MS Roots

September 5, 2011

Census Search and Search Again

Filed under: Geneabloggers Community — by tmailhes @ 3:12 am

Archives.com recently introduced the US Census into it’s database of records. To get the word out, there is a contest listed on the Geneabloggers website! Write a blog post linking to Archives.com about how to use the US Census. What are your tips and suggestions for beginners.

Here are my two tips for successful searches:

Spelling – perform broad searches that can include variations of both first name and last name. One of my favorite misspellings is Walter Scales instead of Walker Seales (took me a long time for find him).

Search without names – perform searches for an individual based on information besides the name. I was trying to locate ancestor Jane Hathorn and her family in the 1880 census. I searched for every spelling variation of Hathorn that I could remember all over the state of Mississippi with no luck. Then I searched for a Black female aged within 10 years of Jane Hathorn’s suspected birth date. Eureka! The entire family was in the same vicinity of where they should have been. The difference was that they were now Thompsons.

For family history, the census offers a glimpse into our ancestors lives if just for a moment.

Employment – I love to know where my ancestors worked in the past. As I have followed the various lines around the state, I was able to see a generational shift from farming to other forms of employment. Today, there are no farmers in the family.

Families and Names – A friend of mine recently remarked that she believed that by time her grandfather and his younger sisters (11 – 14 of 14) that her great grandmother was tired and just looked out the window and picked a name. Hence, the last four children are Oakley, Peony, Rose and Myrtle.

I look forward to reading the other census posts!

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