Narcissus Jane Ray Eady-When the Deceased Make the Census


     As our last article showed, census takers have specific rules they must follow when enumerating our family on the census. The census has a specific date in which it was to be recorded. However, since the census taker had to go to every home in their enumeration district or districts, it was often days later when they would arrive at our ancestor’s homes, but the questions were still to be asked as of the official date of the census.  The 1930 Federal Population census was to have been taken on 01 April 1930.  Elizabeth Bell was the enumerator for the enumeration district in Marshall County where my great great grandparent’s W. P. and Narcissus Jane Eady were living in 1930.  She visited their home on 09 April 1930,  She recorded the information about W. P. and his wife Jessie R. both age 73.  The information about their daughter Fannie Dyes and her son Vaden, who were living with W. P. in 1930.  But if we look closely at the census enumeration, there seems to be some confusion over W. P.’s marriage status. Something appears to be marked out:


W. P. Eady household, Marshall County, TN Federal Population Census:  Supervisor’s District 11, Enumeration District 59-2, Civil District 8, Page 7, Dwelling 55, Family 55, Lines 41-44.  Microfilmed copy of original record can be found in 1930 Federal Population Census, Marshall and Maury Counties, TN,(National Archives Microfilm T626, Roll No. 2266), National Archives, Washington, D. C.

     For you see, when Elizabeth Bell came by the home in Marshall County, TN and asked W. P. Eady about his household, he answered her questions very honestly.  He told her he was a widow, since his wife had recently deceased and she recorded W. P. Eady, Head, Male, White, age 73, widowed.  Which was true.  On 09 April 1930, W. P. Eady was in fact a widow.  His wife, enumerated here as Jessie R. Eady (Narcissus Jane) was indeed dead.  Elizabeth Bell must have asked when she died. My guess is because the house was not only still in mourning, but there was obvious signs the death had been very recent.  That is when W. P. would have told him his dear wife had died on 05 April 1930! 

      And following her enumerator’s instructions to record everyone one who had been alive on 01 April 1930 in this house, Elizabeth Bell, changed his marriage status to Married and on the next line, recorded his beloved Jessie R., Wife, Female, age 73, married at age 17 years. (They married 06 August 1872.)

    Don’t you think it would have been tempting to write deceased beside her name? Even under occupation, Elizabeth puts “none” instead of deceased. Not doubt, Elizabeth Bell, enumerator was a woman who followed directions.  And just like that, Jessie R. Eady became a person enumerated on a Federal Population Census, despite the fact that she had been buried days before the census taker came by her home.  It is always important to read the enumerator’s instructions when we discover documents that don’t match other facts about our family.

Sisic Jane Eady

     Sisie Jane Eady, Death Record, Reference Number File Number 11536,  Died on: 05 Apr 1930.  Original microfilmed copy can be found in Marshall County, TN, Births 1909-1912 and 1927 and 1938, Roll A-2189, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville TN.



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