The Villages Genealogical Society
Facts, Tips & Tricks
 
Tips to help you discover and trace your genealogy.
 
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Listings: 1 to 26 of 26
1.  
A census is an official counting of the population living in a given locality on a designated day set at intervals. The census places an ancestor in a specific place at a specific time.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
2.  
The U.S. Federal Census is taken every 10 years on a designated census day by an "enumerator" in a specific area called an enumeration district. The first census was done in 1790; there are no censuses before 1790.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
3.  
Federal Census records are available to the public 72 years after they are taken.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
4.  
In addition to the census population count, there are a number of special censuses: Slave, Industry & Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mortality, Social Statistics, Union Veteran and Widow, Defective, Dependent and Delinquent.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
5.  
Prepare a census timeline before you begin. Review what you will find in the census you are searching. Work backwards from the most recent census. Expect spelling and age variations.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
6.  
Begin with the latest census available and work backwards. Census records have been taken since 1790. Before 1790 you can use Tax Lists and other local lists that might have been compiled according to the state you are researching in.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
7.  
Be sure to look at several families before and after the family you are researching. These people are most likely the friends or family of your ancestor. Many lived in the same community very near each other.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
8.  
1790-1840 Censuses only list the head of the household, but don't overlook using them. They are helpful to place a family in specific locations at specific times.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
9.  
The 1840 Census asks about names and ages of Pensioners for Revolutionary or other Military Service.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
10.  
The 1850 census was the first census to give the name, sex, color, age, occupation and birthplace of each free member of the household.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
11.  
The 1880 census was the first to identify the relationship between the household member and the head of house.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
12.  
What happened to the 1890 U.S. Census? A fire broke out in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C.on January 10, 1921. The census records were stored improperly in the basement and were soaked with water and no restoration efforts were made to save the documents. The damaged records were destroyed sometime between 1933 and 1935 when they were deemed no longer necessary.
Last Updated: 4 June 2016
13.  
Have any other records been destroyed? Yes! In 1896 fire damaged the 1890 supplemental schedules of crime, mortality and pauperism and other special classes. Any remains were later destroyed by order of The Interior Department.
Last Updated: 4 June 2016
14.  
Only the 1900 census asks for the person's month and year of birth.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
15.  
The 1900 and 1910 censuses lists the number of years of marriage for each married household member.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
16.  
The 1900 and 1910 censuses lists the number of children that were born to each woman and how many were still living at the time of the census.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
17.  
The 1910 census lists survivors of Union or Confederate army or naval service.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
18.  
The 1930 census lists the value of the property if owned, or the monthly rental if rented. This could lead to locating deeds, tax or mortgage records.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
19.  
The 1930 census lists military service in other wars: "Sp" for the Spanish-American War, "Phil" for the Philippine Insurrection, "Box" for the Boxer Rebellion, "Mex" for the Mexican Expedition, and "WW" for World War 1. Civil War veterans with the abbreviation "CW."
Last Updated: 3 April 2016
20.  
The 1940 Census lists answers to several new questions never asked before including where they lived in 1935 and what was their income for the previous year.
Last Updated: 3 April 2016
21.  
The census records may contain a good clue to when a person obtained citizenship.
Last Updated: 3 April 2016
22.  
Census Naturalization status codes: "Al" for alien, "Pa" for "first papers," and "Na" for naturalized.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
23.  
Don't assume that widow in earlier census records means her husband is deceased. It could mean that they were divorced.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
24.  
Don't assume that all children listed in the census belong to the wife listed. This may be a second wife and the children a combination of "his and hers."
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
25.  
Digest everything that is recorded on the census, not just a name and a date.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
26.  
When the head of the household is no longer listed, don't assume he/she is dead. It's possible that the former head of household is now living with one of the children.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016