Do you consistently use Ancestry to access census records? Or, do you at times use FamilySearch or other sites? I have to admit that I rarely venture out of Ancestry to update my census research. However, I have heard other researchers recommend looking at a census record from different sources.
While updating my source citations for Mary Wells, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Wells, I was looking for her in the 1870 census. Since Mary wasn’t listed with her father’s family, I pulled up my old notes to try and figure out where she was living.
This information combined with a search for Alice Wells living in Calhoun, Michigan helped me do a simple search of the 1870 census record.
Unfortunately, when I opened the image for the household containing Alice and George Wells, the census record was barely legible.
Even using the tool to INVERT COLORS, the census record is still hard to read.
That’s when I remembered the advice to check other sources for census records. When I located the Doolittle / Wells household on FamilySearch site, I found a version that is slightly easier to read.
However, the FamilySearch site has a tool that Ancestry doesn’t.
This ADJUST IMAGE tool allows one to change the brightness and contrast. When I played with those settings, I was able to make the image more legible.
Now, I understand why professional researchers suggest looking at census records on multiple sources. If I had not looked at other sources for the census record, I would not have found a legible version that supports my handwritten notes.
Have you ever encountered a census record where the family had an extra child that you were unaware of? Professional researchers will caution us to not make assumptions from those listed in a household when the relationship is not stated. However, it is very easy to look at that census record and think the household is one family.
My first encounter with a household on the 1850 census record not being a family unit was with the record for Jane Barnes Currey and her children. Jane’s husband, Thomas M. Currey, died in 1848. In 1850, Jane is shown still living in Carroll County, Indiana with the following in her household:
James Currey age 26 and born in Indiana
Elizabeth Currey age 21 and born in Indiana
Amanda Currey age 19 and born in Indiana
Helen Currey age 17 and born in Indiana
Caroline Currey age 8 and born in Indiana
Hiram Currey age 15 and born in Indiana
Catharin Barnes age 15 and born in Indiana
Both James and Hiram have ‘Farm’ listed as their occupation. Based on this one record, it would be easy to assume that Hiram is a member of this family. However, a search of Carroll County Indiana Probate Records uncovers documents that identify the heirs of Thomas M. Currey.
Probate Order Book Carroll County, Indiana Book 2 page 520
May Term 1848 — 3rd Day May 10
Austin C Sheets Administrator of the estate of Thomas M. Curry deceased vs Sarah C Sheets James B Curry Mary I Curry Elizabeth J Curry Easter A Curry Helen M Curry Caroline T Curry
Application to sell land
And now at this time comes the said Administrator by M Allen his atty and files his petition in the words & figures following (insert) praying for a sale of certain real estate therein named and there upon he files in open court an inventory and appraisement of the real estate in the words & figures following (insert) and thereupon the said petitioner files in open court the written consent of the said defendants Sarah C Sheets James B Curry Mary I Currey who are of lawful age [manning] the service of process herein arise consenting that a decree shall be [entered]at the present term of this for the sale of the lands described in said petition and thereupon comes into open court James B Curry who is the guardian of the persons and property of said defendents Elizabeth J Currey Easter A Curry Helen M Curry & Caroline T Curry who are minors under the age of twenty one years and [bears the using] and service of process herein and enters his appearance for the said defendants & minors and consents that proceedings in this cause may be had and the case heard at the present term of this court and thereupon said Administrator now files in open court his additional bond with John Barr his security which is in the words & figures following (insert) which is by the court approved and the court after being fully advised in the [promises use after] having heard the proof, and allegations of the parties It is therefore ordered adjudged by the court now here that the said Thomas M Curry deceased at the time of his was seized in fee simple of the following lands situate in said county of Carroll, State of Indiana to wit The west half of the south west quarter of Section No (26) twenty six Township No (24) twenty four Range No (1) one east Also the East half of the south east quarter of section no (27) twenty seven same township and range and that said decedent at the time of his death held a title bond from Martin Shinn for the south west quarter as the South East quarter of section No (27) twenty seven same Township and Range on which said last mentioned land full payment had been mad by said decendant
page 521 in his lifetime that it is further ordered adjudged and decreed by the court that said Administrator proceed to sell said land at public sale at the court house door in Delphi on the first Monday in June 1848 after having [adm?t?d] the time and place of sale in Carroll express a newspaper of general circulation printed and published in said county and by putting up written notices in the Township where the land is situate according to law that it is further ordered adjudged & Decreed by the court that said Administrator sell the said land on the following terms to wit eight hundred dollars cash in hand and the balance in two equal payments twelve and eighteen months from the day of sale the purchaser giving good free hold security for the payment of said purchase money and it is further ordered that said real estate shall not be sold for less than two thirds of its appraised value after subtracting all loyal incumbrances on the same and it is further ordered ajudged decreed by the court that if said Administrator shall fail to sell said land at public sale as above directed that then he shall proceed to sell the same at private sale to the highest bidder so that the amount shall not be less than two thirds the appraised value thereof after directing incumbrances as aforesaid [and said Administrator as part his proceedings to the next term of this court & this cause is continued.
