Did Fred Have a Sex Change?

One would have to wonder if Frederick Ward had a sex change between the 1850 and 1860 census. Now of course we know he did not, but the 1850 census listing for him doesn’t help sway that idea. The following image reflects Frederick’s entry in the 1850 Lawrence County, Mississippi Census (pg 418a, line 41).

As you can tell by the enumerator’s handwriting, figuring out that the name above is Fredrick, may not be obvious to most transcribers who haven’t seen the whole Lawrence County census. But this sherriff has a habit of dotting the wrong letter, and his small d’s consistently look like a’s, making transcribing a headache. So I was left scratching my head as to why he had a sex of “female” listed for a Frederick. Is this simply a mistake in enumeration? I went and searched for Frederick in the 1860 census for Lawrence County (page 6, line13).

Thankfully, I did find him after searching for just “Ward” in 1860 index at Ancestry. The index for the image above shows as “Fed Ward” and it appears that I will have fun transcribing the 1860 census, as the enumerators usage of name shortening is all over that one page. The good thing is Fred has his sex in order, and being a man, I know how important that can be to us. No man wants to go through history being called a woman!

Copyright 2006 by Genealogy Research. All Rights Reserved.

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