The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 9
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Migration into East Texas, 1835-1860
There another infant appears, and the oldest son is sent off to
school in Tennessee. When the census enumerator of Henderson
County calls in the autumn of 186o, he finds a family of eight,
consisting of two parents, two children born in Mississippi, and
four born in Texas. When an investigator turns to the enumera-
tor's record, he ascertains, according to his rules, the migration
of one family from Mississippi to Texas, presumably to Hender-
son County in 1850-1851. Of the whole story, his version is only
this meager and inexact epitome. The example has, of course,
been contrived to emphasize, by exaggeration, the limitations
and the fallibility of the child-ladder method. The great limita-
tion arises from the imprecision of birthplaces as recorded in the
census. Since birthplaces are shown by states, not by specific lo-
calities, the method deals only in state units. It cannot tell the
part of a state whence a family came; respecting destination in
Texas, it proves only the county of residence in the census year,
not the county of first settlement, though as a rule the two may
be the same. The method does not touch, nor pretend to touch,
movements within a state, whether the state be Texas, or the place
of first removal, or a place of intermediate residence. It detects
only interstate moves attested by the birth and survival of one
or more children living at home in the census year. The method
can and often does miss interstate moves. The number of misses
is not, however, alarming. Perhaps two-thirds of the families
coming to Texas made a single interstate move from the state in
which the first child was born; and those families moving more
than once between states must needs have hurried to escape de-
tection, for the normal gap between telltale children did not
exceed two or three years. The method commits countless errors
in assigning an exact year of arrival to individual families, but
in the combination of many arrivals the errors presumably cancel
out. In brief, the method describes reliably the direct or single
move migration into Texas. Applied to families that reached
Texas by, stages, the method will often miss a move, usually with
the effect of converting an actual two-stage migration (such as
Missouri to Arkansas to Texas) into an apparent direct migration
(Missouri to Texas, or Arkansas to Texas). Such errors result in
understatement, probably substantial, of the number of families
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/15/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.