Possible Genealogical Treasure

So I’m cataloging my little heart out this week and come across a copy of the Fifty-First Annual Report of the Directors and Officers of the American Asylum at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood and Company, 1867).  Turns out that pages 72-117 of this report contains a “list of pupils of the American Asylum from the opening of the school, April 15, 1817, to May 11, 1867.”  Fifty years worth of enrollment information!

And not just the names of the students, but all the following information: Residence (city, state); Year of admission; Age [at time of admission]; Cause of Deafness; “Deaf and Dumb Relatives” [number and relation, but no names]; “How supp’t’d” [by the state, friends, or family]; Time under Instruction; and “Remarks” [including whether still a pupil; profession; whether married; whether dead].

Most of the students came from New England, but a few were from as far away as Ohio and Virginia.  Just seems like a LOT of names, ages, and towns; too many to be ignored.  I’m wondering whether it might unlock a few genealogical puzzles where someone seems to disappear from the records for a few years. 

For example, why might Emeline Thayer not be in the federal census at Warren, Vermont in 1860?  Well, because she was at the school for 7 years starting in 1859.  What about Philander Thayer of Sandisfield, Massachusetts not being in the 1850 federal census there?  He was at the school for 6 years from 1844.  Both were 16 when admitted.  Her deafness came as a result of scarlet fever at age 18 months; his due to “ulcers in head” at age 9 months.

The State Library of Pennsylvania copy of this report is in the Rare Collections Library, PV 100, no.5.

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Published in: on 25 April 2008 at 7:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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