52 Documents in 52 Weeks #32 – Jacob Newhart’s 1900 Census

Person of Interest: Jacob Newhart
Relationship: Husband of 2nd great grandaunt Ann Maria Bonser (sister to Caroline Bonser, my 2nd great-grandmother)

Source Citation: 1900 U. S. census, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Lower Towamensing Township, ED 11, p. 14B (penned), dwelling 279, family 300, Jacob Newhart; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 July 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1390.

Document Description: These documents are part of the Twelfth Census of the United States which was taken in 1900, at the turn of the century. It is the twelfth census taken since 1790. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The  U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for taking the censuses. After 72 years (and not before owing to privacy reasons), the records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. In accordance with the 72-Year Rule, the National Archives released the 1900 records to the public in 1972.  The U.S. Census Bureau provides the interested researcher a great overview of each census. In the 1900 overview, we find that “Hawaii, which had been annexed in 1898, was included in the census for the first time.” Census day for this census was 01 June 1900 and William McKinley (left, Photo Source: http://www.census.gov) was the president on that day.[1]

Per the 1900 overview:

“In the act authorizing the 1900 census, Congress limited census content to questions dealing with population, mortality, agriculture, and manufacturing. Reports on these topics, called “Census Reports,” were to be published by June 30, 1902. The act also authorized special census agents to collect statistics relating to incidents of deafness, blindness, insanity, juvenile delinquency, and the like; as well as on religious bodies; utilities; mining; and transportation, among others. These statistics were to be collected following the completion of the regular census. The preparation of the special reports developed from these statistics was to be accomplished in such a way so as to not interfere with the completion of the Census Reports.”

Both Ancestry.com (fee site) and FamilySearch.org (free) offers digitized copies of the census and are searchable by name.

Document Scan/Transcription: Numbers relate to columns on the population schedule.

Page 3 Header
State: Pennsylvania; County: Carbon; Name of Incorporated Place: Lower Towamensing Township; S.D. No.: 3; E.D. No.: 11; Enumerated by me on the 26th day of June, 1900; Enumerator: Ambrose E. Noll; Sheet No.: 14B.

Page 3B Detail
lines 52-58, Caroline, Robert and William Repsher, Lilian, Jennie and Elizabeth Cobb, and Harry Sharbaugh Jr. [respectively with ; between]

Place of Abode
Street Name: [blank]
House Number: [blank]
1. Dwelling number in order of visitation: 279
2. Family number in order of visitation: 300

3. Name: Newhart, Jacob; —-, Ann M; —-. Della,; —-. Emma; —-, Mary E.; —-, Harry R.; —-, George E.; —-, Beulah M; Bonser, Emmaline

4. Relation: Head; Wife; Daughter; Daughter; Daughter; Son; Son; Daughter; M-in-law

Physical Description
5. Color or race: W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W
6. Sex: M; F; F; F; F; M; M; F; F
7. Date of birth, month and year: Feb 1862; Oct 1860; May 1885; July 1891; Sept 1893; Apr 1895; Apr 1897; June 1899; Mar 1830
8. Age at last birthday: 38; 39; 15; 8; 6; 5; 3; 11/12; 70
9. Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced: M; M; S; S; S; S; S; S; Wd
10. Number of years married: 14; 14; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
11. Mother of how many children: [blank]; 10; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
12. Number of these children still living: [blank]; 7; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

13. Place of birth of person: Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania
14. Place of birth of father of person: Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania
15. Place of birth of mother of person: Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania

16. Year of immigration to the United States: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
17. Number of years in the United States: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
18. Naturalization: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Occupation, Trade, or Profession
19. Occupation: Carpenter; [blank]; [blank]; At school; At school; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
20. Months not employed: 3; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

21. Attended school:  [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; 6; 3;  [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
22. Can read: Yes; Yes; Yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; Yes
23. Can write: Yes; Yes; Yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; No
24. Can speak English: Yes; Yes; Yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; Yes

Ownership of Home
25. Owned or rented: R; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
26. Owned free or mortgaged: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
27. Farm or home: H; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
28. Number of farm schedule:  [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Analysis: The above listings/transcriptions are a bit hard to read, I admit it. So why go through the pain of typing it all out? It forced me to look at every single box and tick mark and code and notation. So, let’s put the above in a more user-friendly, narrative format:

Jacob Newhart (38, born Feb 1862) and wife Ann M. (39, born Oct 1860) were living in Lower Towamensing Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, with daughters Della (15, born May 1885), Emma (8, born 1891), Mary E. (6, born 1893) and Beulah M. (11/12, born June 1899), sons Harry R. (5, born Apr 1895) and George E. ( 3, born Apr 1897), and Ann’s widowed mother Emmaline Bonser (70, born Mar 1830). Jacob was renting the home they were living in when enumerator Ambrose E. Noll visited the household on 26 June 1900 to record the family’s information. Mr. Noll was working in his Supervisor’s District of 3 which oversaw Enumeration District 11. In order of visitation, the family was labeled as living in dwelling #279 and as family #300.

