Re: Chelsea, MA Census #lithuania

Warren Blatt <wblatt@...>

Judy Baston <Jrbaston@...> wrote:

All the discussion of the 1920 census for Chelsea, MA, which listed
residents as having come >from "Kovna" prompts me to comment about
what a fortunate -- and unique -- situation existed with that census.

The official listing under "Place of Birth" was supposed to be only
one's country of origin.

I also have a page >from the 1920 Chelsea census containing the
listing for my father's first cousin, Samuel Berry (born Shmul
Bastunski). On that page the gubernia of origin is listed for
almost all residents -- Vilna, Minsk, Volina (Volyn), etc.

The enumerator was Florence Richmond, who, I have been told, was
a teacher in the area. Let's remember her warmly for bending the

She did not "bend the rules". She followed the rules, precisely.

"Because of the changes in some boundaries following WWI,
enumerators were instructed to report the PROVINCE (state
or region) of persons declaring that they or their parents
had been born in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia or Turkey.
If a person had been born in any other foreign country,
only the name of the country was to be entered".

Quote >from "The 1920 Federal Population Census: Catalog of
National Archives Microfilm" (Washington: NARA, 1991), page 1.

This rule of citing the gubernia (province) of origin
for certain former foreign empires was in place only for
the 1920 Census, not for any prior census. Most of the
enumerators appeared to have followed this rule; some
did not, and wrote only 'Russia', etc.


Warren Blatt
Boston, MA

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