Until you have personally viewed and deciphered the original census pages, should you choose to trust transcriptions from this website, this website is your source, not the census itself.
For all census pages on which stamped or mechanically printed page numbers appear, listings transcribed on this website use the stamped numbers, not the handwritten entries.
The verbiage "within the year" indicates that the activity (school attendance or marriage) occurred within the census year, i.e., within the 12 month period preceding the base date for the census.
Beginning February 16, 2005, the page numbers on transcriptions of 1850 Hancock County, Illinois, census listings are being revised to jibe with the most commonly recognized identification scheme. Due to the volume, it will take some time to correct all affected webpages. When using these transcriptions as pointer for your own viewing of census listings, if you don't find the desired person/s, try looking at either the page before or after.
Simply for the sake of brevity, we have used the two-character postal abbreviation for state names unless there is something notable about a particular entry.
Words, phrases or symbols shown within quotation marks are transcribed exactly as they appear on the original pages.
Where you find a single question mark in census transcriptions on this website, that indicates a best guess interpretation of the original entry.
Double question marks indicate that the original entry was either incorrect (based on what we believe to be fact), or unlikely, as in the case of a 3 year old child being able to read and write. In most cases this kind of error could easily have been made during the mind-numbing and hand-cramping task of recopying the original pages.
A fairly common mistake occurred when the enumerator failed to determine that the mother in the home was actually the children's stepmother, so the entries for the children's mother's birth state match that of the stepmother.
After viewing many hundreds of census pages, we've made the following, unscientific observations.
In some census years the husband's parents' birthplaces were reported correctly and the wife's parents' birthplaces may or may not have been correct, and in other years the situation was reversed. It probably depended on which spouse provided the information to the census taker. In one instance, a married couple's entries were identical in every year but one. They had two daughters who were teenagers at the time of that enumeration. Our speculation is that one of the daughters may have provided the information that year.
Sometimes the responses were outrageously off-base, in which case we might surmise that a well-intentioned person who claimed knowledge of the family, rather than one of the principals, talked to the enumerator.
As the respondents got older, especially if they lived with their adult children, the likelihood of errors increased. Presumably, the children had less accurate knowledge of their parents' and grandparents' birthplaces.
And lastly, there seems to be a gender-related effect: over all, listings for females tend to be more accurate all the way through. A humorous exception was a lady who may have fibbed to her husband about her age during their entire married life. She was a bit older. Out of the blue, in the enumeration after his death, the age she reported was in sync with her known birth year.