Don’t Believe Everything You See On TV

I’m watching Genealogy Roadshow online since I missed it on TV. Every now and then, I try to look up the documents they have found, or the ones they skipped over.

The New Orleans episode followed the story of Charles Montaldo, who the family thought had gone to Alaska.

They showed him in the 1880 census in New Orleans, with wife Bridget and children, and I was able to find the listing easily.

The family believed he went to Alaska, but the researchers were certain he wasn’t in Alaska.

Instead, he went to Sacramento in 1880. Next they found him in Albuquerque in 1882. The next record was the 1910 census, with a different wife, Ida, allegedly married for 20 years, in Reno. They then found an article that he died in 1910.

The thing is, the 1880 census said he was born in Tennessee and his parents were born in Louisiana. The 1910 said he was born in Kentucky, father born in Italy, mother born in Louisiana. Are they sure it’s the same person?*

But what happened to the 1900 census that they skipped over? Searching online, I found only three listings for Charles Montaldo. Two were in Louisiana, one was clearly his son, the other did not match his age.

The third? Nome, Alaska.



No other details are listed for him beyond his name, but it is the only possibility that presented itself and matches the family’s story. It’s an unusual census page that appears to have just copied a ship list, clearly stating in the address column “Passenger List” for the steamer Aberdeen of Seattle. The column immediately after his name is for “Date of Locating in Alaska”, which says June 1900. The date of enumeration was 12 June 1900.

* Trying to find this census on FamilySearch so I could link to the page (which they don’t seem to have), I came across the 1870 census that says he’s born in Kentucky. So there’s that, to go with the 1910 census find from the show. Did those borders move or was he from near the border?

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