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April 2010 Family History Expos Newsletter

Welcome to the April Family History Expos Newsletter!

This month we were at the Family History Library for our April Research Retreat.  Our professional genealogists and staff assisted Retreat goers with breaking down their brick walls. We will be placing special emphasis on immigrant ancestors.

As you research, it’s a good idea to be constantly learning.  Keeping up by reading genealogy magazines and journals, blogs, social networking tools, genealogy websites and asking the opinion of others can help you seek out records that you might not otherwise consider.  If you are unable to participate in a Research Retreat, find another way to network with other genealogists.  And don’t forget we have 6 more Expos in 2010 that will help teach you the tech to trace your roots.
See you at the Expo!



Join us for the Colorado Family History Expo!
Join us June 25-26 for the Colorado Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado.  We have a great lineup of speakers and exhibitors to help you with your genealogical research.  For more information, check out our website.


Feature Article

Research Pathways – Where Do You Go After the Federal Census?

By Christine Sharbrough, CG

The U.S. Federal Census – who knew when the census was devised that it would be such a boon for genealogical researchers, but are you making the most of it?  The functionality of this federal document goes way beyond tying your family to a date and a location.  The census can give you many other pathways to records that you may not think of initially.  The information collected beginning in 1790 and every ten years up to the present time is vast.  Too vast for one article to possibly cover all the possibilities that it encompasses, therefore this article will focus on research pathways from information found in the population schedules – the most commonly used set of the census schedules.  Bear in mind that the population schedules are not the only census records – but for purposes of this article, they will be the only schedules discussed.

Two caveats to census information.  The first being that the information contained within the population schedules was recorded by the enumerators whose only goal was to fill up the form.  Therefore, it is important to note that the information contained within these schedules could have been given by a member of the family or a neighbor or a servant and is not to be taken as hard fact without verification from primary source documents.  The second thing to note is that the 1890 population schedules are not extant – therefore you must use other types of documentation if to fill in the 20 year hole between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.   There are many ways to approach filling this gap, but that is a topic for another article.  So…what else can you glean besides a list of household members from population schedules?  Let’s take a look at a few examples from the available censuses and see.  Bear in mind that there are many more options than are provided here but this should get you started.

1900-1930 – the bountiful information found in these four population schedules and the multitude of places both fee for service and free that one can search them makes it almost a given that most people can find someone in their family in one of these four enumerations.

Let’s look at an example of the information contained in the 1910 population schedule.  The form is broken down into approximately ten sections reading from left to right:  location, name/relationship to head of family; personal description, nativity, citizenship, occupation, education, property, Civil War veteran status, and whether blind or deaf-mute.

Starting with the far left of the form the subsections of these headings list the street address and family number, dwelling number, the list of names of the household members who were in the family as of April 15, 1910.  Each individuals relationship to the head of the family, sex, race, age, marital status, number of years married, mother of how many children, number of children living, place of birth, place of birth of father, place of birth of mother, year of immigration to the U.S., whether naturalized or alien, language spoken, occupation, employer or worker or own account, number of months employed, whether the person can read or write, whether they are attending school, whether their property is owned or rented, whether the property is owned free or mortgaged, whether it is a farm or house, whether they are a Veteran of the Civil War, and whether they are blind or deaf-mute.  This is a tremendous goldmine of information in a relatively small space.  Let’s take the information one section at a time using an example of the Woods family of Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  [see below for url to ancestry for the form as well as source citation]

The location section of this census provides the street address within the town or city, in this case 508 Heath Street.  In the header at the top of the form, we know that this family was from Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  They were the 142nd dwelling enumerated and the 143rd family visited by the enumerator.  This street address ties the family to a location on a specific date (2 May 1910 when they were enumerated) and place (Brookline).  As such it becomes an anchor for this family – particularly useful for families that moved frequently.  It indicates at least at this point in time where this family is.  Knowing where they lived can also tie them to a year in the local city or town directory.  This information is also crucial for the property section of the form discussed later in this article.

