|1900 census listing Ephraim Bennettt as an "prisoner" of a state prison|
Cole County, Missouri
RESIDENTS OF "OLD SOLDIERS' HOMES"
The first time I came across an "inmate" on a census, I was pretty surprised. But, as I read the census better, I realized that this individual was actually living in an "Old Soldier's Home." I'd never heard of this term, so I did a little research. One resource I found was the "Civil War Blog." It explains that President Lincoln initiated these homes for veterans of the civil war who had served honorably and were disabled from their service. Ancestry has a searchable database called U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938. It was years ago, but I need to find this census record again and see what other records I can uncover for this relative.
|1940 census listing Jack Bennett as "inmate" of Poor Farm|
Newton County, Missouri
As I mentioned in the post about the Missouri State Penitentiary, I found two brothers who had served time there. Well, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a third brother listed as an inmate! My first thought was, "another prisoner!" But, I found his burial record on FindAGrave showing he was buried in the "County Poor Farm Cemetery" in the same city (& same year!) as the census record. So, he wasn't an inmate of a prison; he was an inmate of a poor farm!
So, if you come across the term "inmate", you might need to look a little further to figure out what they are an 'inmate' of! Who knows what you'll uncover? And, all of these institutions (prisons, old soldiers' homes, & poor farms) can lead to more records! Happy hunting!
P.S. The Legal Genealogist has now written a post about 'inmates' and the instructions which were given to the census takers!
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org