Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Census reports

This past weekend I spent a number of hours on the computer doing a bit of research through our local library.  It gave me free access to census reports.  A cousin contacted me recently with information on one of my family lines.  We shared information and I was looking for more. 
I started looking for the earliest member I have for this line and could not find him.  This is made more difficult because there are several ways his name could be listed.  He emigrated from Germany so we have the German version of his name.  Then we also have the American version of his name with two different spellings. 

Of course we can’t have it be simple either because there are also several family members with the same name so when looking at the records I have to make sure I’m not filling in information for the wrong person. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing the research.  It was very exciting to add family members that I didn’t have any information on.  Starting with the information the cousin gave me I was able to add the names of all the man’s children. 

Flipping over to the census reports I was able to find spouse and children names.  It took some doing as I had to search under both versions of the last name.  However, I did find a few of the sons of the one ancestor I was looking for.  I was able to add names, approximate birthdates and a few other bits of information. 

I was completely enjoying myself until my computer decided to go wonky on me.  I shut down and didn’t get back to it.  The plan is to get back to it in the next few days (hopefully before school starts) to see if I can glean any additional information.  I did narrow down the time frame on one of the issues. 

At some point in history the family name changed spelling.  It is a small detail but makes a huge impact as I am doing research.  No one has been able to give me a concrete reason why or documentation.  However, I have a family story (isn’t there always?).  I was able through the census reports to discover the decade in which the name change occurred.  This might be able to help me narrow it down so I can track down when and maybe even why the name changed.

It is a never ending list of tasks when it comes to the genealogy.  I enjoy the challenge and the task of tracking down as much information on a person as I can.  I just wish I had more time and money to spend on it.

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