Some people replied with the name of the place when they left;
others replied with the name of place when the census was taken; in other cases it just seems that it was easier for the census taker to write ‘Russia’ rather than Lithuania,
Ukraine or other unfamiliar country names.
And there is another reason to be skeptical of the accuracy of the place of birth information.
Immigrants from the Pale had a very justified fear of the Russian and often local governments.
One way to manage this reality was to tell government representatives what they expected they wanted to hear or what they thought would bring them the least trouble.
This may well explain why a number of family members, who were clearly from Eastern Europe, may have answered ‘Maine’ or ‘New York’.