Digging Deeper Into Census Records

Census records are a genealogists best friend.  They are one of the first sources of information about our families that genealogists consult.  Censuses are a snapshot in time of the family, on a reoccurring basis (frequently 10 years) allowing us to follow our evolving families through time.  There are many different censuses:

  1. US Federal Census 1790 – 1940
  2. International  Censuses (UK, Canada, Wales, etc)
  3. Territorial censuses, required to become a state
  4. State censuses (NJ, NY, Ma, Md, Fl, etc)
  5. Local censuses & tax lists
  6. Australian Voter Registrations
Censuses page 1

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The great thing about all of these diverse censuses is the records exist, meaning you can use them for your family research, and GenDetective is aware they exist.  GenDetective contains the definitions for over 50 different censuses, and many of these censuses span multiple years.  The Queensland (Australia) Voter Registration is available for 27 different years!  If someone from your family lived in a community where a government census was conducted, GenDetective will suggest you locate that person in that specific census.

My Census Progress for my Direct relatives

My Census Progress for my Direct relatives

How do you know what censuses you should be researching?  In Reports By Task, select How close am I to meeting my research goals?  and then select Census research.  The resulting report will list each census where you would expect to find a family member, the years, and your progress toward finding the missing census records.

Looking at this report you might want to know which people you still need to locate in a specific census and year.  To see that answer, look a few reports further down the list and click on Census research by year and person.  Select the census and year and the report will show you which relatives you have found and which ones you have not found for this specific year.

Direct relatives I still need to find in the 1840 US Federal census

Direct relatives I still need to find in the 1840 US Federal census

While looking for census records always seems like doing the laundry or taking out the trash .. there are always more waiting to be found, they are an invaluable resource when conducting our family research.

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