Friday, October 24, 2014

Hopping Down the 1940 U.S. Census Rabbit Trail

I'm having a wonderful time (this is genealogy fun!) enriching my family tree database with entries from the 1940 United State Census (see More on Finding Record Hints for a Specific Database on for the process) using Record Hints that matched persons in my Ancestry Member Tree.

I enter the census information (I use a "Census" Fact) into the person's Fact list in RootsMagic 6, then add a source citation for the person.  Usually, this person is a member of a larger family (spouse, children, parents, cousin, etc.), so  I also do the same thing for all of those persons.  I can copy the census date, the place name, and the source citation quickly in RootsMagic. 

If I didn't have a family person in my database, I add the new persons to the database.  After all, these persons are almost always my cousins (or my wife's cousins, or my sons-in-law cousins), perhaps very distant, and previously unknown to me.  

For each one of these persons, I use another browser tab to search using the known information (at least an approximate birth year and a birth state) and try to find information on their birth date and place, death date and place, marriage date and place, spouse's name, and burial place.  I also check the FamilySearch Family Tree for persons. 

When I am finished with one of the Record Hints, I either Attach the record to the Ancestry Member Tree person if it's one of my ancestral family members, or Ignore the Hint.  Either way, the Record Hint "counter" for the specific collection, and the overall "Record Hints" counter, ticks down one number.  

There is a wealth of information available online, and Ancestry makes it fairly easy to find additional records using the "Suggested Records" once you've found one record (like the 1940 U.S. Census).  Ancestry doesn't list every record for a person in the "Suggested Records," so a search is advised with known information.  

Starting a little over a week ago with 254 persons in my AMT with 1940 U.S. Census Record Hints, I've worked that list down to 29 Record Hints.  I've added quite a few persons to the database, with vital dates and places, and hundreds of source citations using this process.  

I know that has not found EVERY entry in the 1940 U.S. Census for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree.  They add 5 to 10 Record Hints every day to my overall list, and should add many more Record Hints over the coming months, including the 1940 Census.  I will have to revisit the 1940 Census Record Hint list on a regular schedule, but I'm getting a lot of information added to the database.

Only a few of the 1940 U.S. Census Record Hints I've processed did not apply to the person they matched in my Ancestry Member Tree.  I think I've found only 2 out of 225 did not match for some reason.  

Is this the best way to "mine" a given genealogy database?  I think it is, because I can keep my focus on one database.  I will finish the 1940 U.S. Census and then move on to do the 1930 Census, and the 1920 Census, and so on.  With over 43,000 persons in my database (but not all lived in the 20th century), this will be a long slog.  It's been a long slog to get this far since 1988.  Genealogy research is never finished!  

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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