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20 June 2013

How to abstract a U.S. census with Mathew Armstrong 1850 population schedule as my example

In this article, I will demonstrate how to abstract a census from a digital image to a genealogical software program. For this example, the 1850 U.S. census population schedule for Matthew Armstrong will be used with the genealogical software program Roots Magic.

In every census, the enumerators asked different questions. Start with the most current census in which a known family member has been located. Always work backward; find the family in each census; always abstract all of the information.

The 1880 U.S. Census population schedule is the first year that the enumerator asked the question about the relationship of each individual to the head of the household. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 census information does not establish relationships. When working backward or with the information from other documents when abstracting the 1850, 1860, or 1870 census records, I will add [relationship established from other documents] in the comments area. The relationship information is necessary for sharing documents. If I do not have the relationship information, an entry is made in my “to do” list or family research. Remember, census records are clues only!

In Roots Magic software, events may be shared with multiple people. Shared events are great for census or obituaries or any event with multiple names. The event is entered, abstracted with source cited only once and then easily shared with others.

For more articles on census research, read my other census or how to articles on this blog or a few of my Examiner articles include:

Happy tree climbing and roots digging,

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