Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Census Tip

One of my favorite census tips, particularly when I’m having trouble finding a family member’s parent, is to look at the actual census images, then use the arrow keys to scroll a few pages before and after the person’s record.  On numerous occasions I’ve found relatives living with older neighbors who had the same last name — and that neighbor inevitably turns out to be a parent, grandparent or uncle.

Going page by page, you may find the in-laws or siblings nearby, too.  This method has been especially helpful with ancestors who are heading up their own households by the time of the 1850 census.

From 1790 through 1840, the U.S. census only listed the names of heads of household, so you may not be able to locate a head of household in 1850 as a child growing up 10 or 20 years before. But by looking back or forward a few pages in the 1850 census, you may find other relatives — including the parents of the head of household — living in the same area.