Census Reports In GenDetective 2

In my prior blog Researching Census Records in GenDetective we looked at using My Research Progress and color coded bar charts to click and navigate to a list of people who were missing a specific census record.  But, what if you want paper or a PDF?  A simple report that lists people missing census records, can you do that in GenDetective?  Absolutely!

List of census reports in Reports by Task

List of census reports in Reports by Task

In the Reports by Task tab for researching online for indexed censuses (ancestry.com, familysearch.org and others) click and navigate:

  1. What information should I research?
  2. Missing census records
  3. The census I want to search is indexed

The report that is highlighted is provides the answer to the question: Who is missing this census?  This report asks only 3 questions:  relatives of whom, what relationship and which census.  I selected direct of my daughters and the US Federal census.  A page from the resulting report is shown below and it lists the people by year in the census by

Who in my tree is missing the US Federal Census records?

Who in my tree is missing the US Federal Census records?

relationship.  Looking at this page we see some of those missing the 1840 US Federal Census and the start of those missing the 1850 US Federal Census.  This report answers the question based on the year in the census that is missing.

I now know who to search for in each year in a census.  Instead of a list of people by census year, I want a list of all of the census records each person is missing.  This will allow me to run a single search and look for only the missing years.  My question I meant to ask is “Who is missing any census record?”  Selecting this report asks 2 questions: relatives of whom, and what relationship.  The resulting report (shown below) gives me a list of missing records by person.  I see several different collections:  US Federal, New Jersey, New York, Missouri, Welsh and the British censuses, across 8 different 3rd Great Grandparents.  That first number listed, before each missing year in a census, [Ernestine 39 1900 US Federal Census], is the person’s age at the time of the census.  So in the search results I am looking for someone who is approximately 39 years old in 1900, 44 in the 1905 New York census and 54 in the 1915 New Jersey Census.

GenDetective report showing People who are missing any census record?

GenDetective report showing people who are missing any census record?

Not all of these census records are online.  Some of these are only available on microfilm or on paper (books), and in my next blog we will discuss reports for researching offline.  For now though, many of these census records listed are available online and I obviously need to do some research.

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Researching Census Records in GenDetective

Census records are one of the most frequently consulted group of records by genealogists.  These records are the backbone of our family history, allowing us to trace our families through time as a couple marries, has children, and the children continue the cycle by marrying.  There are several different census record collections which include:

  • National Censuses (US Federal, British, Mexican, etc.)
  • State & Territorial Censuses (Wisconsin Territory, New Jersey, etc.)

Which of these censuses does GenDetective support?  All of them!  In GenDetective 2 one way to view your census research is via My Research Progress.  In

Census research in My Research Progress tab

Census research in My Research Progress tab

the main section of the screen click on the link Census Research or press the Census button that is at the top of the screen.  The middle section of the GenDetective screen will change to show content similar to this screenshot.  I say similar as the censuses that are listed on this screen, both state and national, will be tailored to your family!  While I may see the New Jersey census listed, you may see Florida censuses listed.  The bars show the progress you have made towards locating the census records that you may expect to find based on the lives of your ancestors!

Research progress for selected census

Research progress for selected census

Next, select a census you are interested in researching.  I clicked on the US Federal Census, which can be done by clicking a  link in the list at the bottom of the screen or by clicking on the graph bar in the middle of the screen.  GenDetective responds by showing your research progress for each of the years that make up the US Federal Census (or whichever census you selected) and displaying your research progress for that census.

Research progress on each year in a census

Research progress for each year in a census

Looking at the screen, the results are not too surprising.  I have completed a lot of research on the later censuses records, approaching 90% of the records located for the 1940 census, but also have a paltry 20% of located records in 1790!  This is all great, but what I really want to know is who do I still need to find US Census records for?

List of people to research in the 1910 US Federal Census

List of people to research in the 1910 US Federal Census

Clicking a link for any year (or by clicking on a section of the bar for a specific year) results in a list of:

  • Relatives missing a year of a specific census
  • or Relatives where you have located a year for a specific census

As you can see, I quickly arrived at a list of people I still need to locate in the 1910 US Federal census!

Excuse me, I need to get busy researching ..


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The Source Timeline

The GenDetective Source Timeline report provides a way to examine each event for an ancestor and study the sources that were cited to support this event.  The Source Timeline report was created at the request of user Russ Worthington.  You can find this report by navigating to two different locations in GenDetective 2.

In Reports By Task click on In Advanced User Mode click on
1. Tell me about my family 1. Create Reports Tab
2. Sources, citations & documentation 2. Sources
3. Personal source timelines 3. Source Usage
GenDetective Source Timeline Report
GenDetective Source Timeline Report


A sample page from a Source Timeline report is shown here. This report is organized by relative, with basic demographic details listed in the top section including your research progress for this person in each research area.

