Thursday, June 10, 2010

Census Language Difficulty

In the 1850 Federal Census, the Peter White (Pierre LeBlanc) family of Millbury is shown in Figure 1.

As you see, the parents came from French Canada (Qu├ębec). Their entry into the United States was in 1843. Thus, this was their first census here.

Learning English and being understood by the census taker was not easy. Peter found it easy to call himself by his Anglicized name, but Victoria had difficulty.

Her name (Victoire) is pronounced Victwa in French, and the census taker apparently did not understand. What must have followed were attempts to explain, such as “like the Queen!” or “Queen Victoire.”

So the result, as you see in Figure 2, is “Queen V. White”

No comments:

Post a Comment