Friday, April 2, 2010

FREE Census Records Access on Footnote, through April

As noted on Randy Seaver's Genea-Musing blog, is offering FREE census records through the month of April.  The message indicates, "In order to view the images from the collection, visitors only need to register for free." Also noted was that Footnote is offering a "real deal" on its subscription rate to readers of the Dick Eastman blog: on $49.95, a $30 savings. You may want to check it out.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Many records shed light on African-American genealogy

A recent article on, "Many records available that can shed light on African-Americans' genealogy," provides a good review of African-American resources, especially for the beginning researcher. The article points out the value of the 1870 Census the first in which slave families are listed by name -- the first census recorded after the Civil War and emancipation. The article gives encouragement also for finding information pre-1870 and suggests a number of resources, including census slaves schedules and Freedmen's Bureau records, among other, perhaps lesser known resources, recording various slave transactions, birth, deaths, etc.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Genealogy of Communites: Intentional Communities in the Next Century

In the final article of her Genealogy of Communities series, Judy Rosella Edwards explores communities of the recent past and looks to the future: "Genealogy of Communities: Intentional Communities in the Next Century." One point made was the increase in international and cross-cultural marriages brought about during wartime; locating ancestors in war-torn and unstable countries is and will continue to be a challenge. The article also asks the question of how genealogists will manage the research of ancestors whose choices and philosophies might differ from their own. Many of these questions we are already addressing and apply to all generations and all time periods, although the new challenges are sure to bring about new and exciting genealogical and technological innovations. This has been an informative series with ideas for researching in many directions.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Indian Reservations

In the field of genealogy, we always have to be ready to adjust our preconceived notions. Who would think to check the Indian reservation census records for their white ancestry? In her most recent article, "Genealogy of Communities: Indian Reservations," Judy Rosella Edwards illustrates the fact that Indian reservations were not exclusively Native American.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions

"Understanding terminology is essential for researching educational communities. In the late 1800s, seminaries appeared across the country. For years there have been academies, colleges, and universities. Students and others associated with these institutions, were counted in various ways and there are techniques for researching them," so writes Judy Rosella Edwards in her most recent article, "Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions."

Again, using the census in concert with institutional histories and college yearbooks may help in locating or learning more about an ancestor. The challenge, perhaps, is identifying what schools existed at what periods of time in a particular location, for which we turn to local area histories. As the article points out, "Knowing a college town makes research that much easier," and local maps can often help in identifying neighborhoods and homeowners.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Genealogy of Communities: Fishing Camps

By definition a camp is defined as "temporary" living quarters. Many of those housed in camps were making their way to a new life, most were single, and women were few. In her most recent article, "The Genealogy of Communities: Fishing Camps," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the nature of fishing camps and suggests ways to back-track individuals who may have been found in these camps. Skilled workers, for example, may be found plying the same trade in their place of origin, as noted on the census. As fishing camps were "a haven for new immigrants," the article suggests ways of narrowing an ancestor's place of origin through ship manifests. Ideas are also provided for tracking an ancestor forward in time, as they build new lives.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Logging Camps

In this second article of her series, "Genealogy of Communities: Logging Camps," Judy Rosella Edwards makes the point that lumberjacks were not the only occupations present in logging camps, but doctors, cooks, and others were also engaged. And pretty much, you wanted to be young and unattached.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009 announces release of 1916 Prairie provinces census

In a world first, , Canada’s leading family history web site, today launched online the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which contains 1.7 million names and more than 38,000 images of original Census pages in an indexed and fully searchable format. From 1906 to 1956, a separate Census was taken for the Prairie provinces five years after every national Census, providing a more complete picture of Canada’s west at this time. By law, the collection was kept private for 92 years and this is the first time ever that Canadians can view these important records online.

