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: 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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