I received a nice packet of information from a correspondent from out of state, who has family roots here in Scipio's very early days. He visited us last summer and his recent mailing included a section of the 1820 census for Scipio showing his Smith ancestors.
I got thinking about how great census records are. They are in many cases inaccurate, and from year to year sometimes contradictory. But they are a fascinating glimpse into the communities of our ancestors. You can see who were neighbors, and a few years later those neighbors were sometimes newlyweds! Often, three or more generations lived together and a census offers a chance at discovering the name of that pesky elusive great-great-grandmother.
The censuses are a reflection also of the times. Who owned a radio, who worked where, how much was their property worth and when did they come to America are all questions asked at various times.
I looked up the 1800 census for Scipio. It listed the head of household only, then the total numbers by age groups within that household. Invariably, the families in those first few years were young and that makes sense as the countryside was undeveloped and required a pretty hardy individual to tame the land.
Here are the names shown on the first page of the 1800 Federal Census for the Town of Scipio in Cayuga County, NY:
Seth Burgiss Junr.