How Can You Not Know Your Name?

Hutcheson Case Study

Okay, if it isn’t bad enough that Oril didn’t know his date of birth, it appears that he also was a bit confused about his name! Luckily, the name thing is easier to deal with. As he had two names which began with O, it simply seems that at some point he began going by the other name or a nickname that he picked up along the way.

All the records in Tucson point to his name being Oril O. However, before 1916 — when he married — Oril doesn’t seem to exist. There is no Oril Hutcheson (or various other spellings of that last name) in the 1910 Census.

There is an Oral E. Hutcheson born 1877 in Iowa in Missouri in 1910 — but she is female. There are some O. C.s and some O. E.s scattered around who were born in Iowa within the date rage we are looking for. But there is no Oril O. And no possibilities who were born within the date range in Colorado.

However, there is an Ole O. Hatcheson/Hutchison/Hutcheson born in 1879 in Iowa who was in Hillyard, Spokane, Washington.1 He was living as a lodger with a large group of men who all worked on the railway. He was employed specifically as a conductor on a steam railway. Sounds about right for our Oril O!

For the 1900 Census, Ole Hutchinson was in Fairmont, Martin, Minnesota.2 He was born Aug 1876, was age 23, and was one of three boarders in the home of Richard A. Jones. He was born in Iowa but the birthplaces of his parents are reported as unknown. No occupation is listed for him.

For the 1880 Census, Oly Hutcheson is living with his family in Jordon, Monona, Iowa. He is ten months old, born in August. His parents are Thomas and Catherine, both age 33. He was born in Ohio, she was born in Missouri. His siblings are: David, age 11; Syrus, age 9; Thomas, age 7; Freeman, age 5; Joshep, age 3; and Oly’s twin sister Olive.

Based on the fact that this Ole was born in August, and the fact that his date of birth falls within the range located earlier, this is Oril. He was an Ole Oril or an Oril Ole. Possibly he was even an Oliver. The 1880 Census appears to come closest to reporting the date of birth reported on his headstone, August 1879, and the name of his father reported on his death certificate, Thomas Hutcheson. In 1900, he had moved away from his family so he either added a few years to his age, or appeared quite mature. Since his parent’s places of birth weren’t listed, they likely talked to the man he was boarding with — who likely truly didn’t know that much about him. In 1910, he is back to reporting his true age.

The reports that gave his place of birth as Colorado seem to simply have been mistaken. It is possible that he lived in Colorado immediately before Arizona. One has to be careful when asking questions in order to fill in documents. If a census enumerator asks, “Where are you from?”, you may assume that he is asking about your last residence instead of your place of birth.

1. 1910 U.S. census, Spokane County, Washington population schedule, Hillyard, enumeration district (ED) 207, sheet 29A, p. 279, line 9, Ole O. Hutcheson, lodger; digital images, ( : accessed 18 Dec 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1669.
2. 1900 U.S. census, Martin County, Minnesota population schedule, Fairmont, enumeration district (ED) 165, sheet 11B, dwelling 229, family 232, Ole Hutchison, border in the home of Richard A. Jones; digital images, ( : accessed 18 Dec 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 775.
3. 1880 U.S. census, Monona County, Iowa population schedule, Jordon, enumeration district (ED) 156, p. 93A, dwelling 45, family 45, Household of Thomas Hutcheson; digital images, ( : accessed 18 Dec 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 357.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.