Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Free 1900 Census Images and Index at FamilySearch

The Legacy News blog mentioned that the 1900 US Census is available (except for Hawaii and Alaska) at the FamilySearch Labs Record Search web site. Read his post "How good are the Family Search Indexing Indexes?" about his successful search on the site.

You have to be a registered user of this site. Once you are signed on, you can search all of the indexed collections or select one of the collections from the list of databases. I clicked on the 1900 United States Census and put a name in the search box - I used Leroy Thompson, born 1880 in Tennessee (because I can't find him in the 1900 census and wondered if Ancestry and HQO missed him).

The search results came back with 3,900 partial matches, all 3-stars or less (no 5 stars). It didn't find any Leroy Thompson born in 1880 in Tennessee. I clicked on one of the other 3-star Leroys near the top of the list, and the link took me to a summary page for that person. I clicked on "View Original Image" and the census page image took a very long time to come up (like three minutes) - I'm wondering if this happens on every image, or just the first one?

There is an image zoom tool in the upper right hand corner, and a thumbnail image in the lower right hand corner that shows the visible portion of the whole page. You can move around on the image by dragging your mouse over the image. You can navigate to the Next, Previous or any other numbered page in the enumeration district. You can navigate to the Previous or Next match on the list. I saved an image, and it saved as a JPG file (3720 x 3768, 1.240 mb). You can print the image, and you get the full page as a portrait print. Both the Save and Print operations took a long time (like 60 seconds) to work.

When I tried to bring up a second page, the system hung up and made me wait for three minutes before I hit Refresh, and then I was back to the beginning screen. My whole computer got very slow after this experience and I had to reboot after this post. I really don't like the mouse dragging "hand" to navigate around the image - scroll bars are much better IMHO.

This is great news for online researchers. The 1900 US Census is online for FREE, but you'll have to be patient with the system until the bugs are worked out. It will be interesting to see how their servers will react when more people start using this database.

UPDATED: 1/16 - The computer slowdown prevented much editing of this post...I changed some details herein.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Randy - Just a couple comments on the FamilySearch searching...
To find Leroy Thompson, you might use the filters at the top of the page to narrow down your search. My husbands great-grandfather was found this way (he was a 1-star match for my search parameters). In transcribing these censuses, I have found that on a scribbled, faint, or dark census, sometimes "Tenn" and "Penn" are hard to tell apart, so you might want to check for him as born in Pennsylvania also. Another item is that some census takers used only first initials on the whole page, so I would look for him under L Thompson, also.

As far as the slowness, I have never had as slow a search as you had, but the first download does seem to take the longest - usually about 30 seconds to a minute, I have found. With subsequent pages taking about 15 seconds or less.

One more note, in the small box at the bottom, you can drag around the yellow area too, which will move your section of the large page. I find the dragging easier than scroll bars. Or instead of dragging, just use the wheel on your mouse for up-and-down scrolling.