Friday, September 18, 2015

Darned Roaming Basket Makers

A coworker alerted me to a funny Facebook post by Deidre Denton of Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches of Genealogy.

You probably think you have some ancestors that just dropped onto the planet from outer space. Well, there’s another explanation:

They were roaming basket makers living in the woods.

Daniel Hinkle was a roaming basket maker in 1870 Virginia.

The enumerator added this note about this band of nomads:

These People live in
the woods and you
can hardly Tell whether
they are Human or

These people live in the woods and you can hardly tell whether they are human or brutes.

Yes, records say the darnedest things.


  1. I worked for the US 1980 census. One elderly employee kept adding his own notes to forms, when he wasn't napping.

  2. Sounds like a bunch of mighty poor folks...

  3. An enumerator for the 1891 Canadian census in the area where my Detroit River French Canadian ancestors lived (outside of Detroit) wrote a little essay at the end about the "character of the populace." The farmland sucked and so did the fishing, and the young people were all moving to the city or getting jobs on lake ships. I don't know if he wrote that on his own, or if it was part of the job, but it would be nice if all the census takers had written something like that.


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