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… and in the laws … and the index

Okay, so The Legal Genealogist is getting ready to head off to Ohio for the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, and you know what that means, right?

astrologerYep, once again, I’m poking around in musty old volumes of forgotten legal lore.

Well, maybe not so forgotten in this case.

Because the law that just tickled my fancy as I was poking around yesterday was a bit newer than some that I’ve written about in the past.

This one was adopted by the Ohio Legislature on the 16th of April 1900.1 And it wasn’t repealed until 1974.2

The law read, in part:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1. That whoever shall represent himself to be an astrologer, a fortune-teller, a clairvoyant or a palmister shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall for each and every offense be fined not more than one hundred dollars and not less than twenty-five dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail for a period not longer than three months nor shorter than thirty days, or shall, within the discretion of the trial court, be both so fined and imprisoned.3

Ouch.

But then there was the “except” language. There has to be an exception, right? And Section 2 of this Act — the exception provision — read, in its entirety: “Nothing in this act contained shall apply to any astrologer, fortune-teller, clairvoyant or palmister to any astrologer, fortune-teller, clairvoyant or palmister to whom a license to practice has been legally granted.”4

Now who’d-a thunk it? A license! To practice astrology, fortune-telling, clairvoyance or palmistry! A bargain, under the law, at only $300 a pop.5 Only 10 times the licensing fee for keepers of shooting galleries,6 and only 20 times the licensing fee for vendors of gunpowder.7

So… did anybody in Ohio ever actually claim to be an astrologer?

Well, if you look at the census records, you’re going to find two things.

First, some people did claim it.

In 1930, 71-year-old Barbara Yaeger of Cincinnati was enumerated as an astrologer working out of her home. I suspect the bills may have been paid by her middle-aged daughters, one of whom was enumerated as a farmer and two as dressmakers.8

That same year, 42-year-old Paul Sandridge of Dayton was also enumerated as an astrologer working out of his home.9 He shows up listed that way in the 1930 city directory, too.10

In 1940, you can find David Stuart enumerated as an astrologer, who plied his trade door-to-door.11

That’s the fun part.

Then it gets wonky.

Because, when you look for astrologers in the census on Ancestry, you get some decidedly odd results. Like an index entry for the 1920 census for 33-year-old Theodore N. Smith of Cleveland. For him, the index includes:

Occupation: Physician
Industry: Astrologer12

Um… no. Oh, the occupation is entered correctly. It does read physician. But the industry column? The word there is osteopathy.

Ah, the things you can find when you start out poking around in the law…


SOURCES

  1. S.B. 162, 94 O.L. 363 (1900); digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015).
  2. Ohio R.C. 2911.16, repealed effective 1 Jan 1974. See Chapter 2911: Robbery, Burglary, Trespass and Safecracking, Ohio Revised Code, LAWriter (http://codes.ohio.gov/ : accessed 6 Apr 2015).
  3. §1, S.B. 162, 94 O.L. 363 (1900).
  4. §2, S.B. 162, 94 O.L. 363 (1900).
  5. Ohio Rev. Code §2672-36 in Rufus B. Smith and Alfred B. Benedict, ed., The Verified Revised Statutes of the State of Ohio (Cincinnati : Ohio Valley Co., 1893), I: 699; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015).
  6. Ibid., §2672-25, I: 697.
  7. Ibid., §2672-24.
  8. 1930 U.S. census, Hamilton County, Ohio, Cincinnati, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 401, sheet 8(A), dwelling 51, family 66, Barbara Yaeger; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 1806.
  9. Ibid., Montgomery Co., Ohio, Dayton, pop. sched., ED 65, sheet 10(B), dwell. 120, fam. 163, Paul Sandridge.
  10. Williams’ Dayton Directory for 1930 (Cincinnati : Williams Directory Co., 1930), 1216; entry for Paul Sandridge; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015).
  11. 1940 U.S. census, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cleveland, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 92-455, p. 6025 (stamped), sheet 12(A), household 200, David Stuart; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 3221.
  12. 1920 U.S. census, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, area, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 534, p. 69(B) (stamped), dwelling 115, family 170, Theodore N. Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication T625, roll 1374.
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