Genealogy census tip: Search every census schedule

CensusBy Barry J. Ewell
Understand every census has different information and that there are a variety of census schedules.  These schedules include the well-known population schedule but there are also mortality schedules, agricultural schedules, state censuses and more. Search every census schedule for the each individual. For example, If I was researching my grandfather who lived from 1852 to Continue reading

Genealogy census tip: First and middle names

Name 3By Barry J. Ewell
You never know what first name your ancestor will be known by. Think of yourself, friends, and relatives.  Some go by birth name, nickname, middle name and/or their initial.  Be on the lookout for these variations with each census. Check out the article, “Search strategies for finding names in the census and other resources.” Continue reading

Genealogy census tip: Misspelled names are ok

SpellingBy Barry J. Ewell
Never assume that the surname you are researching has stayed the same through the generations or even through a life time. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that spelling conventions became common. Spelling was a phonetic practice meaning you wrote down the name as you heard it. Ewell becomes Youile, Uhl, Zoule, Eule. Census enumerators, priests, doctors, lawyers, school teachers, Continue reading

Genealogy census tip: Search every census taken during a person’s life

census takerBy Barry J. Ewell
Find you ancestor in every census taken during the time they lived. If I was researching my grandfather who lived from 1852 to 1922, I would begin my search in the following Federal Population census: 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890’s state census (note: 99% of the 1890 Federal census was destroyed by fire and flood, 1900, 1910, and 1920.  Start with the most recent census and work backwards.   See the article, ” Use the census records to track your ancestors’ movement over time.” Also see the the John I. Stewart example 1850-1930. Start with the 1850 census or 1930 census.

 

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Genealogy census tip: Search every line of the census district

Checkmarks 2By Barry J. Ewell
Search every line of the census district. Yes, I know that the online databases are very comprehensive and finding your ancestor is 99.5% a sure thing.  As a practice be thorough and search every line of the census district and neighboring districts where you family lived. In my research I have found members of family living with friends in other counties, surnames phonetically spelled, members of family listed by middle names or initials.  Sometimes I have found census pages in the wrong order, family unit flowing from one page to the next or the census taker was just given wrong information.  In one instance I couldn’t find the family living in a group home that was listed near the end of the population schedule for the county.

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Genealogy census tip: Return to the census when you have more experience

returnBy Barry J. Ewell
When I first started research the census, I eagerly went from census to census coping down the names of my ancestors.  I kept a log of the pages where I found them. A few years later I had the opportunity to return to the same census for another search.   I returned to the pages I had noted and I was able to see connections and clues that I didn’t see the first time I was there.  I had more experience and more information.  From that experience, I went back to all the censuses I had previously research to reexamine the data and answers and insights many questions I was researching.

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