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Monday, July 18, 2016

How Do You Get Past the 1880-1900 Census Gap?

"United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Oct 2012), Beverley Vance, Cokesbury, Abbeville, South Carolina, United States; citing sheet 263B, family 0, NARA microfilm publicat
It will take a few articles in this series, but you will have laid out for you examples of how you can overcome the challenge of finding a family in 1900 after the 1880-1900 census gap.

This is the family of Beverley and Matilda Vance in 1880 living in Cokesbury, Abbeville County, South Carolina:
  • Marcus Conant - 63
  • Maria Conant – 83 wife
  • Elizabeth Vance – 13
  • Beverley Vance – 48 (next door)
  • Matilda Vance – 39 (wife)
  • Lee Vance – 21
  • Lafayette Vance – 19
  • Charlotte Vance – 17
  • Arie Vance – 15
  • Minnie Vance – 10
  • Maria Vance – 8
  • Calvin Vance – 1

By 1900, the youngest child will be 21, and the daughters will most likely be married with different last names. Try searching for this family in Abbeville County, SC on the 1900 Census.

Result: You will not find anyone in Abbeville County from this family on the 1900 Census. What happened to them? Did they move or disappear?
Check the boundary changes for Abbeville on the Research Wiki.

Result: “1897 - Greenwood County was created from Abbeville and Edgefield Counties.”
Greenwood was created from Abbeville and Edgefield. Try searching the 1900 Census for a member of the Vance family in Greenwood County.

Using the search criteria below at FamilySearch, the only recognizable person out of 32 results is Calvin Vance. Calvin is a newly married day laborer who is renting a house. He and his wife, Clorena, are living with her 9 year old sister-in-law. There is no sign of his parents or the rest of his family.
  • Last Name – Vance
  • Residence – Greenwood, South Carolina
  • Year Range - 1900-1900
Perhaps if you search for Lafayette Vance which is not a common name, you may find him in 1900.

Unbelievably, a search for Lafayette Vance in SC on the 1900 Census brings up only six results, and neither people reside in Greenwood. You would have to know that Lafayette’s middle name was Franklin and that two of his sons were named Eugene Lafayette and Frank Luther, or you would probably not realize that both of these sons are listed in the results. They are at home with their mother and father, Frank Vance (Lafayette Franklin Vance).

That is the beauty of oral history that is recorded and preserved. You never know which details will come on handy in your search.
Continue on this journey of finding all the siblings of Calvin Vance in the next article.


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