CTO Scott Sorensen has a challenging job: Helping Ancestry.com expand and enhance its vast database of family information, while keeping that data secure. It’s not easy being the CTO of a company that has a 10 petabyte database with 13 billion structured and unstructured records going back to the 1300sa number that grew by 1.2 billion documents in 2013. In its quest to continue expanding and enhancing its enormous database of family information, the company launched AncestryDNA in May 2012.
The 1870 – 1940 census information is the official way that the country keeps track of how many people are living in each town, city, county/parish, state, and in the entire country. Every 10 years, the Census is conducted in an effort to record basic data about the people of the United States. Beyond numbers of people, the Census also records age, name, race (or ethnic background), citizenship status of each person, and the total information for each household. This can give a snapshot of what a family looks like in a given year. For individuals doing research into their own family history, using Census data is incredibly helpful, especially for the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
While the Census is meant to collect information from everyone, naturally that is not always successfully accomplished. People can refuse to fill out their Census form, or Census forms get lost, names are misspelled, or records are kept inaccurately. While many pitfalls exist for people researching their genealogy through the Census, it still remains an incredible tool for most. With a little bit of determination and thoroughness, you may find just what you are looking for.
Between 1870 and 1940, a number of changes occurred in the United States. Slavery was abolished and the names of black Americans started to be recorded as part of the 1870 U.S. Census. In 1921, the 1890 Census forms were lost in a warehouse fire. Some still exist but are very limited to a few geographic areas.
In Louisiana, you are in luck if you had “kin folk” in Ascension Parish in 1890 because their census index was not destroyed.
In 1902, the Census Act was signed by Theodore Roosevelt, creating a dedicated census office for the federal government. Before 1902, census forms were collected locally, and there was a considerable amount of fraud involved. Many municipalities were hoping to go from territories to states, and would bump up their numbers with fake people or duplicate names. Others, in an effort to pay less in taxes, would throw out a certain percentage of forms to make their population seem smaller.
With all these challenges, it is important to remember that your search of the census record will not be straightforward or fast. Give yourself time and create a research log, then start your searches. All census records are available up to until 1940. The 1940 census search by name is a great feature. There are a large number of websites that offer family history search capabilities of the census records, and when you search you may find too much or nothing at all.
Just as the spelling of a surname can be spelled differently, so can given names. Remember to try all variations of names, such as Eliza, Liza, Liz, Beth, and Elizabeth, and jot down each search you complete in your research log to keep all those attempts straight. Include a town if you have that information, but remember that the simpler the search, the more results you will receive. Try everything before giving up on the census. While the information may have been lost or destroyed, it’s far more likely that you will find some real gems about your family history if you trace it back through the decades using the U.S. Census.
The Census Bureau’s National Processing Center (NPC) is located in Jeffersonville, IN and houses copies of census records from 1910 to 2000. Because of the “72 years” rule, the census records from 1940 were released on April 2, 2012. After 72 years have passed, personal records are available for viewing or to be purchased through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) can obtained census records online. Visit the National Archives website for invaluable census information to assist in your search.
by Leonard Smith
Latter Day Saints genealogy is a sacred matter to the Mormons, and they have created the most expansive genealogy organization in the world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, encourages genealogy or family history search as a cornerstone of their religion. The Latter Day Saints (LDS) believe that all family members – those alive today as well as those who have lived in the past or who will live in the future – share an eternal bond, and that every person should research his family history and ensure that all sacred ordinances are performed for their ancestors.
Latter Day Saints Genealogy
In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Family History Library is located for anyone who wishes to visit in person. Here, you can have first-hand access to billions of documented records and names from all over the world at no cost to you. If no written records exist for certain people, they also have oral histories available to listen to. Thousands of people from all over the world visit this library daily, searching for their past.
You can either search directly from the Latter Day Saints genealogy website (familysearch.org) where you can access a free family workbook. This workbook is a free item from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is primarily for those who are just beginning their quest for their family’s history.
Familysearch.org is a helpful site provided by the Church of Latter Day Saints. This is where you input the names you are search for, including a city, state or country, and a year. The site will then take you to the information you are hoping to find. You may also create your family tree on this site. Historical Books from the Brigham Young University can be researched using this site when you need background information on a particular year or area.
For more information on this article click here.
The Latter Day Saints encourage all to search for their ancestors and to preserve their family stories and histories. They have made genealogy and family history research available to people everywhere at no charge. Look for the nearest Latter Day Saints genealogy family history center and take advantage of the free resources they offer.
by Leonard Smith