Missing Census Research Recommendation

Posted June 9, 2006 11:57pm

c24m48 writes...

I have a person who was born in 1849 and died in 1905. I have located the census entries for the person in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. I have not yet looked for the census entry for the person in 1900. There is no recommendation from GenSmarts to search the 1900 census (I subscribe to ancestry.com, so such a search is relatively easy). I wonder why not?

In case it matters, I have the burial location for the person. That's how I know the date of death, from the tombstone. However, I do not know for sure the place of death, because the place of death may not be the same as the place of burial.

Jerry Bryan

On 2006-06-10 6:13pm GenSmarts replied...

You only get a census suggestion if GenSmarts believes the person is alive, was a head of household, in location that had a census and that GenSmarts knows exists in some specific research center/website, and doesn't already have a census event/tag in your file for the year in question. Look at the "background" paragraph GenSmarts gives you for this person in the My Genealogy File tab, and post it here if you can't figure it out. Also look at the chronology in the detailed "PERSON" report of this person for clues. Also keep in mind GenSmarts does not import burial dates or places.

On 2006-09-10 2:59pm c24m48 added...

Just an idea: ancestry.com now has all names indexes available for all censuses from 1850 to 1930. Therefore, it might be useful to provide an option to provide a census suggestion even if Gensmarts does not believe the person was head of household. (As recently as a year or two ago, most indexes were head of household only.)

Jerry Bryan

On 2006-09-10 5:38pm GenSmarts replied...

Seems like this would quadruple the number of census suggestions with near redundant suggestions... that doesn't sound like it would be a very popular option.

A better way of handling it would be thinking of it as just additional search criteria - variations on the name. Currently, the way additional search criteria is handled is via SmartLink. In this example, you'd search using SmartLink (rather than a SmartMatch) and change the given name you're searching for to any of the other family members. In the future, when we get around to providing more conveniences for additional search criteria, this would be just one more optional search item that could be afforded.

Another example in the same spirit would be the alternate spellings of the surname GenSmarts has. Would you want additional suggestions for each of those spellings? No... but it would be nice if there was an automated way of searching for all the variations.

On 2006-09-12 12:43am c24m48 added...

Using RootsMagic, there are two different kinds of census facts -- census facts for individuals and census facts for families. RootsMagic would allow you to record census information both ways for the same family, but I suspect that most researchers choose one way or the other and don't do both. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

If a researcher chooses to record census facts for families in RootsMagic, then basing GenSmarts census recommendations on heads of household makes sense. If a researcher chooses to record census facts for individuals in RootsMagic, then basing GenSmarts census recommendations on each person irrespective of their head of household status makes sense. That's why I was suggesting an option.

I have chosen to record census facts for individuals in RootsMagic. The primary advantage is that I like the way it makes reports look. The primary disadvantage is that it's a lot more work. I have chosen to accept the extra work as the cost of getting better looking reports. But that means that I cannot really use GenSmarts to manage my to do lists for recording census data into RootsMagic.

Also, in a certain sense, generating census recommendations without regard to head of household wouldn't have to generate all that many more suggestions. The reason is that upon locating a family in the census, I record the census data for each individual in the family at the same time. GenSmarts will discover all these census entries at Open time (or at Refresh/Reopen time) and will therefore not display any of the possible suggestions for any of the individuals because the census entries already exist.

Jerry Bryan

Tags:  RootsMagic  Ancestry.com  

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