[APG Public List] Plausibility of thirteen-year-old female "moulder" in foundry, 1910 U.S. census?
Ray Beere Johnson II
raybeere at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 19 09:16:26 MDT 2010
--- On Thu, 8/19/10, Linda Johnson <lindajohnsongenealogy at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Can anyone make an educated guess as to the likelihood of a thirteen-
> year-old female's being employed as a "moulder" in a foundry at the
> time of the 1910 U.S. census? Neighbors included several other people
> with that occupation, but they were all male and over the age of
> twenty-one. The individual following her on the page, the male head of
> the next household, was also listed as a "moulder" in a foundry, so I'm
> wondering if some of his information was inadvertently copied onto her
> line (and repeated on his) if the census enumeration was hand-copied
> before microfilming.
The federal copies of the census _were_ copied: those copies were sent to the federal government. So a copying error is certainly possible.
On the other hand, I don't think you can entirely rule out the idea she was working as a moulder. It would depend on the community, the factory, and to a lesser extent the individual. (There were very rare females in the printing industry doing "male" jobs, for example.) No, it wouldn't be a common thing - it _should_ raise a red flag. But my point is that information that raises a red flag may usually turn out to be incorrect, but is not _always_ wrong.
When I have run into what seems like it could be a copying error on NARA's copy of the census, what I've usually done is tracked down the _state_ copies of that census (if they still exist), and checked those. In the process, I have established beyond any doubt that some of the information was _not_ always copied correctly. (Not that this surprised me... ;)
If the state copies of the census don't exist, I'd suggest several other possibilities. If you can locate a city directory, many of them listed individual's occupations along with their address. Also, what was her occupation in 1920? Yes, she quite probably changed jobs in that time - but is there at least some consistency? Is she working a factory job as opposed to doing more traditional work? Is the community small enough that you can identify the factory? Are there any surviving records - or publications on the occasion of anniversaries, etc. - which might shed more light on this? Even if you don't find her listed, does this factory seem to have any younger or female workers? If you can't find a conclusive answer, you may at least be able to gain a better sense of how likely this was.
Ray Beere Johnson II
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