Can the census of a certain year be trusted to be correct?

+5 votes
In the 1892 New York Census, there are 2 listing for a Simon Hock, with same wife, but with different ages and year of birth. How do I know which one is correct?
WikiTree profile: Simon Hock
asked in Genealogy Help by Robert Hock G2G4 (4.7k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Try to find them in other censuses?
Do you have links to the two censuses?
[ 1892 NY Census]

Most other census listings are correct, give or take a little, but this one clearly has 2 where there was not 2 before. Very confusing.
It's the same census. Same town, same year.

2 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
One of the Censuses is in fact dated 1892. Town of Catskill. Simon Hock, age 55, farmer. Wife Cathran, age 50. Both from Germany.

The other census is incorrectly dated by familysearch! It is in fact a 1905 Census, in which Simon is listed as age 68.  

Is there any kind of song titled, "You never know where the next human error in genealogy is coming from" ?
answered by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
selected by Robert Hock
Thank you so much--I never looked at the dates on top--now it is correct and perfectly clear. Thank you.
I hardly ever trust the transcriptions, I always look at the documents (if it's available) and read it myself. Plus, you usually find out other information that you'd miss if you only looked at the transcription! :)
so true. vive la numérisation!
+11 votes
What Matthew said. Any one census may have errors. It’s always good to compare it with other records including other census years. But also look at city directories, tax lists, land deeds, probates...
answered by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (662k points)

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