Name, Personal Description, and Nativity
Taking the members of the household once at a time finds the following:  the head of household, Bridget A. Woods, a 58 year old widow who was the mother of ten children with five living at the time of the enumeration.  She is enumerated as born in Ireland of Irish-born parents.  Her son, John B. Woods, a single 31 year-old man born in Massachusetts to parents both born in Ireland; Bridget’s 29 year-old daughter, Mary DeWolfe, who has been married once so far, mother of one child who is still living also born in Massachusetts to parents both born in Ireland; beneath this listing is Bridget’s son-in-law and presumably Mary’s husband because of the surname, Arthur DeWolfe, a 35 year-old man whose marriage to Mary is his first as well.  Arthur was listed as born in Canada to Canadian-born parents.  Their daughter Alice DeWolfe, 4 years-old, is enumerated as Bridget’s granddaughter.  She was born in Massachusetts to a father born in Canada and mother born in Massachusetts.

From this basic information that is only half of what is listed in this enumeration we can formulate the following research pathways for this family assuming that we have no information on this family besides this census:

Bridget A. Woods – born c. 1852, Ireland.  Although it would be foolhardy based on this one census record and nothing else to attempt to find Bridget’s origins in Ireland at this point, knowing her approximate birth year as well as a possible location is valuable information.

She is widowed – when did her husband die? Although we do not have her husband’s name in this enumeration this information gives us a useful date, April 15, 1910 the cutoff for listing members in the household, to work from in finding his death record.  Presumably, Mr. Woods died sometime before that date. Finding this family with the additional children including the two enumerated in the 1900 census might find Mr. Woods alive with his wife.  In addition, working forward, if Bridget were unable to be found under her current surname of Woods in the 1920 census, one possibility might be to assume that she remarried and look for a marriage certificate for her in the intervening decade.

Although it is still early to definitively estimate a marriage date one could narrow the range down in two ways:  first, by using the oldest child in the current household’s age:  31 and subtracting it from the year of the enumeration – making a possible year of marriage about 1879 pending the ages of the other children not listed.  The second piece of information which will be noted further below, is the year of immigration to the US.  In Bridget’s case it was listed as 1867.  Using the approximate year of birth from above, 1852 and subtracting it from 1867 when she came to the US means that Bridget was about fifteen when she came to the US.  It is likely that she was not married at that time so this indicates #1 her marriage was probably in the US and #2 that her marriage to Mr. Woods was approximately after 1867 when she entered the US but on or before 1879 when her son John was born.  Using the information given in this enumeration allows a researcher to create a relatively small date range in which to begin a search for this record.

In addition, finding out the marriage date and spouse’s name along with other possible marriages can lead to finding the names and birthdates of the other five children who were born to Bridget.  If they did not survive to be enumerated in 1910, that information leads to death and burial information that can also be found.

John B. Woods
Born in Massachusetts, son of Bridget, and 31 years old in 1910.  This information allows us to look for John’s birth record in Massachusetts Vital Records circa 1879 and possibly give us the name of Bridget’s spouse.

Mary (Woods) DeWolfe and Alice DeWolfe
Because we have Mary’s married surname and the name of her spouse we can look for a marriage record for Arthur DeWolfe to Mary presumably circa 1906. Because her brother John is older with the surname Woods same as his mother, it is presumed that Mary’s maiden name is Woods as well.  The 1906 date is established by looking at the age of the daughter, Alice, who was four years old in 1910, indicating a birth year of 1906.  The census indicated that this was the couple’s only child either living or deceased making it likely that the couple were married shortly before her birth.  If we can find the marriage record, then we will possibly have Mary’s father’s name.  Knowing the approximate year of birth of Alice and her place of birth of Massachusetts gives a definite time frame to search for her birth as well.

Mary’s place of birth was listed as Massachusetts – so it would be possible to look for a Mary with the surname Woods born in Massachusetts circa 1881 and see if we could locate a daughter Mary Woods born to Bridget.

