Since I started working with my family history a couple of years ago I have gradually been able to track down nearly all of the important Census data for my family. One of the important items, however, eluded me. The 1930 U. S. Census numbers for my father’s family could not be found. I needed to find it because there was some uncertainty about when the family left their traditional homestead in Montana and headed west. I had waded through the search forms many times trying to find them, even going through the census data by hand in places that they might have been.
Then, yesterday, I convinced myself that, if they were counted, the surname must have been fouled up beyond recognition when the forms were transcribed. So I went into the search form with a first name only and the State they were probably in. It worked. I had to wade through several pages but there they were. When the census taker had written their name down he had messed it up, overwritten, and left a smudgy mess. I could read it because I knew what I was looking for but I doubt if I could have if I saw it cold. Whoever did the transcribing came up with a name that was just too different for the search engine to suggest it to me. To further complicate things they were not in the town I was expecting but a short distance away in another town.
The final result, however, was that the family still lived in Montana in 1930, leaving only a short period of “unaccounted for” time before they had finally settled in Oregon where my father attended High School and met my mother.