With the recent DNA results showing that Timothy Joseph Mahoney was the brother of my great-grandfather, John Mahoney, I decided to try searching the New Jersey State Census records. The above image is from the 1885 State of New Jersey Census, and since Timothy Mahoney married in Woodbridge on 1 September 1889, I’m fairly confidant the census record is the correct one.
A decennial census is one recurring every ten years. New Jersey conducted its own decennial state census from 1855 to 1915. Pre 1855 NJ state censuses are incomplete, and the 1885 is the first one that survived complete and indexed. FamilySearch, a free genealogy site from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has online the 1885 – 1915 New Jersey state censuses. Ancestry.com, a paid subscription site, has the 1905 and 1915 ones. Often the FamilySearch records have a clearer image. Since the 1890 Federal Census only remains in fragments, looking for state census returns can be very helpful in family research. A good online site to check for state census records is Cyndi’s List at http://www.cyndislist.com/categories/
FamilySearch also has a guideline as to what state censuses were taken and when: https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Census_State_Censuses
The 1885 NJ State Census shows that all of the Mahoney family living together in Woodbridge Township were born in Ireland. The headings include: Name, First and Last; Residence; Race; Gender; Native or Foreign Born; and Age Range ( 5 years and younger, 5 to 20, 20 to 60, and over 60). Under Foreign Born are the headings – Irish, German, and All Other Nationalities. While I was originally looking for Timothy Mahoney, it is quite likely I found my own great-grandfather, John Mahoney. From Federal Census returns he usually put down that he emigrated from Ireland in 1879. Michael Mahoney most likely was another brother. Both Timothy and John named a son Michael.
What is also intriguing is Bridget Mahoney. Possibly she was the sister of the Mahoney brothers, but she could also have been their mother. We know their mother’s name was Bridget Mahoney, née Buckley. When I sent this census return to my sister, she quickly looked at FamilySearch for any deaths recorded for a Bridget Mahoney in Woodbridge, NJ, and she found one for a Bridget Mahoney, born in Ireland circa 1831, and died 11 May 1894.
When I looked to see if the death record could be ordered from the New Jersey State Archives, I found it under 11 May 1895, but it looks to be the same Bridget Mahoney, age 63, Woodbridge, Middlesex County. NJ. I ordered the record and I will post it on our Genealogy Sisters blog when it comes in. Although it may turn out to be the wrong Bridget Mahoney for our family, the record can always help another Mahoney family.
Now you know how easy it is for one piece of family research to lead to another – at least for me! I keep a notebook to remind me what I’m trying to accomplish. Back to the New Jersey census returns!
In the 1895 NJ Census I found Timothy Mahoney living in Newark – Ward 7, Essex County, with his wife, Mary, both age 20 to 60, and son John, age under 5. Son, John Mahoney, was born 18 December 1890 from other records. Their son, Timothy, was born 27 August 1895 in Newark. Although the date the enumeration was taken isn’t on the top of the form, most were taken in June or July, so Timothy wasn’t included [Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data – New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives].
For the 1905 New Jersey State Census, Timothy Mahoney was living in Newark, Essex County, NJ, in the 1st Ward, with his wife, Mary, and children. It was taken on the 10th of June. Timothy was born in Ireland April 1862, occupation Tailor, living in the USA 21 years, Naturalized. Mary was born in Ireland May 1865, living in the USA for 16 years. Their children were: John, born Dec 1890; Timothy, born Aug 1896; Michael, born August 1897; Jeremiah, born September 1899; Bridget, born August 1901; nd Lawrence, born 1904 (month not legible). The children were all born in New Jersey [“New Jersey State Census, 1905,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMWJ-H8V : 8 November 2014), Timothy Mahoney, , Essex, New Jersey, United States; citing p. 12, line 72, Department of State, Trenton; FHL microfilm 1,688,596].
When the 1900 Federal Census was taken, Timothy Mahoney was listed as born in Ireland in June 1861, age 38. In the 1910 Federal Census the month and year are not listed, but only the age, and Timothy Mahoney was listed as age 47. By the 1920 Federal Census Timothy was listed as age 53, born about 1867. It seems common in our Irish family research to see conflicting birth dates.