Indiana, Carroll County. Probate Records, 1829-1913; indexes, 1844-1891. Film #2200813 DGS 7708858. Petition to sell Thomas Currey’s land, 10 May 1848 Vol. 2: page 520-521; digitized images, FamilySearch http://www.familysearch.org : viewed before 2016.
Hiram Currey is missing from the probate document. That combined with the fact that he is listed after the other Currey children would suggest that he is NOT a child in this family. Without the probate record, I would likely have assumed that 15 year old Hiram was a child of Jane Currey.
Thus, I’m thankful that other researchers taught me to look beyond a single record and to collect as much information as I can on each member of a family.
By now, most of my readers have already found their immediate family on the 1950 census. But I’m curious, were there any surprises in your work with the 1950 census?
Thanks to my preparation for the 1950 Census, finding my parents and grandparents was relatively easy. My dad’s family was found exactly where I expected – living at 911 Second Avenue in Dodge City, Kansas on ED 29-15.
I even registered my email address to transcribe the CRAWFORD names found on this page.
So, on April 2nd, I expected to be able to search for the CRAWFORD surname to get back to the page. That’s when I discovered that the names were not being indexed as CRAWFORD but as CRAMFORD.
When I looked at my transcription history and clicked on the ‘i’, I learned that I will have to wait for the ’24 hours’ to expire before my transcription would appear — and then only if approved by a moderator.
When I searched the county where my mother was living for the BRILES surname, I found that her sister was correctly indexed by the computer. However, the Briles family on the previous page had the surname correctly indexed but the given names were not correctly read.
While discovering that I have to wait and hope that my transcriptions replace the computer indexing, those weren’t the only surprises in the 1950 census.
One of the first surprises was that I did not find my great-grandmother, Josie Crawford, living with my grandparents in Dodge City. Nor was she living in the household of my great-aunt, Esther Crawford Noll. Thus, she is likely living with a different child. I likely will need to wait for indexing to find her.
Another surprise was a chance discovery of my father living in Emporia, Kansas after finding him listed with his parents in Dodge City. Since my dad was a student at Kansas State Teachers College at the time, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find him in Emporia — but I wasn’t looking for him there.
However, my biggest surprise was finding E. G. Briles, whom I believe to be my great-grandfather with a wife named Anna. My great-grandmother, Frances Artlissa Ricketts Briles died in 1947, thus I expected to find Edward G. Briles as a widower. Thus, finding him in the 1950 census with a wife named Anna was a HUGE surprise.
A search of the Kansas, U.S., City and County Census Records, 1919-1961, confirms that an Anna Briles was living in Yates Center, Kansas with TWO people in her household in 1949 and 1950. Thus, I will need to do further research to see if I can verify a marriage for Edward G. Briles between 1947 and 1950.
So, how about you? Did you have any surprises in the 1950 census?
I had this post scheduled for later in March. However, it’s now a post for Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge.
It’s Saturday Night –
time for more Genealogy Fun!
