HeritageQuest Online Tips on searching the U S Federal Census

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					                           HeritageQuest Online
            Tips on searching the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1930

In order to effectively use the U.S. Federal Census files available through
HeritageQuest Online it is essential that you be aware of the following:

•   HeritageQuest Online contains digitized images of each decennial census from
    1790-1930. Census data from more recent censuses is not currently available due
    to privacy laws. To protect individual privacy, the government doesn't release
    census data for 72 years after they take it [92 Stat. 915, Public Law 95-416; October
    5, 1978]. This means information from the 1940 census won’t be released until

•   HeritageQuest Online contains name indexes for only 12 of the decennial censuses.
    This is significant because you can only search data that has been indexed. To
    locate information in census years that haven’t been indexed you must use the
    browse functionality. Note: The entire 1930 census is available to browse, but only
    a small portion is available to search.

                         Census Images            Census Name Indexes
                     (available for browsing)      (available to search)
                               1790                        1790
                               1800                        1800
                               1810                        1810
                               1820                        1820
                               1830                          -
                               1840                          -
                               1850                          -
                               1860                        1860
                               1870                        1870
                               1880                        1880
                               1890                        1890
                               1900                        1900
                               1910                        1910
                               1920                        1920
                               1930             1930 (CT, DE, MD, TX, VA)

•   The only names that are searchable are those belonging to Heads of Household.
    The census enumerator would list as “head of household” the person who was
    responsible for the care of the home and/or family. This person could be the
    husband, a mother with children, a person living alone, etc. To find another member
    of the household, search for the surname and look at the image to find the name.
    Click on Help to see who was listed as head of household during each census.
    (Exception: All names recorded in the 1880 census are indexed and searchable.)

                                      Rev. 7/26/2007
•   Over 99% of the 1890 population schedules were destroyed in a fire. Although you
    can search the 1890 census, your chances of finding the person you’re looking for
    are slim.

•   When using the Advanced Search screen, it is important to note that age, sex, race,
    and birthplace information are available only for 1850 forward (with the exception of
    1890). If you enter values in these fields your search will return results for 1850
    forward only.

•   Remember -- county names and boundaries change over time. When browsing the
    census you will be asked to select a year and then a state. After selecting a state
    you will get a “View State Map” link. Clicking on it will retrieve a state map with
    current county boundaries superimposed over county boundaries as they existed
    during the census year you selected to browse.

•   Did your name search fail to retrieve a census record for the individual you are
    looking for? Consider one of the following possibilities:

              Perhaps you, the census enumerator, or the indexer spelled or transcribed
              a first or last name incorrectly. Are there alternate spellings you can try?
              Using the Advanced Search screen can you enter just a surname, or just a
              given name, in combination with other known information (county,
              location, age, race, and/or birthplace) in order to find the person you’re
              looking for?

              Just because your ancestor appears as William Smith in one census
              doesn’t mean he appears as William Smith in others. Have you tried
              various nicknames and abbreviations, such as Will Smith, Bill Smith, W.
              Smith, or Wm. Smith?

•   Are you unable to find the name you searched for on the census image you
    retrieved? If so, keep in mind that some images are broken into multiple pages.
    View additional pages by clicking on the icons (labeled Subpage A, Subpage B, etc.)
    located above the image to the left.

                                     Rev. 7/26/2007

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