Tag Archives: Census

The Elusive Conners


Trying to track down this family — the Conners — has been driving me nuts — for years. But I am a determined fella. It’s only a matter of time.

Ah, the crazy Conners. Even today, you can hear stories passed down from older generations about how backwards and hillbilly they were, which may help explain why it’s difficult tracing their footsteps. They may not have been very welcoming to strangers, including census workers.

Above is John Conner on the 1915 census for the state of Iowa. He was born in 1846, somewhere in Ohio, to a father with the same name, who, according to the 1900 census, was born in May of 1819, either in Ohio or Virginia, and who died sometime after that census and probably before the next one in 1910. I can’t find him after that one.

Note the name of the person who completed the form, a W. E. or N. E. Hill, most likely a relative.


Ogden, Iowa in 1920


In 1920, my great-great grandfather, Jerome Darling, lived in Ogden, Iowa, surrounded by a lot of Swedes. He was a dentist, studying the trade as a young man in 1890s Chicago.

I was looking for where in Chicago the family lived and came upon the 1920 census.

All I know is what’s been passed down through oral tradition: that they lived in the “Italian” section, apparently a rough, seedy neighborhood. My grandmother recounted a story of a drunk and rowdy man trying to get into their apartment. Whether he was confused or had evil intentions isn’t known. Thankfully, he didn’t succeed, only putting a big scare into the kids.

After learning about Chicago during this time, it is understandable why Grandpa Darling wanted to return to Iowa, preferring rural life to that of the big, smelly, dangerous city.