The main body of the report, which may extend for several pages, has the following information in each mini section:

  • Age of person at time of an event
  • The date, type of event and number of sources & citations
  • Name of event
  • Location
  • Number of media files (documents) associated with the event
  • Each source and citation associated with the event

When looking at this report I am looking for the completeness of my research:

  1. Have I recorded all events I know about or is information still waiting in a research file to be entered into the computer?
  2. Do I have sources  and citations for each event?
  3. Are the sources listed the sources I expect to see?  For example, do I cite a death certificate for someone who died in 1934 instead of just a death index.
  4. When examining multiple relatives from the same generation, am I using the same or equivalent sources for each person?  Is the level of detail the same between each person?

I frequently use this report when evaluating my research progress for a relative.  Happy researching.

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The Family Tree Do Over

Many genealogists have decided to start off 2015 with a push to re-examine their family trees.  I’m not sure who issued the challenge, but many bloggers like Thomas MacEntee have accepted the challenge to examine and clean up their family trees.  The goal is to retype their family tree in an effort to prune their tree, address issues of missing or poor sourcing and generally clean up their tree.  Other genealogists, like DearMyrtle, have decided to not redo their entire tree, instead focusing on each direct relative and proceeding through their tree one person at a time looking at:

  • Events
  • Sources
  • Media files
  • Identifying missing information

Personally speaking, I began this task two years ago when I got serious about joining DAR and proving my many DAR Patriots.  I recently discussed tree pruning in Is It Time to Prune the Family Tree?  Many of us at one time or another, set about gathering a lot of names.  Sometimes we decide that we have a little bit of information about a lot of people, but not a lot of information about a few people, particularly our direct ancestors.  I did prune my tree, however I did not throw out all of those “extra” relatives.  Instead, I archived a copy of my tree and removed everyone from 3rd cousins (I kept the 2nd cousins & spouses) outward from my “new smaller tree”.  Why keep all of those distant relatives?  After reflection, I decided those relatives were valuable and may come in handy down the road.  If I pursue any DNA analysis, now or in the future, I may need those relatives to complete my search for living descendants for comparative DNA tests.  Why redo all of that work?

New GenDetective report

New GenDetective report

If you are participating in this genealogy challenge, these GenDetective reports may be a good place to begin:

Over the coming weeks I will blog about one or two GenDetective reports each week that will help you improve your family tree!

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Goodbye Old (Not My) Ancestors, Hello New Ancestors!

It’s that time of year where I go through my genealogy filing system and do some house cleaning.  Once a year I print new labels for the folders to hold research for the ancestors I have added during the year.  I also remove the files for people that I have determined are not my ancestors.  I don’t throw those non-ancestor folders away, just in case I made a mistake, but before demoting them to non-relative status, I review the material that lead to their demotion.  This year I say goodbye to:

  1. Jacob Guth/Good & Elizabeth Garber
  2. Casper Bernhardt & Anna Maria Wilhelm
  3. Johann Andreas Erdman & Anna Dorothea Siegfried

To be fair, I am hanging onto Andreas Erdman and his wife Dorothea.  I read the wrong name of a son-in-law in a will, and it even had his middle name.   Mistake rectified, goodbye.

Now let me introduce you to my newly discovered ancestors.  Beginning with my fourth great grandparents, this year I welcome:

  1. James McGranahan & Frances “Fanny” Kenley
  2. John Kenley (Fanny’s brother) &  Mary Cunningham
  3. Daniel Clawson & Margaret Catherine Hollis
  4. John McGranahan (5th)
  5. Samuel Kenley & Jean Wilson
  6. Josiah Clawson & Jane Miller
  7. Daniel Kenley & Frances Wells (6th)
  8. John Wilson & Jean Wright
  9. Richard Kenly & Elizabeth Harmer (7th)
  10. Johann Peter Kocher & Elizabeth Eveles
  11. Balthasar Rokel & Elizabetha

Welcome to the family, I have started getting to know a little bit about each of you this past year.   Josiah and Jane, your daughter Mary/Polly Clawson has led me on a merry chase over the past couple of years.  During her lifetime, she was appears to have been an easy catch, raising several illegitimate children, each a child of different married men.  However, thanks to a lawsuit filed on her behalf, suing her illegitimate sons for support, and my oh my weren’t the laws funny about bastards and their obligation to their parents (none), I welcome you to the family.  Your presence is bringing color to a rather staid family tree.

Samuel Kenley, you and Jean/Jane have an equally interesting family.  To be honest, I had a bit of trouble with the whole first cousins marrying, your grand children, William McGranahan and his wife Sarah Kenley.  That they were 1st cousins was a new discovery this year.  After I got past the ick factor, I discovered your brother William was a very important cog in Colonial Pennsylvania, and that you, Samuel, were a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War.  Another DAR line to prove, what a great addition to the family!