Family and social history enthusiasts can search the collection by first and last name, residence, place and year of birth, by father, mother and spouse’s name. This Census was also the first ever in Canada to ask about military service, providing much more detailed information about one’s ancestors. In addition to recording basic population and demographic statistics, the Census recorded primary migrant communities, which originated from England, Ireland, Scotland, the U.S. and Russia. In fact, 1916 was the year that the famous Doukhobors - a group of Christian Russian immigrants that would come to play a great role in building the Prairies - first arrived in Alberta.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director,, comments: “The 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta is a fascinating and valuable snapshot of the Canadian Prairies and the people living there during a time of tremendous significance in the shaping of our country. Not only are Census records one of the most vital resources for family history researchers but they help paint a picture of the times in which these people lived and the many challenges they overcame.”

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Keeping an eye out for census detail

Census records are among the most commonly used genealogical resources, and the Internet has exponentially increased access. Census records are available on many web sites, some free and some fee-based. In her article, "Looking "Into" Rather Than "At" Census Records," Judy Rosella Edwards emphasizes the importance of certain details in the census record that may be compromised in the process of transcription. Although indexes and other secondary sources may be great finding tools, where possible it's always good to view the original image, on microfilm or online and readily available, without charge, at many libraries and Family History Centers.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Footnote gives 1860 U. S. Census a new twist

As noted on, the 1860 U.S. Census made an appearance at historical records subscription site this past week and brings something "a bit different to the table," - allowing users to enhance census listings by adding photos, stories, comments and related documents. has included the 1860 U.S. Census to its Civil War collection which also includes service records of Confederate soldiers, a pension index for Union soldiers, and Southern Claims Commission files. Footnote is also working with FamilySearch and the National Archives to digitize the actual pension applications for Union widows -- this alone is excellent news!

The new 1860 U.S. Census database is available online to paid subscribers at, and is also available for free to users at local Family History Centers and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. If you're unable to locate someone you expect to find, don't panic. As of today the 1860 census database is only 66% complete, with the rest to come.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 to bring U.S. Census online

Announced in a press release today, Allcensus has partnered with World Vital Records, Inc. to bring the Federal U.S. Census from 1790-1930 online at

“We, at Allcensus, are excited about this opportunity to assist a broader audience in tracing their family history. Our high quality census pages and correction of errors in pagination will make it easier for researchers to find the data they need in a very convenient and easy to use fashion,” said Jon McInnis, President,

The Federal Census online at contains more than 800,000 browseable images and 32 million names from select counties in every state, except Alaska. The Federal Census contains unique and pertinent information.

“The thing that I love about census data is that it helps connect the dots between many diverse genealogy data bases. The various census data sets, while not perfect, are the closest to consistent data collecting at any point in history,” said David Lifferth, President, World Vital Records, Inc. “With each successive census, more data elements are known and tracked. In most of the census you can get family group sheet info that is not documented anywhere else except for the family bible.”

The Federal Census database will be free to access at for 10 days after its initial launch.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Census Mortality Schedules -- an often overlooked resource

While the Census is well known for its value to family history research, the various schedules appearing with the Census over the years are often overlooked. One of those schedules is the Census Mortality Schedule that began with the 1850 Census. In her article, "Mortality Schedules Are Often Overlooked," Karan Pittman provides insight into these schedules and how they might be utilized.

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Monday, August 6, 2007 adds new German language records

A number of German records -- written in German -- have been recently added to databases, among them the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1819. According the the web site, the 1819 census was the first general census of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The complete census has survived and the entirety of it is contained in this database, including an electronic every-name index to it, as well as images of the original census records. Information recorded in the census includes: name, gender, birth date, birthplace, marital status, and religion. Because the records are in German, Ancestry recommends using German when entering search terms. For those researching German records who do not speak German, it's good to become familiar with the common terms used for a particular record type, to help zero in on family names and locations.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free Mortality Schedules search tool released

Announced in a recent press release, has released a new research tool for researching census mortality schedules which have been transcribed and posted across the web. is a directory of these schedules which provides a search function to find surnames for genealogy research., indexes and links to online transcriptions of the Federal Census Mortality Schedules which were taken during census years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. These schedules list deaths which occurred in the enumeration district for the previous year.

