Thursday, October 16, 2014

More About Census Images and Census Viewer - UPDATED

UPDATED:  Mocavo just announced in Celebrate Family History Month with an Open Access Weekend that their databases and all Gold subscription features will be FREE to access through Monday 10/20 at 11 p.m. ET.


I wrote Major News - Offers U.S. Census Images last week, highlighting that there are now U.S. census images for all years 1790 to 1940, and that there was an on-screen area of indexed information for a person at the bottom of the screen, and a list of three "Similar Results" on the right side of the screen.  These features are for Mocavo Gold subscription holders only (unless there is a free weekend event).  The new features were highlighted in Experience the Brand New Census Viewer on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.

I want to go a little further in how to get to the Census Viewer and more of the features:

1)  The 1790-1940 United States Census search page is

I added a first name, a last name, and a state to the search fields above, and clicked on the green "Search" button.

2)  I received 11 matches:

I could select a year from the list on the left, or could select the name from the list of matches.  If I want to modify the search, I could click on the "Modify Search" button at the top left.  If I want to "Search All Databases," I could click on that button at the top right.

At the bottom of this record summary are links to "Attach to Tree," "Saved to Shoebox," and "Hide Forever" (apparently to remove it from the search results if you have already used it or it is not the  person you searched for).

3)  I clicked on the name "Isaac Seaver" for the first match on the list, and saw the record summary for Isaac Seaver in the 1900 U.S. Census:

At the bottom of this screen (not shown above) is a link to "See Other Household Members" (to help you decide if this is the person that you searched for).

4)  Note the "View Census Image" below the census page thumbnail - I clicked on it and saw the census page image:

The person I searched for is highlighted in blue, and other family members are highlighted in green.  I ran mu mouse over Isaac's name and it was highlighted in yellow, and a caption appeared telling me the indexed name.  You can run your mouse over any field to see indexed information.

The Zoom control is on the left-hand edge of the screen.  You can also double-click the image to zoom in.  You can move the record image by dragging with your mouse.

The indexed information is shown at the bottom of the page, with the name, relation to head, race, gender, birth year, birth place, father's birth place and mother's birth place shown for each person on the census page.

There is a search field at the top right of the screen to "Search the document" - presumably for a name on this census page.

On the right-hand side of the page is a listing of "Similar Results."  Below that title, it tells me that "We have found 1,089 results for Isaac Seaver."  The three "Similar Results" provided are not necessarily other census records - they are records selected by Mocavo that they think apply to this person.

At the bottom of the "Similar Results" area is a link to "View More Results."

5)  I clicked on the "View More Results" and was able to see all records in Mocavo databases for my search criteria:

The first three matches on this list are the same three records that were on the "Similar Results" list on the census page.

There is a link to "Show Advanced Search Fields" at the top of the screen above so that a user can narrow the search by adding keywords or a birth date, or another event date and/or place.  The "Search Tuners" on the left-hand side of the page can be used to change database criteria, and there are "Categories" below the "Search Tuners" to narrow the search to specific record types (e.g., census, BMD, etc.).

I added a birth year of 1823 plus/minus two years, and selected only Census records, and had only 23 matches on the results list.

However, even if you search by adding, say, a birth date with a year range, and select only Census collections, the "Similar Results" list still contains the 1,089 results listed before the filters were applied, rather than the 11 (or 23) census records on the results list.

6)  My preference would be:

*  Since we're searching specifically for Census records, I would prefer that the "Similar results" be only census records.

*  I would also prefer that when I click on the "View More Results" that those results reflect what I've selected on the Search form, rather than all possible records for the name which appears to be the case at present.  In other words, the other 20 census records rather than all records.

*  I would also like to see a source citation for each census record that provides the basic features, county, state, town, ED number, page, head of household, website, NARA film-roll numbers.

7)  This Census search system works very well - the new features are the record images, the indexed information at the bottom of the page, the popover information on the image, and the Similar Results.

With this advance, joins other database providers in capability to:

*   Have all of the U.S. census images available with an every name index;, MyHeritage/WorldVital Records, and have all of the indexed census images.  As noted before, and Fold3.ocom do not have every year of the U.S. census images.

*  Be able to attach a census record to a person in the user's online family tree., and have this capability.

*  Offer other records that might pertain to the searched person., and have this capability.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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