Reconciling the 1850 Census and Branch Information

By Geoffrey Latta, Secretary Historian


U. S. Males - Spreadsheet

U.S. Females - Spreadsheet

Reconciling the 1850 Census and Branch Information

I have undertaken an analysis of the 1850 census with the primary objectives of seeing how many Lattas in 1850 cannot be linked to a specific branch. The analysis also shows that a significant number of Lattas who should have been enumerated do not show in the published records and some individuals who show in the family details of the census do not have a matching reference in the branch information.

The three sources for the 1850 census that I have used are the and websites and my own research on the 1850 census conducted some years ago. In some cases, I recorded Lattas that the websites do not show and in few cases the opposite is true. Part of this relates to the way handwritten records were read – people who were clearly Lattas show up on the websites under names like Latty, Lotta etc which reflect either errors of transcription or difficulty reading original entries.

Given the number of missing Lattas in the 1850 results, I also looked at all those Lattas listed in the 1860 census who, based on their age, should have been alive in 1850. Both censuses were conducted in the same time frame (a 5-month period beginning June 1) and ages in the two censuses should therefore have broadly matched but it is not uncommon to find them off by a year or even more.

The resulting spreadsheets which will be posted on the website show:

1. For men, there are 258 individuals who show up in both the 1850 and 1860 results. Of these 240 (93.0%) can reasonably be identified with a branch. This is a higher total than I would have anticipated and suggests that the branch data is very robust.

2. For men, there are 168 individuals who appear in the 1850 census but do not appear in 1860. Of these I can identify that 31 died between the two censuses although undoubtedly others did also. However, it would still suggest that the 1860 census missed a number of Lattas. Of the 168, only 109 (64.9%) can be identified by branch. This is a significantly lower percentage than for those who showed in both censuses. This might suggest that some part of the total were those who were not really Lattas at all but were misrecorded under the Latta name.

3. For men, there were 100 individuals who appeared in the 1860 census, aged 10 or above, who were not listed in the 1850 census. A few might have been misrecorded by age and were actually under 10 but this is unlikely to have been a significant number. A few may have immigrated to the US during the decade. However, only 10 of this group showed as having a birthplace outside the US, so again this does not explain the discrepancy. Of the 100, I can only identify 46 (46.0%) by branch, which again may indicate that some are not really Lattas.

4. For women, there are 234 individuals that appear in both 1850 and 1860 and of these I can identify 215 (91.9%) by branch.

5. For women, there are 223 individuals who appear under the Latta name in the 1850 census but not in the 1860 census. Of these, I can identify 31 who married between the two censuses and 28 who died. Again, there are likely to be others in both groups that I could not identify. Out of the 223, I could link 170 to a specific branch (76.2%).

6. For women, there are 121 individuals who appear in the 1860 census over the age of 10 who I could not find in the 1850 census. Of these I can identify 21 who married during the decade and therefore would have been in the 1850 census under another name. Of the 121, I can link 69 to branch data (57.0%).

An interesting start point, would be to see if anyone can place the individuals and families that appeared in both censuses but who cannot be linked to a branch as these are most likely really Lattas.

In this category are:

1. Charles T Latta shows in both 1850 and 1860 in Gibson Co, Tennessee. He is aged 18 in 1850 and 29 in 1860 by which time he is married to Martha, aged 25. He was born in Tennessee as was Martha. Tennessee marriage record show Charles marrying Martha J Coleman in 1859.

2. David Latta and his spouse Mary show in both censuses, in 1850 living in Jefferson Co, Kentucky and in 1860 in Utica, Clark Co, Indiana. He was born in Indiana, aged 25 and 35 respectively and she was born in Kentucky aged 30 and 40 respectively. Their son Richard is in both (aged 1 and 11). Their daughter, Eliza aged 13 is in the 1860 census but not in 1850. In the 1860 census there is also a William Latta born Pennsylvania aged 62, presumably David’s father.

3. Robert Latta and his wife, Nancy, are in each census in Orange Co, North Carolina. They were both born in North Carolina. He was aged 48 and 62 in the two and she was listed as 35 in 1850 and 60 in 1860, so I suspect the first age is incorrect. Based on geography it is possible that this is Branch 7 although I cannot definitely identify them although this could be Robert, son of Thomas who married a Nancy Rily in 1827. Their children were Ann (aged 20 in 1850), Wilie F (male aged 16 in 1850), Jane (aged 14 in 1850), Presley or Prieslly (male aged 13 and 24), William (11 and 20), Lucy (aged 9 and 16 respectively), James (4 and 14). All the children were born in North Carolina.

4. Alexander Latta and his wife, Eliza. They lived in Philadelphia in 1850 and would appear to be the same family in Mill, Tuscarawas Co, Ohio in 1860, although this family was listed as Latte. In 1850 he was listed as aged 49 born in Pennsylvania, a policeman and in 1860 as aged 61 born in Ireland. Eliza was listed as aged 44 in 1850, born Pennsylvania and 54 in 1860 born Ireland. Their children were Thomas (aged 22 in 1850), William (aged 17 in 1850), Elizabeth (12 in 1850), Catherine (9 and 18), Andrew (aged 6 and 16) and John (2 and 12). All the children show as born in Pennsylvania. This may be a case of a name issue as the family in 1870 is listed as Latto with Alexander aged 72 and Eliza 65 both born Ireland. The son Andrew would also appear to be in the 1880 census as Latto.

