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Archive for the ‘Census’ Category

Please note: Classes are always on a Monday night, usually from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Classes will not always be in the same room. They will either be in Special Collections near the back of the first floor or in the ITTC (aka the computer training center) on the second floor. Check each class below for its location. Registration is required and will usually start at the beginning of the month before the class is being offered. Call a reference desk at 617-796-1380 to register. Also clicking on the title of the first two classes below should also get you to the registration form.

Class: Starting Your Genealogy Research Online with Census and Vital Records

Date: 23 October 2017
Room: ITTC
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: When people start going online to research their family history, the first documents they usually come across are the United States census (generated by the federal government) and birth, marriage, and death records (generated locally). I will discuss these documents in the context of computer-driven research. Some records can be used as proof of a relationship. Others are only signposts toward more reliable information. Tips relating to online research in general will also be incorporated. Registration is open now. (Limit: 12) You can register by clicking title above. (Limit: 12)

Class: Tracking Your Ancestors Using Local Resources — Yours and Theirs

Date: 6 November 2017
Room: Special Collections
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: Typically, you begin your family research with the resources closest to you, including your public library. But you shouldn’t stop there. This class is about tracking your ancestors in the towns and cities, counties and states where they actually lived. Here is where fresh discoveries are made, obstacles are broken down, and wonderful stories can be discovered. How do you track down digitized collections, special records, newspaper articles, books, and/or manuscripts that have been generated locally about people, families, and events in that community? I will discuss how to uncover online the resources available in places you’ve never visited. You will learn how to find libraries and history and genealogy societies relevant to the communities you are researching. You may discover relatives still living there, perhaps some you know nothing about and who may be working on a parallel track in a genealogy quest of their own. Eventually you may decide that there are places you want to actually visit. As you identify the localities you need to search, the focus and the scope of your project may shift and expand — prepare yourself for surprises. Registration is now open. (Limit: 15)

Class:  Brick Wall Genealogy

Date: 18 December 2017
Room: Special Collections
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: The further back you go in your family research, the more “brick walls” you are going to hit. A brick wall is anything that keeps you from finding the information you need to connect with an ancestor, that prevents you from reaching back to another generation.  Who builds these walls?  Often, we do ourselves. This class will be about how we build them and how we might be able to go under, around, over, or through them.  Often the bricks are made of our assumptions and our inexperience.  Join me and let’s discover what we can do about this. Trust me. I’m an expert at inadvertently laying bricks, then demolishing them.  Registration will be open at the beginning of November. (Limit 15)

 

vea/4 October 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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The Rose Main Reading Room, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library

Thanks to the New York Post, I discovered an interesting database that the New York Public Library has been preparing to help people search the 1940 New York City census records. These federal records do not yet have a name index and need to be searched by enumeration district.   You can use the links I’ve listed below — once you can get into the records.

But first a word from the National Archives…. “We apologize for the problems you have encountered with the 1940 census web site and share your frustration. We have seen extraordinary demand for the 1940 census records, with over 37 million hits since 9:00 a.m. on 4/2/12.

“We are making updates to the 1940 census website to better accommodate users and expect to see improved performance over the next several hours. While these changes take place, you can still use many of the useful features built into the website (search for enumeration districts, bookmark results, etc).

“In the meantime, you may wish to search the enumeration district maps and descriptions to locate enumeration district numbers in our online search system:

  • Locate enumeration district numbers in our online search system
  • Use the search terms:   1940 census [state] [county]
    (for example 1940 census Pennsylvania montgomery county)

We appreciate your patience as enhancements are underway.”

With the release of something this big, a crash was probably inevitable, no matter how well prepared you think you are.  Have you ever tried getting into Ancestry.com right after an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” finishing airing. It’s probably not happening.  Now think how much more massive this release is.  Just be patient.

No apologies needed from the New York Public Library. These librarians thought ahead and found a solution to the enumeration district problem. They have been involved in a project to make the 1940 telephone directories available in the context of this 1940 census release.  This allows people to find a New York City address through a name search. Kudos to to the New York Public.  This is a nice work around. No matter where you live now, you can search for relatives who may have lived in any of New York’s five boroughs in 1940.  Just click on Direct Me NYC to get started.  You also might find the comments listed underneath of interest.  The library has also put together a set of FAQs that should be of use to everyone dealing with the census and the enumeration districts. Click Using the 1940 Census FAQsfor access. If you have other related questions on searching your family history in New York click on the New York Public Library’s Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History.

