Genealogy Search Tips

The US Federal Census and the
Search for John Reddington

We started our search with the online Social Security Death Index because some people born in the 1870s registered for Social Security. We did a simple search for John Reddington and it returned 43 John Reddingtons but none was born in the 1870s. Next we dropped a "d" and tried John Redington and the search returned 21 John Redingtons but none was born in the 1870s.

We decided to search the US Federal Census Records for a John Reddington who was less than 10 years old in 1880. We searched the 1880 US Federal Census for John Reddingtons born in 1875 (+ or - 5 years) and so this search covered from 1870 to 1880 for birth year. The search returned 16 John Reddingstons born during this time period. Then we dropped a "d", did the same search for John Redington in the 1880 US Federal Census and found 13 John Redingtons born between 1870 and 1880.

We then looked at the 29 search results (16 with 2 ds and 13 with 1 d) to see if the mother was listed as Margaret. We found one John reddington, born in about 1874 in Pennsylvania, whose mother was listed as "Margret". We found another, born in about 1879 in Pennsylvania, whose mother was listed as "Margrett". We found a third, born in about 1879 in Kansas, whose mother was listed as "Margaret" and we found a fourth, born in about 1880 in Massachusetts, whose mother was also listed as "Margaret".

Our starting information indicated that John Reddington was born in Pennsylvania and so the first or second search result was more likely our John Reddington than the third one who was born in Kansas or the fourth who was born in Massachusetts.

Next we looked for siblings listed in the 1880 US Census. We believed that John Reddington had a sister Elizabeth but there was no Elizabeth listed as a sibling in either of the Reddington families where a John was born in Pennsylvania.

So we looked at the 1900 US Census where we found an Elizabeth in the Reddington family where the father was listed as Michael in 1880. However, in 1900 Margaret was listed as the Head of the house and a widow.

We decided to search some Family Trees at and we entered "reddington" for Surname and "john" for Given Name. We received 17 pages of results with listings of 339 John Reddingtons. So we added pennsylvania as Birth Place and searched again. This time we received only 1 result but it clearly was not our John Reddington.

Next we dropped a "d" and did a new search for "john redington". This resulted in over 300 john redingtons and so we added pennsylvania as Birth Place and searched again. This time 5 John redingtons were listed and so we analyzed the records.

The records indicate that "John Joseph Redington" was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania on February 27, 1875 and that he died on April 24, 1961 in Kirkwood, St. Louis, Missouri. It also indicated that his father was Michael Reddington, born in about 1845 in Liverpool, England, and that his mother was Margaret Gilroy, born in Syracuse, New York in about 1850.

Genealogy Search Tip

Find a Birth Date

If you are looking for the birth date of a male who was living in the United States in 1942 you might try looking for a copy of his World War II Draft Registration Card.

All males born between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897 were required to register for the draft and the birth date was one of the questions. See our discussion of Military Records for additional information.

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