Sunday, April 2, 2017

Be flexible and don’t make assumptions

Most researchers know to use name variations and date ranges when trying to find an elusive ancestor in a database but sometimes the database itself doesn’t contain the data you think it does.

The Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957 is one of my favorite record sets. Would you only search this database for someone if they were between the ages of 6 and 18?

Thomas Simmons is my dad and he graduated from Purvis High School in 1955. This school census is from 1957. In 1957 my dad was in the Air Force and stationed in Hahn, Germany but the school board still listed him.

Children that were not attending school anymore were still included.  They are given a W code with an explanation. If your relative married young and left school or left school to go to work he/she will still be listed. This is important information. Always be flexible with your searches and make sure you know exactly what information the particular record can tell you.


"Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 March 2017), Lamar > image 98 of 157; citing Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Box ID 15134, Series 21.


  1. Good point, Michele. Never assume someone is not in a set of records. Check anyway if the location and range of years fits.

  2. These records were digitized by FamilySearch volunteers at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History several years ago. The MDAH website also has these images. The MDAH images include some years that are not found on FamilySearch. I can find myself on the MDAH site, but those years are not on FamilySearch. I've had a good time going through finding folks I went to school with!