The Ramonat Seminar: Discovering the Neighborhood 


I was in charge of mapping pg. 683 of this 1870 census, taken around the Holy Family neighborhood! Susie and Claire covered the other portions of our section.

Here are some stats to start off with:

  • I have a total of 40 residents
  • Of those residents, there are 9 “families” (Strong, Haganin, Teas, Vanever, Washburn, Camfield, Genard, Templease, and Brown), and three “singles” (John, Burchman, and Fay)
  • The Strong family only lists children between the ages of 9-16, with no parents attached to them
  • While most “families” consist of a mother and father plus a few kids, the Teas are a husband and wife (I assume) with a large age gap (53 Husband to Wife’s 37), and the Camfields are both in their 40’s with no children
  • 14 residents were born aboard (In Prussia (present day Germany), the Kingdom of Hanover (present day Germany), England, and Canada)
  • The rest are born in either Illinois or a Midwestern state
  • Those born aboard have marked both parents being born aboard, while Lizzie (3) and Mary (1) Genard are the only native-born American’s with that mark, indicated that their family immigrated shortly before Lizzie’s birth
  • It seems after the age of 16 or so, most children haven’t attended school within the year, do to the fact that high school and beyond hadn’t really caught on in that era
  • All men 21 and older could vote, all residences were literate, and no one suffered from mental or physical disabilities 
  • The age range is even as well as the mix of males to females
  • Finally, out of all the data the class collected, my page was the only one who had a family who was not of total white descent. The Browns had a black father, with the Mother and two children of mixed white and black descent or mulatto, to use the antiquated term

Drawing from an earlier reading in the course by Leslie Page Moch, chapter 4: “Migration in an Age of Urbanization and Industrialization”, it is clear that at least in this section of Chicago, that it is a Commercial City, one in which woman and men flocked to because of urbanization aka jobs.

All and all, this was a unique assignment that presented me with many challenges. It was pretty hard for me to read the handwriting of the census taker. While I can read cursive, I was taken aback that my chicken scratch style of writing ended up being the page I received! I don’t have confidence that the names are at all correct, among other things. The ancestry database cleared up a lot of confusion, but I still think it didn’t totally clear up the picture. This confusion lead to difficulty finding the males in the directory offered.

Other data was harder to determine as I don’t know what property value translates to in the modern age (with most of those fields missing), their dwelling houses, and so on. One field that I could make out reasonably well was the occupations section. All of my woman were confined to the house keeping or keep house field (which I distinguished as maid work vs. traditional wife role, though that might not be accurate), were in school, or were literally children and so were listed simply as “home”.

Using Michael B. Katz’s Occupational Classification List, however, I was able to see that the “professional” jobs I could make out (like Carpenter, and Chain Maker) fell under the III realm of work. While he says it’s not totally applicable to post-industrialized societies, I think the general assumptions of socioeconomic standing still applies.

Overall, I didn’t do too well on this assignment but, I do think it’s a valuable exercise in envisioning the landscape these people lived in, where they come from, among other things.


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