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:1) The 1950 United States Census will be available to search on 1 April 2022 – less than three weeks away. How have you prepared yourself to search it? Have you found 1950 addresses of your family members and persons of interest? Have you identified the State, County, Town and Enumeration District? Have you made a table of your findings so you can systematically find everyone on your list? What will you do with the information you gather?
Are you ready? Do you know where your ancestors may have lived in 1950? While others have been preparing for quite some time, I have to admit I haven’t. I haven’t spent much time on this task for several reasons:
My ancestors were living in Dodge City, Emporia, and Yates Center at the time.
I learned to use census records by scanning microfilm to locate the desired family. Thus, I can do this again.
All of my ancestors were living in Kansas which means that in addition to information from the 1940 census, I also have information from Kansas census records for various years that provide street addresses. (Kansas City and County Records, 1919-1961)
To figure out which Enumeration District I need to access, I am relying on previous knowledge. From personal experience, I know that 911 Second is the southwest corner of the intersection of 2nd avenue and Elm Street. I also have deed records indicating that this is lot 7 of block 47. When I enlarge the map of Dodge City, and locate this intersection, I find that I need to look in ED 29-15.
When it comes to my mom’s side of the tree, my grandparents were living in Emporia while my great grandfathers were living in Yates Center and Neosho Falls. Since my grandparents tended to move around a lot, I need to pin down their probable address in 1950. A search of the Ancestry database, U.S. City Directories 1822-1995 for the surname BRILES living in Emporia, Kansas provides the information needed. In both 1949 and 1951, my grandparents were living at 924 Constitution.
A search of Google helps me put 924 Constitution on a map.
From the Google map, I figured out that Constitution Street is two blocks west of Commercial street. Commercial street is highlighted in blue on the enumeration map. With my previous knowledge of Emporia’s streets, I knew that 9th avenue was north of 6th avenue (which is also highlighted in blue). Locating those two streets on the ED map, I learn that ED 56-16 is the one that I need to use to locate my grandparents.
For my great-grandfathers, it appears that I will have to do more scanning of pages. My great grandfather, Charles Mentzer, was living in Neosho Falls. Since, the town is not separated from the rest o the township, I will need to scan the entire township (ED 104-7) to locate Charles.
My other great-grandfather on my mom’s side was living in Yates Center at the time. When I enlarge the ED map of Woodson County, it appears that Yates Center is in 4 different EDs but there is no map of the town showing which portions of the town are in which ED.
Thus, it appears that I will need to scan several EDs to locate Edward G. Briles. Since I would have a lot of MENTZER cousins living in Woodson county, scanning these various EDs will help me locate them while locating my great-grandfather.
To help me make sure I scan all of the townships where my MENTZER cousins lived, I can use a search of the Ancestry database, Kansas, U.S., City and County Census Records, 1919-1961 for the MENTZER surname between 1948-1952. The results from this search will allow me to create a checklist of cousins I need to find.
Besides these MENTZER cousins, I would have an aunt living in Emporia and great aunts and uncles on my ‘to-do’ list. Using information I have already compiled on these individuals, I can use the same process described above to identify the appropriate Enumeration District. Besides my Mentzer cousins shown above, I quickly created a list of ancestors and their siblings that will need located in the 1950 census.
Herbert Mentzer — ED 16-19 in Coffey County, Kansas
Leon Crawford family (including his mother) – ED 29-15 in Ford County, Kansas
Helen Horton – ED 29-16 in Ford County, Kansas
Myrtle Jones – ED 29-18 in Ford County, Kansas
Esther Noll — ED 29-6 in Ford County, Kansas
E. O. Briles family — ED 56-16 in Lyon County, Kansas
Letha Doolittle — ED 56-31 in Lyon County, Kansas
Gladys Green – ED 56-31 in Lyon County, Kansas
Edward G Briles – EDs 104-14 to 104-17 in Woodson County, KS
Glen Briles – EDs 104-14 to 104-17 in Woodson County, KS
Lulu Cope – EDs 104-14 to104-17 in Woodson County, KS
Charles Mentzer – ED 104-7 in Woodson County, KS
Leslie Mentzer – ED 104-7 in Woodson County, KS
My to-do list will contain some great aunts and uncles living in larger communities. If the above process does not help me locate them easily, I will just wait until those cities are indexed to do my search.