Jacob and Ann had been married for 14 years which makes their marriage year around 1886. Ann had ten children by 1900 of which seven were still living. Widowed mother-in-law Emmaline had eleven children by 1900 of which six were still living. Everyone in the household was born in Pennsylvania as were all their parents. 

Jacob was working as a carpenter and reported that he hadn’t worked three months out of the last year. Two children, Emma and Mary, were at school. Emma went for six months and Mary for three months. Parents Jacob and Ann, along with Della and Emma can read, write and speak English. Mother-in-law Emmaline can read and speak English but was reported as not being able to read it. 

Jacob and Ann Newhart took Emmaline Bonser into their household sometime before 1900. Unless Emmaline was invalid, she must have been a great help to the household with six children under the age of 15. If she was invalid, Ann certainly would have had her hands full running the household.

I was familiar with Monroe County as many of the Repshers are there but had to take a look to see where Carbon County was located in Pennsylvania. Turns out, it abuts Monroe County on the left side:

Carbon County, Pennsylvania

Monroe County, Pennsylvania

Instructions to the enumerators are a good way to make sure you understand what each item on the census means. The instructions for the 1900 are found on a handy website called IPUMS which stands for the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. From these instructions, we learn a bit about the way the states are divided up:

“74. Township or other division of county.-Every county is divided into parts, and the sum of these parts makes up the whole area of the county. But the names given to these county divisions differ widely. In the north central states, except Wisconsin, and also in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and California they are called townships. In New England, New York, and Wisconsin they are called towns. In the South and far West they are usually called districts or precincts; but in Mississippi they are called beats; in Louisiana wards; in Delaware hundreds.”

Further perusing the instructions for the 1900 census at IPUMS shows that:

  • Care was to be taken to get a person’s exact age. Enumerators were warned that, “Many a person who can tell the month and year of his birth will be careless or forgetful in stating the years of his age, and so an error will creep into the census. This danger can not be entirely avoided, but asking the question in two forms will prevent it in many cases.”
  • Women in the household were to provide the number of children they had and it does provide clarification about stillborn children. “This questions applies only to women, and its object is to get the number of children each woman has had, and whether the children are not living on the census day. Stillborn children are not to be counted.”
  • Some instructions around nativity were provided:
    • Write Ireland, England, Scotland, or Wales rather than Great Britain. Write Hungary or Bohemia rather than Austria for persons born in Hungary or Bohemia, respectively. Write Finland rather than Russia for persons born in Finland.
    • Note, also, that the language spoken is not always a safe guide to the birthplace. this is especially true of Germans, for over one-third of the Austrians and nearly three-fourths of the Swiss speak German. In case a person speaks German, therefore, inquire carefully whether the birthplace was Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
    • In case the persons speaks Polish, as Poland is not now a country, inquire whether the birthplace was what is now known as German Poland or Austrian Poland, and enter the answer accordingly as Poland (Ger.), Poland (Aust..), or Poland (Russ.).
  • Occupation questions applied to persons 10 years and older. Special care was to be given to ascertain what exactly the person labored at. “Indicate in every case the kind of work done or character of service rendered. do not state merely the article made or worked upon, or the place where the work is done. For example, the reply “carriage builder,” or “works in carriage factory,” is unsatisfactory, because men of different trades, such as blacksmiths, joiners, wheelwrights, painters, upholsterers, work together in building carriages. Such an answer, therefore, does not show what kind of work the person performs.”
  • Space was at a premium in Column 19 (occupation), so some abbreviations were given to the enumerator to use:
  • Occupation instructions were quite extensive. They ran from #153 to #223 with instructions on how to distinguish fisherman, mechanics, peddlers, teamsters, salesman, etc.
  • Home was defined as “By the word “home” in the census is meant any place of abode inhabited by any person or person, whether it is a house, a tent, a boat, or whatever it may be. If any such place of abide is inhabited by more than one family, it is the home of each of them, and it may accordingly be counted as two or more homes instead of one.”

Sometimes, handwritten notations were added after the censuses were compiled. The only hand notation found on the page was a “0976” written at the top right in the header section. The page before this one has “0967,” the page after has “0981,” and the page after that has “0996.” It is unclear what these were being used for or if they were a running tally of some sort.


This was a good exercise in tracking down my 3rd greatgrandmother, Emmaline Bonser, in the 1900 United States census. I found her living with her daughter and son-in-law Ann and Jacob Newhart. While Jacob labored as a carpenter, Emmaline was most likely a significant help to Ann running the Newhart household. The Newhart family in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, was not too far from the rest of the Repshers located in Monroe County.

[1] https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1900.html


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