Arthur DeWolfe
Arthur’s information would lead so the obvious vital records in Canada for his birth, circa 1875, passenger lists or border crossing lists for the 1890 year of immigration to the US listed, in addition to the marriage information discussed in his wife, Mary’s information above which would hopefully provide Arthur’s exact birthplace in Canada.  It is unlikely but possible.  Because he would have been 15 at the time of his entry into the US, he likely came with his parents or other family – something to keep in mind when searching those records.

Citizenship, Occupation, Education and Property As discussed previously with Bridget and Arthur DeWolfe, the year of immigration to the US column can yield valuable dates that give a researcher a rough estimate of the time the person of interested entered the country.  Knowing this approximate date will make it easier to search passenger lists and border crossing records (in the case of Canada) for the individual. The column indicating “naturalized or alien” is a good indication of whether or not the person of interest filed papers with immigration that may be available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or local county courthouse.  Language spoken may indicate clues to cultural resources like foreign-language newspapers and ethnic groups that may have additional resources to consult on your ancestor.

Occupation information can tell you the social status of the individuals of interest.  In addition, this information is useful when adding flesh to the bones of your ancestors’ stories.  For example, John B. Woods is listed as a laborer in a cemetery.  Possible research pathways to other records would be to consult maps for Brookline to see where the cemeteries are located, city directories to see if the name of the cemetery is listed next to John’s name.  In the example of Arthur DeWolfe, his occupation was listed as a blacksmith in a shoeing forge.  In addition to checking the city directories for Brookline to see what shoeing forges might be around that area, it would be useful to check historical resources for what the occupation of blacksmithing was like during this time.

The property section in this enumeration indicated that Bridget owned the property at 508 Heath Street in Brookline.  She also had a mortgage on the property.  This information, combined with the street address which was given in the Location section would lead a researcher to tax and property records for this location.  Since she was a widow, it is possible to explore the probate records that may detail the transfer of property to her from her deceased spouse in his will.

In conclusion, do not feel limited to just the information contained within the census enumerations.  They are great clues to a multitude of other documents if you can recognize the information and use it to find the pathways to other record sets. In a very broad sense, the information able to be found just based on this one entry in a population schedule is more than the sum of its parts.  In addition to the person-specific resources, it is important to understand the community in which your ancestor thrived.  Information about the history of the town of Brookline might indicate the economic status of the town – what was it like to be a blacksmith in a shoeing forge?  Or if there was no shoeing forge, where was the closest one?  Where were the cemeteries local to this section of Brookline?  What was the ethnic makeup of the town?  Were the Irish segregated in a particular section of town?  What other types of occupations existed?  City directories are wonderful resources to get an idea of what types of businesses and occupations existed.  County and town histories give a flavor of the area that will help with the interpretation of the data found on a census population schedule.

Source Information
Record URL:

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll  T624_608; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 1096; Image: 584.


GenTeacher for Kids

(If you teach kids or are a kid at heart this section is for you)

Everyone Counts in the Census: Including Kids!
By Gena Philibert Ortega
Census Day in the United States was April 1st and information about the census is everywhere.  Advertisements with the message that the census is important can be seen on television, in magazines and the newspaper.  Getting the kids involved with filling out the census form or teaching them about the census is a great way to help them learn about their ancestors and see how they will be a part of the census.

If you haven’t filled out your census form yet or if you kept a copy I would recommend considering putting together a Census Care Package like Mark Tucker describes in his blog post found on Think Genealogy. This package includes a scanned copy of your completed census form, maps of your home and neighborhood, photos of your family in front of your home and more.
My kids had a great time putting together their individual Census Care Package and thinking about what it would be like to hand it over to their adult children and then grandchildren.  As part of this “time capsule” we talked about that the next people to see our census would be in 72 years.  The kids even added to Mark’s suggestions and added a small toy so that their grandchildren could see what types of things they liked to play with. Each child also wrote a letter to his descendants telling them a little about themselves, what grade they are in, what activities they enjoy, and their thoughts. You could take Mark’s idea and ask your children how they want to customize their personal Censes Car Package.

