It’s Monday! Are you ready to add something new to your genealogy file? Let’s talk about the U.S. Federal Census.
What is the census? It is a count of all the people living in the United States, town by town. The government uses this information to decide where to build more schools, more roads and where to provide more money and resources.
Ok, you are probably saying to yourself, “I understand what the census is but what does the census have to do with Mappy Monday?” One of the great things about the census is it provides an address for your ancestors, depending on what year it was taken. How do you know if an address is provided? Let’s look at the information below to see.
The census was first taken in 1790. Until 1850, the census listed the head of the family and a count of others in the household. In 1850 and future censuses, the names of all individuals were added. By 1880, the street name was added with a house number. These addresses are important to keep track of in your notes. They can help you locate people in other records or help prove the person you found is the one you are looking for.
You can take these addresses for a family and put them on a map. You can see the migration, or movement, of a family from place to place, whether it is in a city or across the country.
Where can you find the census? Sites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org have census records. Repositories like the National Archives and local research libraries also carry the census on microfilm. Sometimes local genealogy societies will transcribe the records and publish them in journals.
What else is on a census and what does it look like? After 1880, the census provides a lot of clues about a family. You will find things like the individual’s birth place (state or country), month and year of birth, year of immigration, naturalization status, occupation and whether or not they attended school if they were too young to work.
The census can provide a lot of information about your family so add it to your list of records to search. Take a look at the 1900 census for my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Kokoska, starting on line 60.