Have you seen the Facebook posts or the tweets about the upcoming release of the 1950 census next year. I saw and even shared some of those posts. However, I have to admit that I wasn’t seriously thinking about the preparation I might need to be doing to get ready for next year.
Then I saw the announcement for Dear Myrtle’s study group preparing for the release of the census. Curious about this study group, I watched the April 9, 2021 Wacky Wednesday which discussed this study group. Viewing this discussion helped me realize that I have a lot to learn about preparing for this census. Thus, I have registered for the group.
During one of the upcoming sessions, they are going to discuss using our genealogy programs to create a list of people that should be found in the 1950 census.
Curious about what type of report I could create, I tried creating a report. For the report, I created marked group for those who were born before 1950 but died after 1950.
Then I used the “Who Was There List” to create a report using the individuals in my marked grouped. In setting up the report, I used United States for the place and elected to print the married name and alternate names.
This report provides some very useful information. Because it lists the residence information I have for the individual, it will help me identify exact locations to search for these people.
Because this report is HUGE, I likely will modify the settings to limit the geographic area.
I’m looking forward to participating in the upcoming sessions to learn more about what I can do to prepare for next April.
Do you ever take for granted a set of records available for your research that may not be available in other localities? If so, you are not alone. I have deep Kansas roots and I’ve taken for granted the wonderful census records found in Kansas.
From 1855 to 1925, Kansas had a statewide census for the years ending in ‘5’. The Kansas State Historical Society’s 1855-1940 Kansas Censuses page provides details about what was recorded on each of these records.
These census records are very valuable for documenting Kansas families, especially between 1880 and 1900. For example, I can prove that my second great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford and his family had moved from Indiana to Dodge City by 1885 because I can find him listed as M Crawford on the 1885 census in Ford County, Kansas
These census records are available on Ancestry in the dataset titled, Kansas, U.S., State Census Collection, 1855-1925. When I want to use this set of records I often can’t remember the exact name of the set. Thus, I search the catalog for the keywords, Kansas Census, and then scroll thru the results until I find this set.
These records are also available on FamilySearch. They can be found by searching the catalog for Kansas and then looking for the Census records in the list of results.
For those eagerly anticipating the 1950 census, Kansas is ahead of the game. There is another record set on Ancestry that includes census records up to 1961. This set of records is titled, All Kansas, U.S. City and County Census Records, 1919-1961. Below are some of the results for my grandparents, Edward Osmund Briles and his wife Pauline, who lived in Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas.
With these records, the family members are listed along with their ages and their address.
These records have helped me track where my grandmother, Pauline Briles, lived after the death of her husband, Edward Briles.
If you have Kansas roots, be sure to check out these wonderful records!
I’m struggling with ‘same name’ issues. Particularly in regards to Alexander Crawford. I believe there are two different Alexander Crawfords.
Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1788 and likely lived in Pulaski County, Kentucky
Alexander Crawford, son of Rev. James Crawford of Fayette County, Kentucky and grandson of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters
Other researchers disagree with me. Thus, I’m on a quest to locate documentation to hopefully resolve this issue.
Today, I’m working with census records. Since these are all pre-1850 census listings, they can’t be depended upon to prove family relations. However, they can help establish places of residency.
Using the family information for Rev. James Crawford from the book Descendants of Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford, I can determine approximate ages for the various census years.
Rev James Crawford
Using the above chart, I can then look at the census records for Fayette County and compare the tick marks to potential family members.
