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What I learned Wednesday: NGS-HSC Lesson 5

Posted by on August 17, 2011

The fifth lesson in the NGS HSC is “Census Records.”  The assignment had two parts: the census research checklist and the census search report.

The census research checklist involved, for each ancestor listed on the pedigree chart you had submitted with Lesson 1, to indicate on which census (county and state) you would possibly find them and how they would be listed (e.g., head of household).  I did a summary checklist, a portion is shown below.  The years in red are not currently available.

The footnote on Cyrus Monroe WEBB says “The 1900 Census Day was 1 Jun 1900 and time allocated was one month.  Cyrus Monroe WEBB was born 29 May 1900 so he technically should be counted.”

I plan to continue using at least this format so I can make sure I have reviewed all records.  I will eventually expand to include possible tax rolls, misc. schedules, and other census-like records.  This was not actually a requirement for the assignment but I needed a concise visual so I could stay focused.  After this, I expanded it to the census detail that actually fulfilled the assignment.  A portion is shown below.

This exercise demonstrated my knowledge of what records were available (both in terms of existence and what is currently publicly available), the census day (or “as of” date), and data gathered.  My go-to book for all things census related is Your Guide to the Federal Census (affiliate link) by Kathleen Hinckley.  I would guess most of this information could be found on the big bad Internet but what’s better than your very own dog-eared, highlighted, stained copy?

This lesson isn’t over yet.  I needed to develop the citation and transcribe.  So I inserted a graphic of the page with the family unit I was focused on marked with a red box.

Then I transcribed.

The last step was to write a report about what I learned.  An additional component of my report was “next steps” which was the further research that had stemmed from this analysis of the census record.  I transferred those to my research log.

I really enjoyed this lesson.  It wasn’t “complete” on first try because I had intended to go back to my detail and do something else and I forgot to go back and do it.  And it was required in the lesson.  But it was a quick fix and a quick return of “complete.”  My bad.

I have several best practices that have resulted from this lesson.  Good stuff.


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