Friday, March 8, 2013

Questions About Census Records and Citations

Howland posted this question on the Legacy Family Tree mailing list and I thought it was a really good one so I asked his permission to post it here.

“I have an ancestor who was a supervisor in an asylum for the insane per the 1880 census.  The first person listed for the dwelling is the superintendent of the facility.  When I write a citation for the census, is he the head of the household or would I show the name of the facility as the household name (i.e., McLean Asylum for the Insane Household, 1880 U.S. Census, etc.)?”

I have orphanages, prisons, hospitals and insane asylums in my database and I record the name of the facility as the head of household.  Here is an example:

1930 U.S. census, Hinds County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 1, enumeration district (ED) 26, sheet 2A, p. 254 (stamped), dwelling [none], family [none], Baptist Orphanage; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 July 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1147. 

I write the name exactly as recorded on the census page.


This brings up another question about recording households that came up in one of the ProGen assignments. “How should you record a household that has multiple families?”  Here is a sample citation for that:

1880 U.S. census, Marshall County, Alabama, population schedule, Beat 16, enumeration district (ED) 258, p. 26 (penned), dwelling 87, family 98, John D. McMichael household, Charlottie Miller family; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 Sep 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 24. 


Here is another question from one of the mailing lists. “What date do you record, the official enumeration date or the date the census taker actually went out to the house?” 

I always use the date the census taker wrote at the top of the page unless there is no date recorded in which case I will use the official enumeration date.


Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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