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Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Census information has wealth of information for genealogy buffs

Friday, December 28, 2012

Susan Doak

SW Nebraska Genealogy Society

Genealogy quite obviously isn't for everyone. At a meeting the other day, one of the participants commented on my articles and I asked if there was anyone she might like to have me research for her. Her reply echoes many others I have gotten: "No thanks, I think we will leave those skeletons in the closet." Hence my work on families from the area is a slow process due to the fact that not everyone wants to know what great- great grandpa was up to in 1910. Some families seem to disappear as had one that I was working on. In the 1890s, they were living in Nebraska, married, raising children and then suddenly they were gone! I only today figured out what had happened. The father had died and the mother had returned to her family in Michigan with the children. Because the mother spoke only German, in the 1910 census the translation of their name by the enumerator changed the spelling so distinctly that it had an entirely different meaning. I am still trying to confirm this information since not all of the children appear to be with the mother, but it is at least a beginning.

The 1910 census is a wealth of information. I always get excited when I finally find someone and uncover all the additional information. In 1910 under personal information it has the standard birth and marital status info, but it also asks the mothers how many children they have born live, and how many are still living as of April 15, 1910. If you have followed a family and felt that you have "lost" some of the children, check this census to see if some of them had died. Again, this census asks for a person's color but doesn't really have a discerning way to indicate Native American yet and of course it asks where each person was born and then where each of their parents were born.

In the citizenship area of the 1910 census, it has a box for the year immigrated to United States and then another for whether the person counted is naturalized or alien, plus the questionnaire asks if the person speaks English and if not, what language is spoken. If you follow on down the form, it also asks if the person counted can read or write and if they attended school in 1909.

Under occupation, this census asks more questions than ever before: What do you do, who do you do it for, are you employed as of April 15, 1910 (if you work for someone other than yourself) and if you weren't working in 1909, how many weeks did you not work.

This census also gathers information concerning your home ownership and any blindness or inability to speak or hear. You get quite a snapshot of what each family is all about with a one page sheet. Not all censuses are this thorough.

In January, SW Nebraska Genealogy Society is going to be providing lessons on using the family tree program, LegacyFamilyTree, which is a free, downloadable program quite popular with those who use it.

Tom Corey will be teaching this beginning class and the first session is Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. at the genealogy library, 110 West C Street, Suite M-3 in McCook. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptop or tablet so that they can work on the program as the lessons unfold.

This will be a three part course with no charge to Society members. (If you are not a member, membership is $20 year which includes access to the SWNGS web site, a bargain in anyone's book). Contact us at: sherriedack@yahoo.com or sdoak@swnebr.net or for more information or to make a reservation. The SWNGS genealogy library is handicap accessible by elevator inside the front door of the Merit Building.


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