In the 1810 census for Fayette County, Kentucky (where Rev. James Crawford lived), I was able to find a Rebecka Crawford as the head of household on the census with 12 total people in the household:
Free white males 26-44: 1 – son – Alexander Crawford – age 29
Free white females 10-15: 1 – daughter Rebecca Crawford – wrong age – she would have been 5
Free white females 16-25: 3 – daughters Sarah age 9, Elizabeth age 21, Mary age 26
Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Rebecca Crawford
Number of slaves: 6
number of household members under 16: 1
Number of household members over 25: 2
number of household members: 12
In the 1820 census for Fayette County, Kentucky, I was able to find Alexander Crawford listed as a 26-44 year old male head of household.
Males 26-44 — 1 – Alexander age 38
Females 16-25: 2 – sisters Sarah age 19 / Rebecca age 15
Females 26-44: 2 – sister Mary age 36 / Mother Rebecca age 65
Slaves – Males 26-44: 2
Slaves Female under 14:5
Slaves Female 14-25: 2
number of persons engaged in agriculture: 3
Free White persons over 25: 4
total free white persons: 6
Total Slaves: 9
Alexander Crawford again appeared as the head of household in the 1830 census for Fayette County, Kentucky.
Males 40-49: 1- Alexander age 48
Females 20-29: 1 – sister – Rebecca age 25
Females 30-39: 2 – Sisters Sarah age 29, Mary age 46
Females 70-79: 1 – Mother Rebecca age 75
Free colored persons Females 24-35: 1
Slaves Males 24-35: 1
Slaves Males 36-54: 1
Slaves Females under 10: 3
Slaves Femlaes 10-23: 2
Slaves Females 24-35: 2
Free white persons 20-49: 4
Total Free white persons: 5
Total Slaves: 14
Total free colored persons: 1
The 1840 census of Fayette County, Kentucky also lists Alexander Crawford as a head of household.
Males 50-59: 1 – Alexander age 58
Females 30-39: 1 – Sister Rebecca age 35
Females 40-49: 1 – Sister Sarah age 39 or Mary age 56
Free colored persons – males 36-54: 1
Slaves males under 10: 9
Slaves males 10-23: 2
Slaves Males 36-54: 1
Slaves Females under 10: 7
Slaves Females 10-23: 2
Slaves Females 36-54: 2
Persons employed in agriculture: 4
No. white persons over 20 who cannot read and write: 1
Free white persons 20-49: 2
Total free white persons: 3
Total free colored persons: 1
Total slaves; 23
Total all persons – free white, free colored, slaves: 27
The above census records support an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, Kentucky between 1820 and 1840. Although there are a few discrepancies, the tick marks appear to line up with the Rev. James Crawford family structure. Thus, there is support – but not definitive proof – for the theory that the Alexander Crawford in these census records is the son of Rev. James Crawford.
If there are two separate Alexander Crawfords, then there should be a second set of census records. I used the information I had compiled on the family of Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County, Kentucky to create a similar table showing ages of the family members in the various census records.
1823 / 1838
John A. Crawford
Unfortunately, the census records for Alexander Crawford in Pulaski County, Kentucky are more difficult to line up with these known family members. In the 1810 census, this could be explained if one of the sons and his family was also living in the household
Free males under 10: 4 – ? grandsons?
Free males 10-15: 3 – sons John, Harrison, Shelby
Free males 16-25: 1- son Adams or Andrew
Free males: 45 and over: 1- Alexander
Free females under 10: 1 – unknown
Free Females 10-15: 2 — ? granddaughters?
Free females 10-15: 2 – unknown
Free females 16-25: 1 – daughter Martha or wife of Adams or Andrew
Free females 26-44: 1 – wife Margaret
Number of household members under 16: 10
Number of household members over 25: 2
Number of household members: 14
The 1820 census of Pulaski County, Kentucky showing an Alexander Crawford is even more confusing. If this is the same family, then Alexander likely has at least one if not two daughters-in-law living with him along with several grandchildren.
Free white males under 10: 2 – ? grandsons
Free white males 10-15: 2 – ? grandsons
Free white males 45 and over: 1 – Alexander Crawford
Free white females under 10: 1 – ? granddaughter
Free white females 10-15: 1 – ? granddaughter
Free white females 16-25: 2 – daughter Martha Crawford and 1 daughter-in-law or 2 daughters-in-law
Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Margaret McElwee Crawford
Free white persons under 16: 6
Free white persons over 25: 2
total free white persons: 10
Total all persons: 10
A search of the 1830 Pulaski County, Kentucky census for Crawford does not include an Alexander Crawford in the results.
