Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Unchristened" 13-year-old

As I was working on my Boyers family, I came across a curious entry on a 1850 census record. One of the children in the household is listed as "Unchristened Boyers." After finding this record, I searched Ancestry for all census records for an individual with the "first name" listed as "unchristened." There were 84 results. Some of these were actually listed without a first name, but a researcher has added "unchristened" to the name field. All of the other 83 children are babies who appear to be less than 12 months old.

1850 U.S. census, Cocke County, Tennessee, population schedule, District 11,  p.397 [printed], dwelling 761, family 761, Isaac Boyres household; image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M432, roll 874.
But, this "Unchristened" Boyers was listed as 13 years old! The family appears to have listed the children by age, so the age appears correct. And, this male is listed as attending school that year, which again dispels the possibility that he is actually an infant. I have no idea why a 13 year old would be listed as unchristened. Any ideas?

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 23 August 2016); Record, David Boyer (1837-1891), Memorial No. 37564026, Records of Sarah Ottinger Cemetery, Cocke County, Tennessee. Photo by Marie & Dale V. Used with permission. [Thank you!]

From what other researchers have done, it appears this "unchristened" boy was actually David Boyer who was born on June 3rd, 1837 and died on November 15th, 1891. He is buried at Sarah Ottinger Cemetery in Cocke County, Tennessee.

If anyone has additional information, the person I am really interested in on this census record is the last one: James Boyers [highlighted yellow] who is 21 years old. As you can see, he is not listed in age order as the other "children" are and I don't believe he is one of Isaac and Elizabeth's sons.  If anyone has more information about James, I'd love to talk!

My email address: drleeds@sbcglobal.net.


  1. Interesting. I've never seen that on a census record.

    1. It's such a strange case! I wonder if the census taker asked them a question in such a way that they answered he was "unchristened." I just don't know!

  2. Do you know which church the family attended? I wonder what the rules were for christening in it. I suppose we could infer that the other children _were_ christened. Maybe Dave McDonald (http://onwresearch.thinkinggenealogically.com/) could help. He's a fine genealogist and also a minister.

    1. Marian, Great questions! And, thanks for telling me about Dave McDonald. I'm not even sure this family is related to me at this point, so I haven't looked into church records. The person I was interested in is the James Boyers listed at the end... who "could" be a nephew of Isaac and, if so, possibly my relative. Thanks for stopping by and giving me these tips!


Color Clustering: Top 25 Fourth Cousins

For more on Color Clustering & DNA, please visit my new website at: www.danaleeds.com  For another look at how Color Clustering works...