I need your help!

Genealogy isn’t a solitary hobby.

I am personally inclined to figure out things for myself, spend long hours pursuing facts hidden in books or archives and try to go it alone.  But I only get so far.

One of the more frustrating black holes (see Black Holes) in my family tree is my paternal great-great-great grandfather, Henry Martin Harris (1811-1876).  Some of the details of his life are clear and easily documented;  others are murky and hard to pin down.

I’ll tell you more about him in a later post, but today what I need is a little help from you.  In the 1860 Federal Census for Wayne County, Indiana, my great-great-great grandfather’s occupation is hard to read.  I’ve looked at it for long periods of time.  I’ve put it away and looked at it later.  I’ve shared it with my wife (who even feigned a little interest).  I’ve shown it to my co-workers.  And I can’t figure it out.

1860 Census

Entry for Henry Harris household in 1860 Federal Census for Wayne County, Indiana (click for larger version)

So I’ve posted two images.  The one above is the whole entry for the household.  It gives you a little sense of the handwriting of the census worker (I bet he had no idea that 150 years later I’d be trying to decipher what he scribbled down at Henry Harris’ house that day).

The other image is a close-up of the middle column–just his occupation.

1860 Census

The occupation listed for Henry Harris in the 1860 Census (click for larger version)

I’d love to hear anybody’s best guess of what that occupation is.  Maybe later I’ll give you more of the (admittedly murky) details of Henry’s life and maybe that will help.  But for now, I just want your best visual guess of what it says.

You can email me at kevhar72@gmail.com, leave a reply on this post or comment on Facebook.

Your help is appreciated!

This entry was posted in Harris family, Wayne County Indiana and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to I need your help!

  1. Bryan Godfrey says:

    All I can tell is that the first word seems to be “house.”

  2. Thanks, Bryan. That last word is a tricky one. I haven’t had anybody tell me with any degree of confidence what it could be.

  3. Pingback: More Questions than Answers | Arbor Familiae

  4. Dan Tate says:

    It was quite common for census takers to either mis-spell names and words… or be in such a hurry that their penmanship was not clear.

    Perhaps the last word is “Mover” ?
    I’m sure you’ve checked the entire document to see if other people were listed with the same occupation—and perhaps the writing in that case would be clearer.

    Good Luck!

    My blog link has many local history entries for Wayne County.
    Perhaps we could research to see if any local history books mentioned this person. If he is mentioned, perhaps we could discover his occupation in 1860.

    • Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. I have come across your blog several times when searching for information about Wayne County history. I appreciate all the work you put into it!

      I have looked around for more info about Henry Harris. I’ve been able to cobble together some things, but I’m always looking for more. You can read most of what I know about him in another blogpost at More Questions Than Answers

      I was at Morrison-Reeves last week and also found a mention in an old Wayne County Directory that he was a “toll gate keeper” in 1868 in Hagerstown. If you ever run across anything about the toll gate in Hagerstown, I’d be interested in hearing about it.

      A cousin of mine did an in-depth analysis of the census record, checking all the pages written by the same enumerator and he couldn’t figure out the occupation either. I think “mover” is the most likely interpretation of that final word, but I’m just not sure what that meant (maybe it only meant something to the enumerator himself!)

      Thanks again for your comment and for reading my blog.

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