Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday’s Tip - What's the Big Deal about Census Records?

WOW! Can you believe there are only 41 days left until the 1940 census is released.

I bet some of you are wondering what all this hulabaloo is about.  How can census records help in your research?  Perhaps some of you have even found the census records for your family lines but didn't really know how to extract all the information that was provided, focusing only on age and place of birth and the names of spouses and their children.  Or worse yet, you haven't seen the actual census page, but have taken your information directly from the volunteer index. Which is how I started out with my own personl research umpteen years ago, since the idea of threading the microfilm machine was too scary a prospect for me. ;o)

Census records are not that complicated, and fortunately for us we can now view them online through free services like FamilySearch.org or Heritage Quest (through your local library) or through subscription sites like Ancestry.com.  Censuses can provide you with so much more information if you know what you are looking at and how to interpret what you are reading. 

Ancestry recently did a webinar called "Census: Beyond Names and Dates". (http://livestre.am/1ix3P) that helps you understand 1) what types of information you can find in various census forms, 2) where to find blank forms to extract this information on your family, and most importantly 3) what to do with the information when you find it. :)

Watch live streaming video from ancestry at livestream.com

You can find FREE blank census forms in pdf format on Ancestry's website, under the Learning Center tab (Go to Learning Center, then First Steps, then Paper and Pencil).  And best of all, you do not need to have a Ancestry.com membership in order to access these great resources.

US Census forms from 1790 to 1940: http://www.ancestry.com/trees/charts/census.aspx

Canadian Census forms for 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911: http://www.ancestry.com/trees/charts/canadacensus.aspx

UK Census forms from 1841 to 1911: http://www.ancestry.com/trees/charts/ukcensus.aspx

Meanwhile, if you want to get a head start on what information you will be able to glean from the 1940 census, be sure to download Part 1 and Part 2 of the 1940 census form and familiarize yourself to the 34 questions that were asked by the census takers.

Thanks for stoping by.

Love and Aloha,
Cuzn Amy

PS  ... I just registered to be a 1940 Census Blog Ambassador to help spread the word about this amazing volunteer program.  Won't you join with me and volunteer to help index the 1940 census and be a part of this national service project to preserve and share the census records of the “Greatest Generation.”

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