Don’t forget to check out the Census 2010 website section for teachers and students for activities and learning tools for teaching children bout the census. Although the activities are divided by grade, you may find that there are activities across grade levels that would be appropriate for your children.  There are also special sections of the website for children and teens where they can print off activity sheets and learn more about the census. The teacher’s lesson plans have some wonderful information and map activities that would be perfect for teaching geography.

History means more to kids when they can see examples. One way to do this is to take the oldest member of your family, born 72 years ago and show them on a census.  Also, look up famous people that the kids will recognize from their school work or interests.  I showed the kids Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 census.  The fun part about showing that is someone had drawn an arrow pointing to Lincoln on that census sheet, long ago.  It was fun for the kids to speculate why that happened.   Another person I have looked up and shown the kids is Dr. Seuss AKA Theodore Geisel.

However you decide to teach kids about the census, remember to ask them lots of questions and have them speculate about what people in 72 years will think about seeing them on the 2010 Census.


Expo Highlights

Bell Printing
Bell Printing is the printer who helps us print our Expo Syllabi and Schedules.  They have done a great job for us over the years.
Bell Printing and Design is owned and operated by Bell Photographers, Inc. a leader in school photography throughout the Rocky Mountain area for over 50 years.  Bell Printing produces yearbooks for the school photography company and is one of the leading commercial printers in the northern Utah area.

In 2007, Bell Printing acquired its most state of the art digital printing press, an  HP Indigo 5000, allowing them to print as few as a single book at reasonable prices.  They offer binding options including saddle stitching, coil, perfect, and hard case binding.  Contact Dan Thomson at 801-920-1762 or for information and pricing for your family history or any other publication.  Bell Printing has been the sole outside provider of printing for Family History Expos since our inception.  Let them become your print provider as well.


Tech Tip

Genealogical Research Process Chart

Researching and finding ancestors can be addictive but too often in the excitement of finding information we can forget about the process that needs to happen in order to do research that includes finding and analyzing evidence.

Mark Tucker, an Expo speaker, has taken the concept of the genealogical research process, concepts written about by Elizabeth Shown Mills and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and put it into an easy to understand chart that you can print off and use for reference.

You can read more about the Chart and see a video about the Genealogical Research Process at Mark’s Blog, Think Genealogy .


Timelines are important to visualize where and what your ancestor was doing at a particular time.  They are also great for helping you see what gaps in documentation you may have and what records you should search for.

Most genealogy software programs have a timeline feature to them.  So you can use the same software that holds all of your genealogical data, to make a timeline.  You can also use an online timeline program to make a timeline that is more interactive.  One example is the website TimeGlider .  This free membership site allows you to create timelines using the Flash (Adobe) platform.  You can create timelines and have other family members help to add to the information.  There is an upgraded membership that you can also pay for that provides you with more features than the free trail version.
TimeGlider has this to say about using their timeline for genealogists, “…Conducting research in libraries, at home, records offices and in all manner of other locations it would be helpful to have a tool that allowed you to record vital facts and findings where ever you are working.”

“TimeGlider is a free web-based timeline application. It represents an entirely new, yet completely intuitive, way of visualizing historical information. An axis of time runs across the screen, around which you create, import and categorize events. It requires no specialist software and can be accessed on any machine with a web browser. TimeGlider also makes sharing and collaborating on your research with family and friends simple.”


Janie’s Jenealogy Joke of the Month

Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.

(From Family Tree Quotes)

Do you have a genealogy joke to share?  Email Janie at

Upcoming Events

For more information, please see the Expos tab on our website .
June 25-26,2010. Colorado Family History Expo
July 30-31, 2010. Midwest Family History Expo
August 27-28, 2010. Salt Lake Family History Expo
October 8-9, 2010. California Family History Expo
October 25-30, 2010. Family History Library Research Retreat
November 12-13, 2010. Atlanta Family History Expo

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Main Office: 801-829-3295

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