Monday, June 25, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Marion Alston

After posting the photograph and the wedding invitation of my second great grandmother, Marion Helen Alston, I thought I'd share some census records for her as a child.

My guess is that she lived her entire life in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1850 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny Ward 3, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
Roll: 744; Page 105B; Record for John Alston
In 1850, the household includes John Alston, age 44, occupation carpenter, born in Scotland, with value of real estate owned at $800. Wife, Lilly Alston is 44 and also was born in Scotland.
The following are assumed to be their children, although not specifically stated:
John, age 16, occupation Carpenter, born in Scotland
William, age 8, born in Pennsylvania
Andrew, age 3, born in Pennsylvania
Lilly K., age 12, born in Pennsylvania
Margaret(h), age 10 (though looks like 19), born in Pennsylvania
Marion, age 4/12, born in Pennsylvania
Christine, age 4/12, born in Pennsylvania
And you can see in the far right-hand column that "twin" is noted for Marion and Christine. Based on the date that this census enumerator wrote at the top, 27th September 1850, I am estimating that the twins were born in May 1850.

The 1850 Census was taken over a period of five months beginning on June 1, 1850.

There are two additional members of this household (William Emson and Susan Helman) whom I cannot fit into this family except that the young man was born in Scotland and is a carpenter, so perhaps he came from the same Scottish community that the Alstons did.


1860 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny Ward 3, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
Roll: 1067; Page 963; Record for John Alston
Between 1850 and 1860, John Alston's first wife, Lilleas, died and he married Marian. You can see in column 11 (married within the year) that there are check marks there for John and Marian, indicating that they were married in late 1859 or the first half of 1860.

John is 54 years old, born in Scotland and is now a Master Carpenter. His personal estate is valued at $150. No household on this page lists the value of real estate, but since he owned real estate in 1850, my guess is he owned some in 1860.

New wife of John (and step-mom of quite a few), Marian is 50 years old and also born in Scotland.
The children listed here (all born in Pennsylvania) are:
Laily (Lilly?), age 22
Margaret, age 20
William, age 18, with an occupation of clerk
Andrew, age 12
Christiana and Marian, both age 10.

The youngest three are in school.

By 1870, some of the children have married and settled down in their own households. Remaining with father, John and stepmother, Mary [sic: s/b Marion], are four of his children.

1870 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny Ward 4, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
Roll: 1291; Pages 377B and 378A; Record for John Alston (and family)
John Alston, age 64, born in Scotland, is now a Lumber Merchant with $10,000 value of real estate and $20,000 value of personal estate. Wife Mary is 60 years old, born in Scotland, and she "Keeps House." The four children of his who are still living at home are:
Andrew, age 22, a clerk
Lilly, age 33, "at home"
and on the next page, Christina and Mary [sic: s/b Marion], age 20. Marion married five years after this census was taken and Christina never married.


  1. I love reading post like these that you write. I keep forgetting that what I know from the records, my relatives don't know. By writing in the same fashion you have done, I'll be better able to communicate my findings. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

    1. Devon,
      I'm glad this kind of post helps you. I find that it takes me a long time to write a post like this because I'm closely reviewing materials that I may not have looked at for years. I then sometimes go browse online for additional tidbits to add.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.