Also no apologies needed from the every ready Steve Morse. Need more help with enumeration districts, especially those located outside New York City?  Another well known name in genealogy is Steve Morse.  He, as always, has prepared ahead.  Take a look at Steve Morse’s Unified 1940 Census Enumeration District Finder.

Good luck!  And please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your search is going.

vea/3 April 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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Another librarian  just copied me on an email that was sent out to the staff of the National Archives from NARA’s  Deputy Archivist.  I’m passing along the summary which  was listed at the end of the letter.
The 1940 Census:  This is the 16th decennial census, marking the 150th anniversary of the census.  It includes 3.9 million images of Americans living within the existing 48 states and 6 territories on April 2, 1940.  By law the information on individuals in the decennial censuses, which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution, is closed for 72 years.    The pages were digitized by NARA’s digital imaging staff, who had to get special sworn status from the Census Bureau to be allowed to work with the census.
The Data Our online data will include an index searchable at the enumeration district level.  An enumeration district is an area that a census taker could cover in two weeks in an urban area and one month in a rural area.   There is no name level index – yet.  Private companies and non-profit organizations will rush to create online name-level indexes, which will take months to complete. [boldface mine. vea]
Back in the Day: NARA released previous censuses on microfilm, meaning we shipped thousands of rolls of microfilm to our regional facilities.  Since there was no immediate online access, researchers flocked to NARA facilities to view the microfilm.  There would be lines around the buildings, and some facilities even had “midnight madness” openings.
Online :  This time around, the crowds will be online.  Our IT and contracts staff have prepared for an unprecedented number of web users.  First, we awarded a no-cost contract to a company to host the data for us.  In return for a free set of the images, the contractor will provide online access services scaled to meet the anticipated high demand.  This prevented NARA from having to buy a lot of expensive storage and bandwidth to manage the initial surge of users.   The site will support tens of thousands of concurrent accesses to Census data and millions of visitors per hour.     In addition, we’ve moved our entire archives.gov web site to the cloud in anticipation of increased traffic on that site as well.   Testing shows that it can support millions of users without any degradation of performance.  That might sound like overkill, but in 2002 more than a million users within hours tried to access the British Public Records Office 1901 Census web site – and it crashed and stayed down for six months.
A Little Midnight Madness:  There won’t be crowds at our buildings, but at midnight on April 2, Trust Fund staff will be handing over the 1940 Census data on disk to the companies that purchased in advance.   The full census costs $200,000, and individual states range from $3,000 to $9,000 depending on population size.
Promotion: Public Affairs staff has been working hard to promote the census – not just through traditional means but through innovative ways like a social media “40 Days to the 1940 Census” campaign.  Staff across NARA have also been posting on our blogs and Facebook pages to help promote the census.
We’re Ready:  Even though the crowds will be mostly online, NARA staff are ready to help them use the census.
·         Connie Potter and Diane Petro of Research Services have been training staff around the agency to familiarize them with 1940 Census and how to assist researchers.  They’ve conducted both in person and long-distance learning.
·         Our 800 number and 1940census@nara.gov have been staffed up for an expected short but intense burst of activity.
·         Our reference staff is doing a lot of “cross-pollination” between the 1940 census and other NARA records
·         Staff throughout NARA have been busy giving public training and lectures and distributing educational material.
Some sources say that 80% of Americans will be in or have a relative in the 1940 Census.
Happy searching!
vea/30 March 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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By law the personal records of those taking part in a census cannot be released for 72 years.  April 2012  makes 72 years from the month in 1940 when census information was collected for 132.2 million individual Americans.  These records are of critical importance both to historians researching this period and to genealogists working on their family history. The 1940 census records offer both the most extensive and the most personal exploration of America just before our entry into World War II, the moment before everything changed.

