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Showing posts with label U.S. census population schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. census population schedule. Show all posts

20 June 2013

How to abstract a U.S. census with Mathew Armstrong 1850 population schedule as my example

In this article, I will demonstrate how to abstract a census from a digital image to a genealogical software program. For this example, the 1850 U.S. census population schedule for Matthew Armstrong will be used with the genealogical software program Roots Magic.

In every census, the enumerators asked different questions. Start with the most current census in which a known family member has been located. Always work backward; find the family in each census; always abstract all of the information.

The 1880 U.S. Census population schedule is the first year that the enumerator asked the question about the relationship of each individual to the head of the household. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 census information does not establish relationships. When working backward or with the information from other documents when abstracting the 1850, 1860, or 1870 census records, I will add [relationship established from other documents] in the comments area. The relationship information is necessary for sharing documents. If I do not have the relationship information, an entry is made in my “to do” list or family research. Remember, census records are clues only!

In Roots Magic software, events may be shared with multiple people. Shared events are great for census or obituaries or any event with multiple names. The event is entered, abstracted with source cited only once and then easily shared with others.

For more articles on census research, read my other census or how to articles on this blog or a few of my Examiner articles include:

Happy tree climbing and roots digging,

13 April 2013

U.S. Census: Population Schedule

William J. Schuler family 1923, Lockport, IL. youngest to oldest - Dorothy, Mildred, Lloyd, Eleanor, Nettie, W.J. possession of Selma Blackmon

For the genealogist, every U.S. Population Schedule census provides unique information. Research each family in every census. The National Archives offers two concise articles, titled Clues in Census Records, 1850-1930 and Clues in Census Records, 1790-1840.
In order to compare census records by year, download and/or print the online information. Download both the index page and the census page. Abstract the research information into a genealogical software program or database. Always cite all research sources!
The census questions are different, check every census.
  • Head of household: 1790-1840
  • Everyone in the household: 1850 onward (except slaves), remember, relationship to the head of the house started in 1880
Birth date:
  • Age range of free white males and free white females only: 1790-1840
  • Age of everyone in the household: 1850 onward
  • Census days and the time allowed to complete each enumeration will help the researcher to narrow birth dates. The changes in the specific census day and time allowed to complete the count may account for discrepancies when comparing census years. The 1900 census is the only census with the month and year.
Other information included:
  • Parents nativity
  • Marriage
  • Immigration and citizenship
  • Military service
  • Occupation
  • Able to read or write
  • Able to speak English
  • Address
The 1940 census schedule asks for the person’s 1935 address. With many financial and farming changes during the 1930’s, this information may answer migration questions.
According to Measuring America by the U.S. Census Bureau “The U.S. Government did not furnish uniform printed schedules until 1830.” Even after this time with identical schedules, not all blanks have been filled in on every census page. The recorded information depended on the enumerator as well as the person answering the questions.
Questions for the researcher to ponder (all the following questions can be answered on each census page):
  • What does the census tell us?
  • Who gathered the information?
  • What was the purpose of this information?
  • When was the census taken?
  • Where is this family living?
What U.S. census questions do you have? Contact Selma Blackmon

11 April 2013

Census: How to begin a search

1940 U.S. Census. population schedule. Illinois, Will, Frankfort. E.D. 099-11. sheet 5B. William Kampe. National Archives. Washington, D.C. accessed 11 April 2012.   
For the genealogist, the U.S. federal population schedule census records are a major source of information. First, the family historian must remember that census information is restricted for 72 years. Second, federal enumeration was collected every 10 years. Third, most of the 1890 population schedule is not available. Fourth, genealogy was not the primary purpose for gathering census information. Fifth, the information should be used as a stepping stones to other records and research.

As will all research, the family historian must know basic information such as the surname, given name, and the person’s location for the census year. If this information is not known, a few resources include:
  • Family member or friend
  • Obituary
  • City directory
  • Historical telephone book
  • Personal papers
Search suggestions:

  • With the above information, search each census year starting with the current year and work backward.
  • Search one family at a time, if unable to find the family then start with another family
  • Download and/or print online census information for all surname spellings in an area
  • If using an online indexed database, download both the index page and the census page
  • Abstract research information into a genealogical software program or database
  • Cite all of your research sources
  • For more census information, read “Census Records” on the National Archives website.

Family offers tutorials and wiki information search under learn at the top of the home page.

What U.S. census questions do you have? Contact Selma Blackmon.