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Searching the genealogical records

Where does a genealogist look for the holiday spirit — the Christmas spirit — in these last frantic days before we all rush off to try to make more family memories?

How about … in genealogical records?

Really.

Okay, okay, so The Legal Genealogist may have been procrastinating on another project and chasing a genealogical squirrel and being distracted by one of those Bright Shiny Objects but…

I discovered that in 1790, there were three Holidays in the United States — and 13 Christmases.

In 1800, there were five Holidays and 11 Christmases.

In 1810, there were 17 Holidays and 15 Christmases.

Oh, and Santa Claus registered for the draft — the Old Man’s Draft, of course — in 1942. In Missouri.

Really.

I wouldn’t fool you.1

sclaus-draftIn 1790, William Holiday was enumerated in Hartford County, Connecticut, as head of a household that included four free while males under age 16, four free white males 16 and over, five free white females, and one slave.2 There’s a Naoma Holiday right beneath his entry, heading a household with two adult white males and four white females.3 And there’s an entry for one free person of color, enumerated as Negro Holiday, in Harford County, Maryland.4

Then there are the Christmases in the 1790 census: Felix in Berks, Pennsylvania; Henry in Warren, North Carolina; J and S and Wm Christmas in Claremont, South Carolina; John in Fayette, Pennsylvania; Mary and Rich in Orange, North Carolina; Tho and two Williams in Warren, North Carolina; another William in Franklin, North Carolina; and yet another William in New York City.5

Now come on … admit it … this is fun stuff.

In 1800, there were Holidays in Tioga, New York (Adam), Washington, Pennsylvania (James and John), Greenville, South Carolina (Wm) and Orange, New York (William). And these are just the Holidays. Add in the Hollidays and the Holedays and the Holladays and the numbers skyrocket.6

In the holiday spirit yet? No? Okay… In 1800, there were 11 Christmases. And most of ’em were there in North Carolina: Charles and James and Richard in Orange, North Carolina; and Thos and Thos Jr. and William in Warren, North Carolina. There’s a Richard in Edgefield, South Carolina too, and a John in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Add in two from New York City, a Thomas and a William, and Jane in Orange, New York.7

I have to admit, my favorite is Jane. Why? Because she lived in Cheesecocks, Orange, New York. That’s where one of the Holidays lived — that William of Orange, New York — and you know they had to know each other: “Happy holidays, Mr. Holiday!” “Why, Merry Christmas, Mrs. Christmas!”

You can do the same — if you’re so minded, and let’s face it: genealogists are always so minded — in the censuses afterwards. You’ll find those 17 Holidays and 15 Christmases in 1810, for example.8

But I have to admit, the image you see here is my favorite find of the day.

Santa Claus really did register for the draft. (You can click on the image and see it larger.) He was born, he said, on the 4th of April 1888 in Saline County, Missouri, and was living at that time — in April 1942 — in Marshall, Missouri. He was five feet three inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair.9

You will find Santa on the 1930 and 1940 census of Marshall, Saline County, Missouri. He was married and had six kids in the household in 1930;10 in 1940, he and his wife were enumerated with seven children, a brother and a brother-in-law in the household.11

And the best part of the draft registration?

Santa listed himself as self-employed as a minister.12

I sincerely hope it was a minister of good cheer.

Which is what you should be feeling right now.

Isn’t genealogy fun?


SOURCES

  1. Well… I might… but not about this.
  2. 1790 U.S. census, Hartford County, Connecticut, p. 434 (penned), line 28, William Holiday; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016); citing National Archive microfilm publication M637, roll 1.
  3. Ibid., line 29, Naoma Holiday.
  4. 1790 U.S. census, Harford County, Maryland, p. 289 (penned), column 1, line 7, William Holiday; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016); citing National Archive microfilm publication M637, roll 1.
  5. “1790 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016), search for Christmas surname.
  6. “1800 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016), search for Holiday surname.
  7. Ibid., search for Christmas surname.
  8. “1810 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016), search for Holiday and Christmas surnames.
  9. Local Board No. 1, Saline County, Missouri, No. 2441, Santa Claus; “World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942” database and images, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016), citing Fourth Registration Draft Cards (WWII), Missouri State Headquarters, Records of the Selective Service System, 1926 – 1975, Record Group 147, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.
  10. 1930 U.S. census, Saline County, Missouri, Marshall, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 20, dwelling 274, family 324, Santa Claus household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 1246.
  11. 1940 U.S. census, Saline County, Missouri, Marshall, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 98-21, sheets 19-B and 20-A (penned), household 445, Santa Claus household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2016); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 2155.
  12. Local Board No. 1, Saline County, Missouri, No. 2441, Santa Claus.
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