5. John Latta in Brownsville, Fayette Co, PA. He is aged 18 in 1850 under the name Latty and aged 27 in 1860 as Latta, born in PA. In 1860 he is married to Charlotte, aged 27 also born in PA.

Does anyone know who these five families are?

The second issue would be identifying those who clearly belong to a particular branch but are not listed in the branch information or whose information does not match, either by date or name. It should be borne in mind that while I am assuming that a child showing in the household of a married couple is their son or daughter, it is possible that they might be another relative, such as a nephew or niece. Among examples of those I cannot match are:

1. From Branch 1, the 1860 census shows Albert B Latta aged 10 in Walnut, Jefferson Co, Iowa. He is the son of Alexander and Margret Latta. This is Alexander (#26) but the only child of about the right age is listed as Benton born 1851. Perhaps his name was Albert Benton Latta?

2. From Branch 1, there is a George Latta in the 1850 census in North Madison, Jefferson Co, Indiana aged 4, the son of William R and Rebecca Latta. This is probably William Robert (#12) for whom branch information was largely absent.

3. For Branch 1 there is an Oliver Latta aged 10 in the 1860 census with his parents Milton Miller (#31) and Julia Ann Latta. There is no Oliver listed in this family but James McDevitt Latta was the right age and appeared (aged 1) in the 1850 census but not in 1860.

4. For Branch 1, there is a Catherine A in the 1850 census aged 1 with parents John Quincy (#25) and Martha Latta in Ohio Co, Indiana but no matching listing in the branch record.

5. From Branch 3, there was a James G Latta, aged 9 in Twin, Ross Co, Ohio in the 1850 census, the son of William (#33) and Sarah Latta. But no child is listed for this couple that would match the entry.

6. For Branch 3, there is an Alice aged 1 in the 1850 census in Philadelphia, the child of James (#37) and Sarah Latta but the branch information does not list her.

7. For Branch 4, there is an Agnes in both censuses (aged 5 in 1850 and 15 in 1860), the daughter of George Clinton (#8) and Frances Latta in Greece, Monroe Co, NY but the branch information does not show any match.

8. From Branch 9, the 1860 census shows a Frank Latta aged 11 in Vineyard, Washington Co, Arkansas, in the family of James and Harriett Latta. However, James only married Harriet Sheldon in 1858 so Frank cannot be their child. It is possible that this is Frank, the younger brother of James, but in that case the age is totally wrong as he was born in 1836 and should have been 24 in the 1860 census. However, Frank did appear (aged 14) in the 1850 census and was not found in the 1860 census, so it might be him.

9. From Branch 29, the 1850 census shows an F M Latta (male) aged 6 in Salt Lick, Perry Co, Ohio, the son of Edward and Nancy Latta. This is Edward (#9) but there is no male child listed that appears to match this entry. There is a female, Alazana, born 1843 but this is stretch to a male F M although I could not find Alazana in the census so this may be the explanation.

10. From Branch 49 the 1850 census shows Andrew Latta aged 10 months in York Co, SC, the son of John and Elizabeth Latta. Branch data shows Andrew Jackson born January 19, 1851 but clearly he was born in either 1849 or 1850. In the same family there is a William B aged 10 and a Francis J M aged 9 in the 1850 census, who are not listed in the branch information.

11. For Branch 49, the 1860 census for Marion Co, Florida shows James Latta, aged 19, the son of John (#2) and Elizabeth Latta but there is no matching child, unless this is Robert (#3).

Can anyone shed light on these?

In addition, the spreadsheets show a number of individuals who cannot easily be identified. In some cases, location provides a good clue to the appropriate branch but in other cases, no link can be readily established. Any identification for these individuals would be helpful.

Also the census data highlights some errors in branch information. For example, Silas (Br 1 # 48) shows in the branch record as born in 1854 but is listed age 5 in the 1850 census so was probably born 1844. Similarly, M Jane (Br 7 # 141) is listed in the branch record as born in 1851 but appears (age 1) in the 1850 census.

The branches vary in the numbers that can be identified. Branches 1 and 3 have the largest numbers. Branch 1 had 80 people who showed in both censuses plus 45 who were only in the 1850 census and 14 only in the 1860. Branch 3 had 83, 56 and 18 respectively. Branches 4, 7 and 15 were the next most frequent with overall totals of 52, 56 and 56 respectively. Branches 4 and 15 were also the two branches with the highest percentage of their members appearing in both censuses.

Finally, the information allows a better estimate for how many Lattas were living in the US in 1850. Taking those listed in 1850 (426 men and 457 women) and adding those from the 1860 census who were alive in 1850 but not listed and did not marry into a Latta family during the 1850s, we get a further 100 men and 100 women. So the grand total is 1,083. Contrast this number with the 293 Lattas in England, Wales and Scotland in the 1851 British census plus an estimated further 150 in Ireland and the information again reinforces how Lattas thrived in North America.