Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 |

It’s amazing how much can be learned about a person from four consecutive censuses. For example, in addition to learning about Lizzie’s occupation as a lady boss at a cigar factory, we also learned a little more about her personal life.


In 1910, she’s listed as a 37-year old widow who’s living at 73 Cleveland Avenue in Everett Massachusetts with her sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Joseph Cardinal. Also listed is a 21 year old Edward Milligan, who is identified as the head of household’s (Joseph) nephew, which tells us that he’s Lizzie’s son. In both 1920 and 1930, Mom and son were still living with the Cardinal family, however at a new residence located at 5 Robinson Road in Malden, Massachusetts. And finally, in 1940, Lizzie is listed as a 76 year old widow who is still living with her sister Ellen at 5 Robinson Road. Edward and Joseph have dropped off the record.

The age difference between Lizzie and Edward indicates that she had him at a very young age–somewhere between the ages of 16 and 19 depending on which age we choose from the four different censuses. Backtracking from that number puts Lizzie’s birth year at somewhere between 1864 and 1873. Doing that same calculation for Edward reveals that he was born somewhere between 1888 and 1891.

It seems that each question that we answer spawns a new set of questions. Now that we know a little more about Lizzie’s personal life, we have some new threads to follow. For example:

  • Who was her husband?
  • When did they marry?
  • She’s listed as a widow, so when did he die?
  • When was Edward born?
  • Edward lived with his mother and aunt until he was at least 42 years old? So, what was his deal?
  • And where did Edward go after the 1930 census? Did he marry late in life and move out of the house?

And our journey continues…

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