INDEXING: Many of these records are not yet be searchable by an individual’s name. They have to searched by a specific location known as an enumeration district. What many people do not realize is that any online record needs to be indexed if it is going to be accessed through a person’s name.  The names in these census records need to be transcribed, all 132.2 million of them.  FamilySearch has already developed a very efficient online system for online indexing.  Two volunteers, unknown to each other, transcribe the same record. Remember the legibility (or illegibility) of census takers’ handwriting can differ dramatically.  If the indexing sent in by the two people match, there is a good chance their transcription is correct.  If it doesn’t match, the information is sent on to a more knowledgeable third party.  This method of indexing, combined with improved technology, has dramatically increased the amount of original records that can be indexed per day.  A number of organizations have now combined to help out with this indexing using the methods developed by FamilySearch.  They are looking for volunteers who are willing to index online census records using their home computers. If you are interested in helping to create a 1940 Census Index, click here for more information.

FINDING ENUMERATION DISTRICTS: If you need to learn more about enumeration districts or need to find the enumeration district for an address, Steve Morse comes to the rescue. Click here for his Unified 1940 Census Enumeration District Finder.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of his site when you have a chance.  Trust me, you’ll keep coming back.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  If you are planning to use the 1940 Census information in your research or are just plain curious about it, the following sites will give you far more information than I can fit into this blog.

Family Search Wiki
United States Census 1940
https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census_1940
Scroll down past contents and Related Wiki Pages and you will find a wealth of information and valuable links.  It is logically set up so that the information is easy to follow and absorb.

National Archives and Records Administration
http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/
Before delving into the 1940 census pages, you might want to first check out the About pages the National Archives has put together at http://1940census.archives.gov/about/

Census Bureau Webinar to Discuss 1940 Census Records Release from the Census Bureau on Thursday, 29 March 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Audio conference — access information
Toll free number: 888-913-9972
Participant passcode: CENSUS
Note: Stay on the line until operator asks for the passcode. Do not key in passcode.
Online presentation — access information
Please login early, as some setup is required.
URL: <https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/>
Conference/meeting number: PW7478285
Conference/meeting passcode: 1940CENSUS

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To learn more about researching census records, see the list of books and websites on the posting directly below.

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vea/28 March 2012/updated 3 April 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

 

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———-1940 UNITED STATES CENSUS———-

Article:  Now Online: A Link Across Generations. National Archives makes makes 1940 Census documents available.

Census Bureau Webinar to Discuss 1940 Census Records Release from the Census Bureau
Audio conference — access information
Toll free number: 888-913-9972
Participant passcode: CENSUS
Note: Stay on the line until operator asks for the passcode. Do not key in passcode.
Online presentation — access information

Please login early, as some setup is required.
URL: <https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/>
Conference/meeting number: PW7478285
Conference/meeting passcode: 1940CENSUS

Family Search
https://www.familysearch.org/1940census/?cid=fsHomeT1940HelpText

Family Search Wiki                                                                                               United States Census 1940                                          https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census_1940                                                                                            Scroll down past contents and Related Wiki Pages and you will find a wealth of information and valuable links.  It is logically set up so that the information is easy to follow and absorb.

National Archives and Records Administration                              Information on the 1940 Census                                                  http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/

Steve Morse’s Unified 1940 Census Enumeration District Finder  http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html

———-Books———-

Finding and Using Census Records at the Newton Free Library
These Books include information on pre-1940 census records.

Your Guide to the Federal Census for Genealogists, Researchers, and Family Historians by Kathleeen W. Hinckley.  Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 2002.  317.3 HINCKLEY

Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright.   Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2002.  929.1 S99F

Mastering Census and Military Records: Volume III of Quillen’s Essentials of Genealogy by W. Daniel Quillen.  Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Press, 2012.  929.1 Q41M

State Census Records by Ann S. Lainhart. . Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. R 929.397 LAINHART

Book Chapters and Sections

Croom, Emily Anne.  “Federal Census Records.”  The Genealogists Companion and Sourcebook.  Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 2003. Pages 10- 82.  929.107 CROOM

Dilts, G. David.  “Censuses and Tax Lists.”  Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records.  Edited by Kory L. Meyerink.  Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1998.  pp. 300-352. R 929.3 P93M

Greenwood, Val. “Census Returns.” The Reseacrher’s Guide to American Genealogy.  3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. pp. 233-290.   R 929.1 G85R

Greenwood, Val. “Using Census Returns.” The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.  3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. pp. 291-307. R 929.1 G85R

Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources.  Edited by Alice Eichholz. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2004.   R 929.107 R24E               Use this book to find the location of federal census records within any state in the Union.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Matthew Wright.  “Census Records.”  The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.  3rd ed. Edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking.  Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.  pp. 157-218.   R 929.3 S72S

Shepard, JoAnn.  Age Search Information.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990. R 312 A26U                                                         Half of this pamphlet explains how to find age related material using federal census information.  The second half works with other records.