Samuel Kenley & Bacholor

Samuel Kenley & Bacholor

Just when I’m really starting to adore you, I discover you, Samuel, were a slave owner.  You did free your only slave, Bacholor, but to be honest, I am still having a bit of an issue with the whole owning people thing.  I didn’t know that Pennsylvania, had slaves (gradual freeing out starting in 1780), not just indentured servants. You introduced me to a bit of a historical education about the state where your descendants have lived since before the Revolutionary war.

Many of the rest of you are still very new but I do look forward to getting to know you in the coming year.  During the coming year I promise I will continue to work on my issue of judging your actions, not by todays standards, but by the standards of your lifetime.

Good luck with your genealogy research in 2015,






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Lesson Learned

courthouse1I spent 6 hours yesterday (29 Dec 2014) in the Westmoreland County (PA) Courthouse in Greensburg.  I started the morning in the Office of Wills and then moved upstairs to the Office of Deeds.  I stopped on the way into the Deeds office at the information desk at the copy center and spoke with the person staffing the office.  I heard the usual information:  copies are $0.50 per page, no cameras, no scanners, use pencils, do not use your cell phone, indexes (grantor & grantee) are over here, and give us a list of the deeds you want and we will print them for you, settle the bill when you leave.

I asked can I print out the deeds from a computer?  No, we will do it for you here in the copy center.  Having been given the ground rules I went to work.  I had a list of 34 relatives who lived in Westmoreland county between 1770 – 1870, but most of the children or grandchildren moved north into Armstrong and Indiana counties where most of my family is from.  In addition, Armstrong and Indiana Counties were formed from Westmoreland, so I have sales of land, but not the original purchases.  Those first purchases (and some warrants) had been made prior to the creation of the counties, meaning I needed to go to Westmoreland county for records.

I dropped off a list of deeds to print.  A little while later I drifted back by the copy center to turn over more index entries and see where the cost was versus the cash I brought with me.  When she said almost $50, OK, I’ve spent half my budget, time to prioritize deeds.  She looks at me and asks a couple of questions:

  1. Do you have a computer at home? Well .. um yes, several actually
  2. Do you have a printer?  Yes, got a couple of those too
  3. Why don’t you print these at home, for free?

What?  Turns out I can print these deeds at home and access to the system is free and printing is free!  When I needed to get a copy of an grantor page I returned to the copy center and chatted with the original gentleman for a few minutes and it turns out he is nearing retirement.  He goes on to explain he has had several bad experiences with genealogists, so he does not tell them we can print things for free. He says the system is quirky (it is) and “you genealogists call and yell at him when you can’t find your deeds in the online system, and then complain about the research cost and printing fees“.  What do I say to that?   I promised if I could not find the deeds online I would not yell at him and I would have no objection to paying the research and printing fees.

Not good folks, not good.  I hate hearing how rude we genealogists can be when pursing our ancestors.  I have found, that the nicer you are the more to people, the more records they will tell you about that they have hidden away in the basement.   Really, it works.  Try it.  Be nice and polite.  Ask about someone’s day.  Chat about the weather and don’t take up their time chatting about long dead relatives.  Give people the chance to run through the rules (even though you looked them up online before visiting), and let them show you where the records and indexes are and explain how the indexes work.  It only takes a few minutes, and so what if you have worked with these indexes in 20 other courthouses?  It pays off in the long run, and in this case, can save you money!

What was the thing I learned today?  Many genealogists are unintentionally rude when researching and it reflects badly on the community as a whole.  Not what I set out to learn.

For those with relatives in western PA, all of the Westmoreland county deeds are online at:  www.wcdeeds.us.  But, before you go running off to your computer, there is one teeny tiny little catch:  the deeds are online (and free to print), but the grantor and grantee indexes are not online!  You still have to go to the Courthouse in Greensburg to figure out what deeds your ancestors were involved in.  However, that is free too :-)

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Connecting to database ..

Originally posted on GenDetective:

Have you seen this message “Connecting to database ..” in GenDetective and been frustrated that it never goes away?  If so, the solution to this issue is simple and quick.

First, what is the cause of the issue?  With multiple versions of Access on your machine, a different version of Access is trying to open the GenDetective database.  This can be very frustrating!  In the blog post #1 Question Asked About GenDetective I discuss the software that is installed by GenDetective during installation.

What’s the solution?  You can easily address this with a couple clicks of your mouse:

  1. InstallGenDetective v2.2 (if you haven’t already done so)
  2. Reboot to make sure no part of GenDetective is running
  3. Open your My DocumentsGenDetective folder
  4. Find genD_v2.gen (~492 mb or larger) and double-click it
  5. An Office pop-up will appear saying it is reconfiguring please wait.  This message may stay on the screen and flicker for…

View original 118 more words

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