A valuable resource for genealogy studies, mortality schedules contain information that, in many cases, give the only record of an ancestor's death. The census enumerators were instructed to give great care and obtain accurate information, especially for these mortality schedules. Bill Cribbs, the owner and webmaster for both and, spent many days combing cyberspace, to find transcriptions of these records. Most of these online transcriptions were made by individuals who volunteer their time and effort freely. A volunteer will normally transcribe an individual county or, in most cases, one census year for that county. Thousands of transcriptions are located on a multitude of servers across the web.

"I compiled a directory of every schedule that I could locate. There are still more to be found and they are being added to as they are discovered," stated Cribbs. The site is free to use and is made possible by the promotion of and links to

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ancestry launches Native American census collection

In a press release today, announced the launch of its U.S. Indian Census Schedules, 1885-1940, containing more than 7.5 million names in U.S. Indian Censuses, the largest online collection of Native American family history records. Taken by the Bureau of Indian affairs, the censuses document some 150 years of Native American family history. These censuses create an intimate portrait of individuals living on all registered Indian reservations between 1885 and the 1940s.

The U.S. Indian Censuses are among the most important documents for tracing Native American family history -- as well as the place to for anyone with Native American ancestry to begin searching for their heritage. Representing more than 250 tribes from some 275 reservations, schools and hospitals across the United States, the censuses typically recorded names, including Indian names, ages, birthdates, tribe, reservation and more.

"The stories contained in these censuses will help Native Americans preserve their tradition-rich personal and cultural identity," says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for "Crossing tribal and reservation boundaries, these censuses tell personal stories of Native Americans living on reservations across the United States. In them we find influential Native Americans who led their people along side those whose stories are still waiting to be told."

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Insights into the 1830 U. S. Census

An article on, "Genealogy: 1830 federal census underwent some changes in format and protocol," highlights some distinct differences between the 1830 U. S. Census and those of previous years, information that may provide new insights for researchers. While the focus is on the 1830 census, the comparison to other censuses is also revealing. The 1830 federal census, like those before it, was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court in each state and was carried out by U.S. marshals who hired and organized the enumerators. However, there were some changes in the 1830 census format and protocol from previous censuses. Of particular interest may be that that duplicate copies were made of the 1830 census, which creates an even greater margin for error. The article gives tips on how to identify whether the copy you are using is an original or duplicate.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Group works to include ancestry on 2010 US Census short form

The future of the US Census as a prime source of family history information is in the news again. Dedicated researchers, always conscious and grateful for the information contained in available census records and our access to them, have equal interest in seeing that benefit continue into the future. This week, a short piece in SitNews notes a coalition of U.S. ethnic groups wants the next decennial Census to quantify the ingredients in America's melting pot. The "Ancestry Working Group" - which represents those of Italian, Irish, German, Arab, Greek, Iranian and Caribbean descent, among others - is calling on the Census Bureau to include a question on ancestry in the 2010 short Census form. The group won an earlier battle with the bureau to keep the question on the 2000 long form. The agency maintains that the short form simply doesn't have room and that adding an ancestry query would bump more vital questions.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Iowa state census records online 1836-1926

Those with Iowa ancestry will be happy to hear, Iowa state census records from 1836 to 1925 are now "digitized and indexed all readily available ," according to an press release today. In total, the collection features more than 14 million Iowa State census records and more than 3 million images, making the first and only online source to provide access to all publicly released Iowa State census records. Ancestry is offering free access to this collection through March.

"Census records are the backbone of family history. They're more than just names and numbers. If you look closely, they tell stories," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for "The Iowa state census records, in particular, provide a wide range of snapshots into the lives and lifestyles of Iowan ancestors. With these records now available online, Iowans can dig deeper into their state and family histories."

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Another 1880 Census Resource launched an installment (502,894 records) of its first census today, the 1880 Census. "This is the first of many census indexes that we hope to have at," Paul Allen said. "We want these indexes to be accessible and affordable to everyone." (web site:


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