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Census Sunday – Charles Albert CHALCRAFT

September 28, 2013

The records for Charles Albert CHALCRAFT (b. Nov 1879-1880; d. July 03, 1961), my great-grandfather … and apparently my namesake in a way. According to a family story told by both my father and mother, Great Grandpa Charlie asked that mom and dad name their firstborn son after him. Hence, my middle name is Charles. 

The puzzle with Charles is his actual date of birth. There are conflicting stories and information for it; but, I’ve narrowed it down to either 1879 or 1880. Some of it is taken from census reports. … … Here we go … …

It is known that Charles CHALCRAFT was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. In the 1881 Canadian census I find him as the son of Francis and Anne CHALCRAFT. The record indicates he was 1 years old at the time, which would provide an estimate of his birth year being 1880, or perhaps even late 1879. If, for example the 1881 census was taken early in that year, Charles’s birth year could be 1879 … which makes sense given his birth month to be November.
[click to view a larger image version of the census page]


Okay – so Charles’s birth year could be 1879; it could also be 1880. It seems that 1881 is becoming doubtful.

Now we move to the 1891 Canada census. And he’s found at home, aged 11.
[click to view a larger image version of this census page]


Again, this would seem to confirm his birth year as 1880, or late 1879. So far so good! And if I continue the search in the 1911 Canadian census, I find the following:
[click to view a larger image version of this census page]


There’s Francis (Frank) and Anne CHALCRAFT – still in Nova Scotia. But there’s no Charles! And he’s not found in any entry of the 1911 Canadian census.
In 1911, Charles would be between 31-32 years old (assuming his birth year to be 1879-1880).

I do find him in the 1900 and 1920 US Census records.

In 1900 (Brooklyn, NY) it reports his birth year as 1879 and his age in 1900 as 20 years old.This census was taken on June 7 of 1900 … since his birth month is accepted as being November, Charles would be 20 years old at this point in time in June. He’d turn 21 in November of 1900.

In the 1920 US Census (also Brooklyn, NY), which was taken on the 3rd and 5th of January 1920, it reports his age to be 40 years old. Again, this leads me to believe his actual birth year to be 1879.

In the 1940 US Census I find him … It reports that he is 59 years old.
[click to view a larger image of this census page]


So, 1940 – 59 = 1881. Hmmmmmm. The 1940 Census was taken on April 11. So, it appears that Charles’ birth year could be 1880.

So, for now I will maintain both years – 1879 and 1880 – as possibilities for now just from the census records. Of course, an official birth certificate would (hopefully) answer the question. Will need to request one.

By the way – his death certificate indicates birth year to be 1881. But that’s unlikely.

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