Research Thoughts

The 1890 Census

The filing continues. This time I am working through an electronic folder of “paper” from Ripley County, Indiana, and my Francisco and Gray families. When I was putting together one of my “Day in the Life” series in 2014, I remember coming across this newspaper item from January 2, 1890, and laughed out loud. Anyone who has done census research will certainly be able to relate.

The item reads: “It won’t be a great while now until the girls will be hiding the family Bible and dodging the census taker again. How time flies, and how provoking some things are.”

Now if only we could actually LOOK at the 1890 census.

So what was happening in the Francisco family on this day in 1890?

“John A. Francisco is suffering heart trouble at his home. He has been confined to his room several days, and as he is 77 years old, it is quite hard on him, but we hope to see him out soon.” [1]

Sadly, he passed away June 14th of that year. His wife and “life companion,” Sarah Ann Ellison Francisco, had passed away on September 9th the year before, and according to his obituary he had not been the same since that time. He was laid to rest next to her in Perseverance Cemetery as “Hand in hand they lived; side by side they rest in death.” [2]


  1. The Ripley Journal, 2 Jan 1890, col. 2; digital images, Find My Past ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014), Historical Newspapers.
  2. “Sleep Comrade. Sleep,” The Ripley Journal, 19 Jun 1890, col. 4; digital images, Find My Past ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014), Historical Newspapers.
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