Friday, November 27, 2009

Help for UK researchers

Following on the heels of a similar success, one UK researcher's appeal to the Information Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act "could unlock details from the 1939 National Registration of the UK - an emergency, census-like survey of the country at the beginning of the war," as noted in a recent BBC article etnitled, "Families on the brink of war."

"The National Registration enumeration, carried out on the night of Friday 29 September 1939, led to the issue of about 46 million identity cards for citizens the following month," the article reports. The records are currently closed to the public.

"The truth is, it's often far more difficult to find out about recent history than Victorian history and beyond," says family historian Guy Etchells. Etchells, credited as the "driving force" behind the recent release of 1911 census for England and Wales.

As we learn from Margaret Meade, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Replacing the 1890 Census — City Directories

Pretty much every U.S. family history researcher laments the loss of the 1890 U.S. Federal Census, which was destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington D.C., in January 1921. Filling in the blanks left by the loss of that census can be challenging, indeed. Fortunately, other resources do exist for the time period, often at the local level. It just takes a bit of sleuthing to discover what records might be available for your particular area of interest. In her article, "Replacing the 1890 Census -- City Directories," Cindy Drage suggests a source, while not at the federal level, certainly widespread, that of city (and county) directories. If you know how to read them -- and the article provides tips and hints for doing just that -- city and county directories can provide a lot of good information.

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