This study of Kentucky census records does support
an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, KY at the same time as an Alexander Crawford lived in Pulaski County, KY.
the Rev. James Crawford family unit living in Fayette County under the name of Rebecka Crawford in 1810 and Alexander Crawford in 1820, 1830 and 1840.
Since the Pulaski County, Kentucky census records are hard to match up with the family unit of Alexander Crawford and Margaret McElwee, it is hard to conclude that the Alexander Crawford shown in these records is the husband of Margaret McElwee.
Thus, I need to locate more records to support my position that these are two different Alexander Crawfords.
Are you eagerly awaiting the release of the 1950 census? If you follow Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings blog, then you may have seen his challenge to identify members of our ancestral families that will be in the 1950 United States census.
Although it will be interesting to see the household configurations in the 1950 census, there is census data available for that time period — IF the person lived in Kansas. Yes, that’s correct, one can find census data for Kansas thru 1961. This information can be found in Ancestry’s collection: Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961.
Since all of my ancestral lines were in Kansas prior to 1919, this collection has proven to be very helpful.
For example, my great-grandmother, Josie Crawford was living in Dodge City in 1950. Thus, I did a search of the collection for a Josie Crawford living in Ford County, Kansas.
Since I didn’t select ‘exact’ for Josie’s first name, the results included Josie, Jessie and even J Frank. However, at the top of the list was one Josie Crawford.
Clicking on the link to Josie took me to a screen giving her information and a link to the image.
Clicking on the image shows the household of my grandfather, Leon Crawford. In this household was my grandfather, my grandmother, Winnie, my great-grandmother, Josie, and my uncle, Leon, Jr.
Using this collection of Kansas census records, I have been able to find my grandparents and all of my great-grandparents living in 1950. This includes the following:
Edward O. Briles (often listed as E O Briles) living in Emporia, Kansas
Edward G. Briles listed in the 1948 census in Yates Center Kansas
Charles Mentzer living in Neosho Falls between 1946 and 1949 and then living in Emporia in 1953
With my Kansas heritage, this set of records has been very helpful. If you have relatives living in Kansas between 1919 and 1961, be sure to check out this collection: Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961!
Do you just rely on Ancestry’s record information for census records prior to 1850? Or do you locate an extraction form for the census year to verify the interpretation of the check marks?
I have to admit that I often just use the information provided by Ancestry. I’m not sure why I decided to locate an extraction form and record the census information for myself today. However, I’m glad I did since I think the Ancestry record had one piece of information incorrect.
I was researching Isaac Crawford of Jefferson County, Indiana. I suspected he was living in Jefferson County in 1820 but hadn’t obtained a census record to support that suspicion. So, I searched Ancestry and was able to locate a record for Isaac Crawford in Jefferson County, Indiana.
The census image for Isaac Crawford also included Will Crawford a few lines up.
Wanting to record the information for both families, I opened my 1820 extraction form and recorded the information on my spreadsheet.
One of the things I noticed was that Will was engaged in agriculture while Isaac was engaged in manufacturing. Suspecting the two men were brothers, this puzzled me. When I looked back at the record for Isaac, it didn’t say anything about manufacturing. Instead, it indicated a slave under 14. I scanned the images to try and find an image with headings at the top. Unfortunately, none of the 25 images I scanned has headings at the top of the image.
After double-checking my extraction, I decided to report the issue to Ancestry. On the record screen, there is a link on the left to ‘Report Issue’.
I clicked on that link. On the reporting screen, I selected ‘Inaccurate Information’ as the issue I wanted to report.
On the next screen, I entered how I thought the information needed to be corrected.
What happens next will be determined by Ancestry. If Ancestry determines that there was an error, then my time will have been worth it. The ultimate goal is to have accurate information.