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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Census Quiz

October 18, 2009, by Brenda Kellow

READER’S COMMENTS:
Candace Fountoulakis of Plano gave me permission to use her email noting her findings on Footnote while it was free in August. After reading in my recent column about it being free, she searched on the 1930 census on Footnote. There she found her father in Nebraska. Candace said it was “the very first time I have been able to find him with his mother and brother, living in his grandparent’s household.” Until then, she did not know their first names. She goes on to say, “It was wonderful to see it and I just wanted to pass along the good news.”

Another reader, Jackie Kellow, stated that census records, if you really know how to search a census, is sometimes more important than ‘death records and tombstones.” As always, I do appreciate your messages and tips.

Discussion:
Let’s discuss the censuses and then answer a few questions proposed here. The federal census began in 1790 as a way to allocate the number of seats in the House proportionally according to our Constitution. This is conducted every ten years. We are the only country to have such detailed population and demographic information.

The census findings affect the allocation of federal funding for educational programs, health and welfare, law enforcement, federal highway projects, farmers’ aid, etc.

The early censuses before 1850 did not give the names of those in the household, only the numbers in an age range for both sexes. Nevertheless, these censuses are important.

Before the 1880 census, we did not know the relationship of those living in the household. We had only to assume the female listed below the male of household was his wife and the children living in the household were this couple’s children. In reality, this is not always the truth.

The fire of 1921 mostly destroyed the 1890 census. There are only a few roles in existence, mostly for the latter half of the alphabet. Texas has only a handful of extant that census year. The closest county to survive near Collin County is Rockwall. Are any of your counties available for 1890? Do you know how to find out?
Now, are you ready for a little census quiz? At the end, I will tell you where to find the answers. Through hunting, you will find many more answers to questions relating to your family research. In addition, by bookmarking the site, you will know where to find this information for later searches.

Questions:
Where were they in 1900?
How many children did they have?
Were there any stillborn children?
How many children were living at the date of enumeration?
Did they live in the country or living in an urban area?
If they lived in the city, do you know their house number and street address?
How long had they been married?
How can I find out their age when they got married?
Find out where they and their parents were born.
How old were they when they immigrated if they were not born here and what year did they come?
Do they speak English?
Are they citizens or aliens?
What was the occupation of everyone over ten years of age and how many months did they not work during the year?
Were they either literate or in school?
If they lived on a farm, did they mainly have livestock or farm machinery?
Did they own their residence?

Answers
The above answers are all available on the 1900 Federal Census. It and all the other censuses are located on the following link. While you are there:
  • find out what survives of the 1890 census
  • what are non-population censuses
  • which censuses are the military censuses.
The answers are here, http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/census.html.

The census soundex code is at http://www.census-online.com/tools/soundex/.

Blank census forms and charts are available at http://www.ancestry.com/charts/census.aspx.


Brenda Kellow's Tracing Our Roots weekly genealogy column is at: www.TracingOurRoots.weebly.com.

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