Genealogy: Four-step research strategy for pre-1850 U.S. Federal census

Stepping stonesBy Barry J. Ewell
The 1790 to pre-1850 U.S. Federal and states censuses do contain less information than those from 1850-1940.  You are only provided the name of the head of household and the remainder of the persons are grouped by race/sex/age category.  Each census during this time period does increase in information provided, for example, 1830/1840 census you are given the place of birth, race (white/colored), whether the person is naturalized born citizen and military service in the 1840 census.  You can effectively use the data to build a household profile and search other records to expand you knowledge. Continue reading

Genealogy: Census Records—There is more than population schedules

Census Records—There is more than population schedulesBy Barry J. Ewell

Be aware that in addition to population schedules, there were other schedules taken usually at the same time. There are resources online and in print that provide more detail on these schedules and how to use them in genealogy research. These other schedules include the following:

  • Mortality Schedule: conducted from 1850 to 1885, provides information about persons who died during the twelve months prior to the census. Continue reading

Genealogy: Availability of pre-1850 U.S. Federal and state census records

Pre-1850 USBy Barry J. Ewell
In this article you will find an overview of the type of information you will find in the censuses and which U.S. Federal and state census records exist and are available for research.

Over the years as a genealogist, I have spent too much time looking for information about my ancestors in a record that did not exist.  It never entered my mind to even ask the question, “What records existed during the time my ancestor lived in this location?” One of my earliest assumptions was that census records existed for every person for the time period in which they lived in the United States. And it wasn’t until I asked a resource librarian, why am I not finding census records for Virgina in 1790-1800, that I learned that the records were completely lost during the war of 1812.  After further discussion, I learned about Virginia state censuses that were available from the late 1700’s and that the 1790 census was reconstructed using census substitute records. Continue reading

Genealogy: 1900 U.S. federal census tutorial

1900 masteheadBy Barry J. Ewell

This is a comprehensive tutorial for researching the 1900 U.S. federal census. You will be introduced to what I have used and shared with thousands to successfully find generations of family. Begin by learning how to use the census as a foundation to effective research, identify, map, and follow family through generations.

The tutorial will expand your knowledge and skills of how to conduct an exhaustive search to find genealogical and Family History records, repositories, resolve research problems and connect with resources researching similar lines.

The tutorial is divided into the following sections:

  • 1790-1940 U.S federal census resources
  • Introduction to 1900 U.S. federal census
  •  How to effectively use the 1900 U.S. federal census
  • Expand your census research with military records
  • Defining the U.S. federal census
  • How to use the 1900 U.S. federal census
  •  Questions asked on the 1900 census

1900 resources
Click on any of the following years and you will be taken to that years’ census tutorial:


Continue reading

Sharing Family History: Write and share your story

Sharing Family History: Write and share your storyBy Barry J. Ewell

Create a family newsletter
Consider creating a family newsletter. Get others involved. Be creative. A well-written newsletter is a great way of keeping families together. Newsletters can include stories about an ancestor or share research successes and assignments. You might have an entire issue dedicated to family history or a regular feature on family history. It can be circulated every month or four times a year. Make sure Grandparents, parents and children each write. Continue reading

Sharing Family History: 16 ideas for family activities

Sharing Family History: 16 ideas for family activitiesBy Barry J. Ewell

Create a regularly scheduled family history activity
Take the opportunity to help your family gain an interest in family history by creating a regularly scheduled activity that is fun and engaging for the whole family.  The following 15 ideas and activities will get you started with your family:

  • Buy a map of the United States or the world and use stickers or pins to show where your ancestors lived and how they migrated. Continue reading

Genealogy Immigration/Migration: Using probate records in researching immigrant ancestors

Using probate records in researching immigrant ancestorsital Records 2By Barry J. Ewell

The following are records and resources that genealogists find extremely helpful and full of clues to find immigrant ancestors. The information is designed to provide a quick reference and direction of where to find and search for records as probable places to find information.

Probate records (which document the process of passing property, both land and various goods, on to one’s heirs) are one of the major types of records used in genealogical research. Heirs may be anybody the testator (the person who made the will) chooses to name, including servants, in-laws, friends, and others. Wills and other papers created Continue reading