedule is barely legible and did not photocopy nor scan well. An image file for the record is not included. Instead, the 1920 information about the Hollis family is recreated further below.

Once the excitement of finding a relative's name passes a researcher can focus on the entire census sheet to find clues about the family's neighborhood. For the 1900 schedule I noticed in the upper right corner there is a "name of institution" line. The "Morgan County Asylum for Poor" is entered along with "lines 21 to 31 inclusive" in parentheses. In scanning the lower left section of the record, lines 21 to 31 have the word "inmates" recorded in the "relations" column. For other families listed on this sheet, "wife, daughter" etc. is usually recorded in this column. It seems that ten individuals lived in this poor house; 1 White and 9 Black with the house headed by a White man. Five of these 10 individuals are widowed and their ages range from 45 to 85 years old with 3 people over the age of 80. This house was located close to the Hollis family. The neighborhood was more integrated than I'd expected for this time period.

The columns of the 1900 census schedule are:

The information recorded for the Hollis family in 1900 is replicated below since the image is difficult to read.

1900

Column
1    2    3        4     5      6   7        8   9   10  11  12  13        14       15      
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
 
376  383  Oliver   head  Black  M  June 1845 54  m   20  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia 
          Lillie   wife  Black  F  Aug  1848 51  m   20  7   6   Georgia   Georgia  Georgia 
          Joseph   son   Black  M  Jan  1882 18  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia  
          Lizzie   dghtr Black  F  Nov  1884 15  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia 
          Gertrude dghtr Black  F  May  1887 13  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia  
          Rosa     dghtr Black  F  Jan  1889 11  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia  
          John     son   Black  m  Mar  1892  8  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia 
          OliverJr son   Black  m  Jan  1896  4  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia  
      Scott, John  neph  Black  m  May  1891  9  s   --  --  --  Georgia   Georgia  Georgia  
 
 
 
Column (continued)
16 17 18  19          20  21  22   23   24  25   26  27    28
---------------------------------------------------------------
-- -- --  Farmer      --  --  yes  yes  yes Rent --  Farm  226
-- -- --  --          --  --  yes  yes  yes --   --  --    --
-- -- --  Farm Laborer 3  --  no   no   yes --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  no   no   yes --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  no   no   yes --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  no   no   yes --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  --   --   --  --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  --   --   --  --   --  --    --
-- -- --  --          --  --  --   --   --  --   --  --    --

The information recorded in 1910 is reconstructed below. It does not correspond to the passing of ten years. Compare what was recorded in 1910 to 1900:

1910


Column
1    2    3        4     5  6   7   8  9  10  11  12      13       14       15  16   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
195  203 Oliver    head  M  Mu  55  m  18  8   7  Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Lilly     wife  F  Mu  37  m  18  8   7  Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Joseph    son   M  Mu  17  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Lizzie    dghtr F  Mu  13  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Gertrude  dghtr F  Mu  12  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Felissia  dghtr F  Mu   6  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Willie    son   M  Mu   5  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Edwinah   dghtr F  Mu   3  s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
         Garland   son   M  Mu 3/12 s             Georgia Georgia  Georgia  --  --
 
Column (continued)
17      18        19          20   21  22  23   24  25  26 27 28 29 30 31 32 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
English Merchant  meat market Emp  no  --  yes  yes no  O  F  H  5  -2 3  X
English none      ---                      yes  yes no  -  -  -  -  -  -  -
English clerk     meat market W    no  0   yes  yes no  -  -  - 10  7  3  X
English none                               yes  yes yes 
English none                               yes  yes yes
        none                                        no
        none                                        no
        none
        none

 

The recorded information has been altered slightly since 1900. The changes are:

Always keeping in mind that the information recorded in these records could be incorrect, we now see that the two girls, Lizzie and Gertrude are listed as being in school in 1910. Oliver, Lillie and Joseph are all recorded as being able to read and write. Note how the age information does not make sense with what was recorded in 1900.

The 1920 census sheet is reconstructed below:

1920

Column
1    2    3   4    5               6          7  8  9  10 11  12 13 14 15 16  17  18  19  
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lake 5031 78  155  Lillie          head       R  -- F  B  43  Wd -- -- -- --  Yes Yes Georgia
Park               Corrine Lamare  dghtr      -  -- F  B  19  M  -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes Ohio
Ave.               Felicia         dghtr      -  -- F  B  17  S  -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes Georgia
                   Willa Mae       dghtr      -  -- F  B  15  S  -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes Georgia
                   Edwinah         dghtr      -  -- F  B  12  S  -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes Georgia
                   Garland         son        -  -- M  B  10  S  -- -- -- Yes Yes Yes Georgia
                   Albert          son        -  -- M  B  25  S  -- -- -- --  Yes Yes Georgia
                   James Williams  son in law -  -- M  B  24  M  -- -- -- --  Yes Yes Tennessee
                   -Elizabeth      dghtr      -  -- F  B  22  M  -- -- -- --  Yes Yes Georgia
                   -Marvina        dghtr      -  -- F  B 2/12 S  -- -- -- --   -- --  Illinois
 
Column (continued)
20 21             22  23            24  25  26           27               28 29  
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- Georgia        --  Georgia       --  Yes None         --               -- --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes Entry clerk  Mail order house W  --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes Entry clerk  Mail order house W  --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes None         --               -- --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes None         --               -- --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes None         --               -- --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes Porter       railroad line    W  --
-- United States  --  United States --  Yes Clerk        Post Office      W  --
-- Ohio           --  Georgia       --  Yes None         --               -- --
-- Tennessee      --  Georgia       --  --  --           --               -- --

 

The kind of information recorded in 1920 has changed again since 1910:

The 1920 census schedule reveals that Lillia and her family lived in an integrated neighborhood in Chicago. Some of their neighbors immigrated from Sweden and Germany and became naturalized citizens. While home ownership is not recorded for eveyone on the census sheet quite a few did rent their homes. The oldest son, Joseph Albert is recorded as being 25 years old and he works as a porter with the railroad. Lillia's son-in-law James is a clerk at the post office. |next section| |Table of Contents|


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Date last modified: 2/98. Send comments to author Deborah Hollis. Note: Copyright 1996 Deborah R. Hollis. Unlimited permission to copy or use is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.