(This article was originally published January 22, 2014. It was most recently updated June 6, 2019.)

Nancy MORRIS shows up in the household of Laban MORRIS in 1850 and 1860, and best I can tell from ages on census records, she was living with the family as early as 1830. Many years ago, before I realized how census records worked, I had assumed that Nancy was another of Laban and Kitty’s children, but then I realized since she is older and listed after everybody else in the household, and that usually means she wasnone of their children.

It’s possible she is Laban’s niece or some other relative. In fact, is it possible she’s a daughter of Thomas Morris of Beaufort County, and granddaughter of Elisha Morris?

Anyway, here is what we know for sure about the mysterious Nancy MORRIS:

1850 Census – Swift Creek, Craven County, NC

Weird situation. Laban’s household shows up twice — once on November 6th, and then again on the 9th. On the 6th, she’s in Laban’s house, but on the 9th, she’s in his son William’s house.

November 6, 1850

November 6, 1850 - Nancy MORRIS is in the household of Laban and Carolina "Kitty" MORRIS. Her age is given as 28, meaning she was born about 1822.

November 6, 1850 – Nancy MORRIS is in the household of Laban and Carolina “Kitty” MORRIS. Her age is given as 28, meaning she was born about 1822.

November 9, 1850

November 9, 1850 - Nancy MORRIS is in the household of William B. and Susan MacIntosh MORRIS. Her age is given as 26 here, meaning she was born about 1824.

November 9, 1850 – Nancy MORRIS is in the household of William B. and Susan MacIntosh MORRIS. Her age is given as 26 here, meaning she was born about 1824.

1860 Census – Chocowinity, Beaufort County, NC

July 10, 1860 - Nancy is back in Laban's household -- this time, her age is given as 40, which would have her born in 1820. Kitty MORRIS died sometime between the last census and this one. Seems Laban didn't mind housing children who weren't his own. In 1850, his daughter, Alpha's, children from her first marriage, Nancy and Patrick NORRIS, are living in his house.

July 10, 1860 – Nancy is back in Laban’s household — this time, her age is given as 40, which would have her born in 1820. Kitty MORRIS died sometime between the last census and this one. Seems Laban didn’t mind housing children who weren’t his own. In 1850, his daughter, Alpha’s, children from her first marriage, Nancy and Patrick NORRIS, are living in his house.

 

If you have any information about this Nancy MORRIS, I’d love for you to comment below.