190 Genealogy articles to help you search the U.S. federal census

190 Census mastheadBy Barry J. Ewell

I have written and assembled 190+ articles and resource aids to provide you a more in-depth understanding of the census research process.  I have tried to cover every possible question and angle that you are likely to face in your U.S. census research.  I would encourage you to use the resources often.

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. Continue reading

Genealogy: Detailed, exhaustive research will yield success in genealogy pursuits

10-15-2014 7-54-06 PMBy Barry J. Ewell

Genealogy is a skill requiring preparation and planning, detailed and exhaustive research, and careful correlation, analysis and reporting.

Preparation and planning
Develop a research plan based on analyzing and defining the research problem you seek to resolve. Preparation and planning requires that you place the problem in its legal and social context, identify related and associated individuals, and identify relevant resources, tools and methods, as well as the pros and cons in the use of those resources. Continue reading

Genealogy: Following every clue leads to genealogy success

Following every clue leads to genealogy successBy Barry J. Ewell

Whenever possible, I make it a practice to collaborate with other genealogists on researching specific family lines. As a team, we will review our research, analyzing documentation, notes and logs. We identify the key questions we want to research. We develop a research task list for researching each question. We assign tasks and deadlines. And we schedule regular meetings to review, compare, and discuss projects and research. Continue reading

Genealogy: Build an identity profile about ancestors

Build an identity profile about ancestorsBy Barry J. Ewell

The identity of the ancestor is more than a name. It is every known detail of a human life, which includes information about the individual, their relationships and their origin.

Begin by targeting your research location. Search for any document created during the time your ancestor lived. Make sure you understand the circumstances under which every document was created, continually comparing, contrasting and questioning details. Continue reading

Genealogy: Search strategies for finding names in the census and other resources

Search strategiesBy Barry J. Ewell
When I began my genealogy research, I would only search indexes of books, online databases, and related records for my surname Ewell exactly was it was spelled with no other variation.  Since then I have found my name spelled in over a hundred different ways.  Resources that I had discounted as not having any record of my family, I have gone back and found information that was there but just under a different spelling.  Searching your ancestors name in indexes and records is a skill.  Searching your ancestors name in the census, indexes and records is a skill.  I would like to share with a few of the lessons I have learned to create a search strategy for finding your ancestors names. Continue reading

Genealogy: Pre-1850 U.S. census, Build a case for your family

Balance 3By Barry J. Ewell
The most important counsel I can give when using the 1790-1840 censuses is not to make any assumptions based on the data you find such as how big the family is by age and sex.  Use the information you find to build a case and then use other records to confirm and/or disprove what think is being presented about the family. Never ever run with you assumptions until they can be proved. I spent several years searching out someone else’s family unit that was not confirmed from the census data on 1790-1840’s. Of course it was my fault that I didn’t confirm the data before I started extending the research. Remember the data is based on all persons located in the home.  For example,

  • Don’t assume that the head of household is the oldest male, although it usually is.
  • Don’t assume, the oldest female is the wife of the head of household.  It could be a friend, neighbor, widowed sister or grandmother.  It could be even be a male who lost his wife and the females are his children.
  • Don’t assume that head of household is the first and only spouse. Are there different age groups for children?  This could mean the man married a younger wife and had children, married another woman and merged two family units together,  or even could be the male is taken care of deceased relative’s family.
  • Don’t assume that all the children in the home belong to the head of household.  The children could be his siblings who are now living with him after the death of his parents or children of a brother or sister.  The children could be those of friend who is away and just happen to be in their home during the time the census was taken.

Genealogy census tip: Build a family profile

Target 3By Barry J. Ewell
Build a family profile. I make it practice to start with the information I already know or suspect about the family.  I refer to this as my family profile. The more you know the more options you have of correctly identifying and connecting the family one generation to the next. This is list that you will build and work with throughout your genealogy research. The information I like to include in my profile include:

  • Names of known and/or suspect family members
  • Relationships of known and/or suspect family members
    • Father (i.e., fathers, step-fathers)
    • Mother (i.e., mothers, step-mothers)
    • Children (i.e., brothers, sisters, step-children, adoptions)
    • Brothers’/sisters’ –in-law and their spouses (i.e. persons married to grown children of the family)
    • Grandparents (i.e. fathers’ side, mothers’ side, step-parents side)
    • Siblings of parents and their families (i.e., fathers’ side, mothers’ side, step-parents side and the members of their households)
    • Neighbors (i.e. names, surnames and family members)
    • Group (i.e., this could members of organization, church, etc.)
    • Boarders (i.e., persons living in the household but not family members)
    • Servants/slaves (i.e., persons who are identified as servants/slaves)
  • List of surname and variations (example: Ewell, Uhl, Youile, Yull, Yule, Zuile)
  • Locations of where known and/or suspect family members (i.e., towns, regions, states)
  • Locations of known and variations of the family surname (i.e., towns, regions, states)
  • List of documents I already have organized in a timeline format

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