The 1880 census enumerator found Ulfert and Fredericka Behrens living in rural Clayton Township, Adams County, Illinois, on 11 June 1880. The family likely knew little English, and fortunately, the enumeration is fairly accurate. Here is an abstract of the enumeration:
Frederick Bhrens, aged 57, female, wife, keeping house, born Hanover
Trientie Bhrens , aged 85, female, mother, born Hanover
Mary Bhrens, aged 8, female, granddaughter, at school, born Illinois
S. Frederick Bhrens, aged 14, female, granddaughter, born Illinois
Ulfart Bhrens, aged 11, male, grandson, works on farm, born Illinois
Bhrens as a variant for Behrens is not a stretch and probably is the result of the low-German dialect the Behrens family spoke. Most of the first names are reasonable variant spellings (Ulfart for Ulfert and Trientie for Trientje).There are larger issues with this enumeration than the omission of a vowel in the last name.
Mother Trientje was easy to figure out; she was Ulfert's mother, and her name and age were consistent with other family records. Determining who the grandchildren actually were was more of a problem.
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