Thursday, October 4, 2007

WorldVitalRecords has added some census records has announced that they have added 800,000 images and 32 million names from the 1790 to 1930 census records -- see the announcement here. The announcement sounds so good - that this is a real boon to genealogy research -- "You can now see census records at"

But wait. I observe that:

* There are images from selected counties for each year. Not even whole states. If you are real lucky, you might find one of your counties included.

* There are no indexes for most of these records (they say 1790 is indexed), so you will have to page through them one at a time looking for your people. Deja vu here - remember cranking microfilm looking for your targets page-by-page? Now you can mouse-scroll at home rather than crank at the FHC.

* 32 million names sounds like a lot. I counted up the numbers on Ancestry some time ago, and came up with almost 600 million names in their indexes for 1790 to 1930 census records. So 32 million is like 6%. In other words, you have 1 chance in 16 of finding a record for a given person.

* Will there be more census images and names as time goes on? The announcement doesn't say. My guess is that AllCensus is working on it, but slowly.

* Will WVR or AllCensus really provide an every-name index? Ever? They say they will - but only time will tell.

Of course, has all of the census records available already for 1790-1930, with an every-name index, for a US subscription cost, or for FREE at a library that subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition.

HeritageQuestOnline has all of the census images, but only certain years with a head-of-household index, available for in-home use if you have a library card for a participating library.

New FamilySearch will eventually have all of the census images with an every-name index sometime in the future - for FREE.

I appreciate that WorldVitalRecords is adding census records to their collection, but what they have added so far won't entice me to subscribe to their collection, since I can get much more in census records for free from other providers (although I have to go to a library to obtain them).

No comments: