The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 11
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Migration into East Texas, 1835-r86o 11
How far back of the census date will the child-ladder method
detect migrations? The answer depends indirectly upon the num-
ber of years children customarily remained under the parental
roof. Just as they did not leave home at any fixed age, so the
ascertained arrivals do not stop abruptly. The annual totals ap-
pear to have a certain coherence for as much as twenty-two years
before the census; but the maximum reach of the method as an
instrument of statistical measurement is around sixteen years.
Information from the Census of 1850 thus begins to be useful
about 1834-1835. Since each later census comfortably overlaps
its predecessor, the Censuses of 185o to 188o taken together can
afford a continuous coverage of annual migration from 1834-1835
The preceding paragraphs have shown that the child-ladder
method will detect and describe the migration of a good fraction
of the free families arriving in Texas each year from 1834-1835
through 1879-1880. In other words, the method provides a large
sample of migration, and tolerably accurate information about
the sample. Next comes the problem of judging how far the
sample is representative. Migrants not included within the sam-
ple divide into three groups, namely, families having children
but eluding detection, childless couples, and single persons. The
similarity between detected and undetected families with chil-
dren should preclude any significant difference in their migratory
behavior. The main puzzle is to know how much the migration
of persons not burdened with children, especially unmarried
men, differed from the migration of families. (The free adult
males of Texas in 1860 outnumbered the females by 36,279.)
One may suppose that the single man moved farther and faster,
more often and more boldly, than the family. But this common-
sense presumption ought not be overdriven. Granting single men
greater mobility, the likelihood remains that their starting places
For this reason, and because the work of "adjusting" masses of small figures is
exceedingly tedious, the main tables and illustrations showing sources of migration
are based upon gross totals. All tables and illustrations which show rates, or a
combination of sources and rates, are based upon adjusted totals.
9The censuses prior to 1850 did not record the items necessary to detect mi-
gration. The manuscript returns of the general population schedule of the Census
of 189o are no longer extant. And the returns of the later censuses are not open
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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/m1/17/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.