The last New Jersey State Census available for Timothy Mahoney was the 1915 one, taken on June 1st. The Mahoney family was living in Newark, Essex County, Ward 15. Timothy and Mary’s son, Michael, had died in Newark on 2 April 1908. Timothy Mahoney, Sr., was listed as born in Ireland in February 1862, occupation Tailor, living in the USA for 31 years, and Naturalized. His wife, Mary was born in Ireland May 1870. living in the USA for 27 years. Their children listed were: John, born in NJ December 1890, occupation Bookkeeper; Timothy, Jr., born in NJ August 1895, occupation Driver; Jeremiah, born in NJ September 1899, occupation Laborer; Bridget, born in NJ August 1901, Scholar at St. Patrick’s; Lawrence, born in NJ March 1904, scholar at St. Patrick’s; and Hanoria, born in NJ October 1908, not yet in school [“New Jersey State Census, 1915”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9Q-CQ6W : 8 October 2014), Timothy J Mahoney, 1915].
Timothy Mahoney, Sr., was my second great-uncle. From DNA results from descendants of his son John Aloysius Mahoney (1890-1984), that I matched with on AncestryDNA, I have been able to find out more about this branch of our family tree. I’m so thankful the family has wanted to share information! Quite a few years back, my sister and I had thought this family was possibly related to us, based on the naming pattern of their children, and the fact that they lived near our great-grandparents John and Mary Carter Mahoney, who had moved from Brooklyn, New York to Harrison, New Jersey, circa 1898.
Both the DNA results and the death records of brothers, Timothy and John Mahoney confirmed our research. My great-grandfather, John Mahoney died on January 26th 1916 in Newark, and his brother, Timothy, died on May 22, 1921 in Newark. They both listed their parents as John Mahoney and Bridget Buckley. Now with the 1885 New Jersey Census it appears likely that my great-grandfather, John, had first lived in Woodbridge, New Jersey before moving to Brooklyn. I am still on a quest to find out where he lived from 1879 to 1885, but by researching his Mahoney siblings I may find out more.
Many immigrants came to Middlesex County in the 1800s, because of plentiful jobs, and its ideal location for industry along the Raritan River. Timothy Mahoney consistently listed his occupation as a tailor in census returns and the Newark, NJ directories. It is unknown if this was a skill he acquired in Ireland or New Jersey. DNA results point to our Mahoney family coming from County Cork, Ireland. Our family had also said County Cork was our Mahoney family’s Irish origins.
Good luck searching through census returns for your family!
Copyright 2017 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.
15 thoughts on “New Jersey State Census Returns 1885 – 1915 for Timothy Mahoney”
Great progress Maryann, congratulations! 🙂
Thanks, Amberley! It is so interesting to see these family records tie in together. I am in awe of people like you that index these census records!
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Well shucks, thank you! 🙂
Family Search is not always FREE! They make you pay a fee to see some of my local colonial era Presbyterian church records which galls me! Local historical societies should have the records on hand. I’m already a member and let’s keep a copy local!
Sorry to hear you have had to pay for records from Family Search. At least the census returns are free and indexed. For years I ordered microfilm and looked at them slowly at a local LDS. Now I’m not near one. I’ve also enjoyed going to local historical societies. Good luck searching!
Please go to archive.org for your free census. It’s much better than Family Search and you can enlarge them of course and they download better.
Thanks for the Census searching tips!
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I’m quite addicted to the census! LOL
Family Search has lots of great features that are free but the church records, unless they posted them for free you must go to a local LDS center. I usually find where they are at on the FS census and then look them up again in archive.org. Go to Text section and then genealogy before typing in complete census: 1850 New York census. They have from 1790 to1930
Thanks for the suggestions! They also have lots of old compiled genealogy books. I do wish I had fast unlimited internet, but since I live in the country I have to use satellite internet with monthly limits. Genealogy searching is so addicting! I love your blog, by the way!
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Thanks for loving my blog! We have DSL Internet again, not as fast as cable internet, but it’s working okay right now..
Wonderful discoveries! I love census records and have also used the NJ state records as well as the NY records. But yes, those conflicting birth dates can make you crazy (and it is not just your family!!).
Amy, Thanks! I love hearing about your new discoveries, too! I always think doing genealogy is not only family research, but a way to learn new history.
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Absolutely—without context, we can’t possibly understand our ancestors’ lives.
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