My great great grandparents, Ingraham and Mary Rier, immigrated to Lubec, Maine from Nova Scotia in 1870. To trace the Rier family back in time, I searched Nova Scotia records. By accident, while searching for information on the Rier family in Lubec, I found a Rier family in the Robbinston 1850 census. Head of household: Stephen H. Rier. Occupation: Carpenter. Age: 43? Wife: Mercy. Age: 48. There are three laborers in the household: Freeman, age 27; Amos, age 24; John H., age 18. Children: Mary, age 16; Geo. E., age 14; Lucy A., age 11; Stephen, age 9; Elizabeth, age 6.
The transcribed census listed the place of birth for each family member as NY. I was confused as I was unaware of any Riers in NY but perhaps it is an extended family that immigrated to the US before my ancestors. Then, I combed the original census document. The place of birth for family members sure looks like N.S – Nova Scotia – not NY. I looked up 19th century cursive writing. Again, it looks like N.S., not N.Y to me.
What do you think? Is anyone out there an expert in handwriting of this period? A closeup of the census and an example of 19th century handwriting are shown below. I notice that the Y goes below the line.
I contemplated the enormity of a mistake in census transcription. It could be repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times in genealogy records by those of us striving to document our families. Is this a mistake in transcription?
Well, when I gain access to Nova Scotia records, I will keep my eye out for this family and see if they are related to Ingraham and Mary Rier. It is just another genealogy mystery waiting to be solved!