Background to the Census

Alterman, Hyman.  Counting People: The Census in History.  New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1969.  312 A46C

Halacy, D. S. (Daniel Stephen).  Census: 190 Years of Counting America. New York: Elsevier/Nelson, 1980.  353.008 H12C

Scott, Ann Herbert.  Census, U.S.A.: Fact Finding for the American People, 1790-1970.  Charts and graphs by Randolph Chitwood.  New York: Seabury Press, 1968.  312 S42C

Thorndale, William and William Dollarhide.  Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 – 1920.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987.  R 312 T39M

Specific Census Information by Place and/or Time

United States.  Bureau of the Census. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790. vols. 1-12.  Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908.  SR 312 U58N                                 Includes volumes for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Platt, Lyman De.  Census Records for Latin America and the Hispanic United States.  Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1998.  929.1 P69C

  ———-Useful Internet Sites———-

Websites (The Free Stuff)

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000. Made Available by the United States Census Bureau.  Publication originally issued September 2002.
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/ma.html

Cyndi’s List
http://www.cyndislist.com/us/census

National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, D.C.
http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/
Waltham, MA
http://www.archives.gov/northeast/boston/public/genealogy.html

Family History Library in Salt Lake City https://familysearch.org/                                                                                          United States Census                                                                          https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census                                                                                                    United States Census Searching https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census_Searching

Databases  (The Stuff You’d Have to Pay for if We Didn’t)

Ancestry                                                                                                                                            This database is available within the Newton Free Library only.  There is no remote access unless you subscribe (and pay) yourself.  You can view all federal census records through 1930 by an individual’s name.  The indexing of names is not always accurate.  Mistakes in transcription can and do occur.

 

vea/updated 28 March 2012 and 3 April 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

 

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Census records have been collected and compiled by the federal government every ten years since 1790. Anyone can access these records for information on  individuals from this first census through 1930.  Any record less than seventy-two years old is not available due to privacy concerns.

Remember that records from different census years include different types of information.  Before 1840, only the names of the head of the household was listed.  The 1840 census added the names of veterans of the Revolutionary War.  Only with 1850 do you start getting the names of other members of the family.

Census records have become more easily accessible through computer databases such as Ancestry and Heritage Quest.  Because of this easy access, census records are often the first record searched by beginners.  There are several things to remember when you are looking through census returns.

First, your access to these records is only as good as the person who transcribed the name into the online index.  Remember that the indexer is reading off of original records and handwriting can be very difficult to decipher.  If you are not finding what you are expecting to locate, try any other spelling you can think of.  If you run out of ideas, pronounce the name to a friend and ask them to spell it.  You’ll be surprised at how many alternative spellings you come up with this way.

Secondly, I have never seen a census record in my own research that did not have at least one mistake in it.  Just because it is written on a census sheet does not mean it is accurate.  Anyone can be giving the census taker information,  a neighbor, children of parents who do not speak English, an inlaw living in the home.  People being surveyed could be speaking with accents that the census taker has difficulty understanding.  If it is the population of a large city being surveyed, each person taking the census is more likely to have a large number of people to question and is less likely to know the families involved.  The faster information needs to be gathered, the more inacurate it tends to be. Change that old phrase to “Do not trust and definitely verify.”

The Newton Free Library subscribes to the Ancestry.com database, as do many local libraries.   You can use Ancestry without cost in the library. To have access to it from home you must pay an individual subscription fee directly to Ancestry.

For more information on the census, you can check out Ancestry”s Learning Center. This is one section of Ancestry that can be accessed at no cost from your home computer.  Also the Tennessee GenWeb Resource Project has both interesting general articles on the U.S. Census and separate articles on each individual census and the different information that was collected for each.   Two books, Val Greenwoods’ The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy (pages 233 – 307) and the most recent edition of The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy (pages 157 – 218) are worth consulting as you begin to use census records for your research.  The more you know, the less mistakes you make.  The less mistakes you make, the less time you waste.

vea/14 September 2010
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

 

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FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

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