Narrowing down locations in historical US Census docs
I have ancestors who lived in Mississippi in the 1800's, and I'm trying to narrow down exactly where.
In the 1860 census, my ancestor's possible name is recorded on a page with the heading "Free Inhabitants in [blank] in the County of DeSoto of Mis, ennumerated by me, etc. Post Office Hernando."
With an entry like this can we tell if the person lived in town (ie Hernando, MS) or in a rural location? The "Dwelling house number in order of visitation" column is blank.
The 1870 census entry is recorded on a page with the heading "Inhabitants in Township 5 [?] Range 6, in the County of DeSoto.... Post Office Arklabuta." The "Dwelling house number in order of visitation" column has some numbers in it.
(Hernando and Arklabuta are about 15 miles apart)
My guess is that the County of DeSoto would have the township maps. Has anyone tried to track down locations in more detail using census records?
@WS86 You may find the Instructions to Enumerators useful. This is a link to the Instructions for 1860, but the same website has the instructions for most other decennial censuses. https://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/inst1860.shtml2
@WS86 Not sure if this map helps:
Or you could try:
They both appear to come up with the same area result using Chickasaw Prime Meridian. Narrowing it further than that might involve looking at land (or other) records. Of course your relative may have moved between 1860-1870 - so one reference might not refer to the location of both (I guess you might have to know Post Office history from 1860-1870 for the area - this link is a helpful reference - since it indicates Arklabuta did not have P.O. before 1869.).1
Thanks for the links. I think I'll start entering the "post office of the vicinage" and section/township info in the census sources if it's there. Could be useful. Ultimately, one might have to go to county records to figure out an exact location. IIRC standardized locations will allow "near" or "in vicinity" or some such notation.1