Monday, January 8, 2018

An Earlier Glimpse of Kate

In searching for information on the couple featured in a photograph I found in a northern California antique shop, I'm still at the early stages of confirming the identity given on the back of the cabinet card. We can presume the photograph was taken in Louisville, Kentucky, and thanks to someone's thoughtful thoroughness, the names of the two subjects were handwritten on the reverse. We've already located a marriage record which seems likely to belong to that named couple, William Bernard and Kate Allen-Smith Hopkins, including names of the two witnesses.

Those witnesses may have been a husband and wife living in Louisville at the time, named Charles and Addie Allen. They were of an age, according to the 1900 census, to be more likely Kate's parents than a married sibling, except for one detail: Addie had only been married to Charles for twelve years, but Kate was already twenty years of age.

Had I located the wrong C. L. and Addie Allen?

I decided to take the easiest of two possible routes as my first attempt to verifyor rule outthis Charles Allen as Kate's father. I looked for an earlier record that would contain both Charles and a daughter named Kate in Louisville.

Moving backwards in time from the 1900 census, of course, lands us in that murky twenty year gap between two existing federal enumerations. But in 1880—our next option, as well as the very date the married Kate Hopkins declared as the year she was bornthere was a household containing a Charles Allen with a baby daughter named Kate. True to the later report, that earlier census record indicated the baby was born in February. And Charles declared the same occupation in both records, that of carpenter.

In the household, besides baby Kate, we find an older brother named William, who was born four years prior.

Most important, we learn that Charles' wife's name, in 1880, was not Addie, but Elizabeth. If we have the right household, that would mean that Elizabeth was likely the one who was Kate's mother.

Genealogy being genealogyand I being the doubtful researcher that I amI can't just leave it at that, though. What if I have the wrong C. L. Allen? After all, his name could have been Carl. Or Calvin. There are any number of possibilities. And we all know how perennially popular a name like Kate has been.

With that in mind, as I mentioned the other day, not only was it likely that I would pursue both of my research options, but it is precisely what I will do next. And, that done, I have a funny feeling I might want even more verification than that.

Next step: fast forward to the other end of Kate's life.

Above: Excerpt from the 1880 U.S. Census for Louisville, Kentucky, courtesy of


  1. Her obit should be helpful should you find it...or Williams:)


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