When researching census records, be careful about the relationships of those listed in the household.

Recently, there was an 1850 census record that I found for someone I was researching. He was the head of the household, and there was a woman (presumed to be his wife) and younger people mentioned as well. The census taker had used the ditto mark (“) for continuing the last name of each in the household.

I thought it was interesting about some of the middle names of the children – their middle names were all the same name! There were dittos marks after each of these supposedly middle names, making their last name to be the same as the head of the household.

What I later discovered is that the woman in the household was the second wife of the head, and these children were her children, not his. The census taker had recorded the children’s real last name as their middle name. What made this even trickier is that the names of the head’s first wife and second wife was the same!