Can someone help me read a census form from 1880?

+6 votes
I've uploaded the .pdf document as a source at the following page:

I can't read the abbriviation on line #10 under Birth Place of Father. It doesn't say Ohio like most others. It is an abbriviation for another State or country, but I can't make it out.

Any help would be appriciated,

WikiTree profile: Robert Ward
asked in Genealogy Help by Andrew Ward G2G1 (1.1k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
Where is the census?
it is the .pdf document listed under images on page of the link I provided
I would say Virginia.  I don't think Pennsylvania was abbreviated PA in 1880.  Also, the image displays (before you click on it) the Adobe logo.  There is a way to correct this as I have seen a question about this very thing in the g2g but I don't remember the answer.
Thanks for the help. I couldn't figure out how to display the image on the thumnail instead of the Adobe logo.

2 Answers

+2 votes
My vote is Va. or Virginia. It's written on the line below as well but a little bit more clearly.
answered by Carrie Quackenbush G2G6 Mach 7 (72.3k points)
Thanks for looking. I can't tell if it's Va or Pa or something else
+6 votes

Hi Andrew Ward and Carrie, 

It looks like Pa to me. 

A capital letter so formed appears on several of the entries on same page where there are also other several letters more clearly captial "V." 

All the entries noticeably a "V" are distinguishable by a an opening upstroke, curve to the right and then downstroke. That letter formation ends with an upper drag to the right.

What I see as a "P" seems formed differently. It seems initiated by a downstroke that curves to the left followed by an upstroke and curve to the right (forming a sort of loop). This letter then ends with what I'd call a distinctive curlicue.

answered by GeneJ X G2G6 Mach 4 (49.6k points)
Thanks for taking the time to look. It does seem to be different from the clear Vs, but whatever it is, it's pretty sloppy. If it's not a P or a V then what else could it be?
I would also say Pa -- the "V's" look to be shaped differently; they start on the line below, while Pa starts on line above.  You might try pulling an earlier census and compare info.

Hi Andrew,

Is there a reason you think it wasn't "Pa?"

As above, without some clue to the contrary, I would interpret the writing as "Pa."

Well I could swear it was a Va until I read your description GeneJ_X. It made more sense that Robert and Sally would meet in Virginia and migrate to Ohio together.

But going back and looking at the rest of the page, there appear to be about 3 instances of a name that is surely Parmelia, the best example being in family 130, using the same squirrelly P. And possibly a man named Pyle at family 131? Who would name their child Vyle. indecision

So now I vote Pa.

Cool, Carrie. Very good additonal logic and reasoning.
I, also, looked at the name "Parmelia" to compare it to the V's and P's.  I decided that was actually "Cornelia" (anyone ever heard the name Parmelia?).

I vote for Pennsylvania, which is right next to Ohio.  To get to OH from Virginia, you have to go through West Virginia, don't you?  That seems a "fur" way to go back in the 1880's via horseback/wagon.
Yes, I have.  Permelia/Parmela (plus other spellings) Burnside was wife of Judge Edghill Burnside.  They were the parents of Ambrose Burnside (Civil War Maj. Gen and later RI Governor).

Hey you can't bring C into this! smiley

I believe it's one of those 19th century names that fell out of use. There are several profiles on Wikitree with the name, more so Permelia.

I also think it was "Pa" although I think the census taker May have started to write "Va" since there are so many other ones on the page.
thanks for taking a look. I've gone back and forth on it myself. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a record of his father in either PA or VA

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