Tag Archives: Census records

Leo Francis Bowman, great uncle, was destroyed by PTSD after serving in WWI

Great uncle Leo, Dad’s uncle, served in WWI. He was a sweet-faced high school kid here:

Fighting in WWI destroyed him. After he came home, every loud noise sent him into a panic, and he would jump up from whereever he was and run into the woods. Eventually he was confined to the VA hospital:

How many young men were destroyed by WWI?

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Census, History, War


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An interesting discovery in the 1900 census

Having practiced quite a bit of genealogy, I have found multiple relatives through oral family history, WWII draft cards, and census records. I was even lucky enough to find transcription of the marriage certificate for my great great grandparents on my Dad’s maternal side (still have to go to the family history library and order the microfilm). I also have quite a bit of experience with indexing records for and have been noticing occupations on census records more and more. So, I decided to look at the census records for the family members I found long ago, before I knew anything really about genealogy. I was just happy back then to trace back to a name.

I went back to the census records I verified earlier, but didn’t look at too closely. I found my great great grandmother had an occupation other than “keeping house” – seen on most census records.


My great great grandmother Mary Jane was a midwife! Pretty amazing!

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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Census, domentation


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Indexing historical records

Now that I have recovered from the inevitable post-semester exhaustion, I hope to post more information to this blog.

I have been very fortunate that I have been able to index (transcribe) records for Family Search. As of right now, my statistics there are 2693 names and information transcribed. I started this as a way to give back to the genealogical community. Now, I have also found out that I am learning a lot as well. Below are some projects I have been able to work on and my observations.

1940s Draft cards for the state of Texas for men born before 1897 – For the most part, I have transcribed first name, middle name, last name, town, county, state, birthdate. This became very routine until two occurrences – 1. I got a card with a giant ink blot in the center yet I was able to blow up the image and still see the name of the person under the ink, and 2. I once downloaded a batch that also showed the other side of the card where height, weight, and vital statistics were recorded.

Census records from 1910 – these are the most interesting and also the most difficult records to index. They run the gamut from very neat and easy to read to very sloppy and nearly impossible to read. They also contain many foreign names that are hard to identify (fortunately there is a help box that can help with some names, but doesn’t always help). One interesting finding on a recent census form was comprised entirely of Jewish, Irish, and Black (not all originating in Africa, some from islands) people. I wondered, was this a slum? I know from many history lessons that the Irish were considered lower beings. I’m sure that, unfortunately, Black people were considered lower beings. Were Jewish people also looked at this way? Indexing records make me want to learn so much more about history and what our forefathers had to bear. One other interesting thing is that the record for each person gives, not only the place of birth of the person, but also the place of birth for that person’s parents.

Finally, the most important thing is that indexing reminds me that those who index historical records are human, as were the census takers. What this means to all of us who are involved in genealogical research is, even when you find transcribed information for an individual, be sure to look at the actual record yourself – you may be surprised at what you see there.

Indexing is very addictive as I watch my stats climb. But also, I feel like I’m doing something good for someone who will, in the future, be searching for the ancestors whose names I am transcribing.


Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Census


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Object Analysis

The following is a visual representation of my object analysis of the 1930 census form that contains my Dad as a six-year-old boy:


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Posted by on April 5, 2010 in Census, Object analysis


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The object I chose for document analysis

Other than sharing question categories, the census documents from the present bear little resemblance to the past. There are a few differences:

  • In the past, the census was recorded by hand by census takers who walked from house-to-house and continuously recorded information to the same form until the page was filled
  • The census forms that we receive in our mailbox is an individual household form that is not really comparable to the original census
  • Unless we have a copy of the form that is to be used for house-to-house census taking, for those who don’t fill out and mail their form in, we have no basis for comparison between the census of the distant past and the present day census

For the reasons cited above, I plan to analyse a census form from the 1930 census. below is an example page:

Form printed from



Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Census



An exciting discovery

No, I didn’t discover an ancestor – I wish. I’m just starting out and don’t know much right now about my family history. I discovered this site with a Statistical Atlas of the United States: 1870  with data from the 9th Census of the United States 1870 complete with maps that show population. This appeared on Radical Cartography. When you look closely at the maps and their keys, you can see just how many (or how few) people lived in areas of the United States back in 1870. Always a history lover, I was completely amazed by the maps on the site.

Wander the pages here and be amazed!

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Posted by on March 23, 2010 in Census



Tried something different

I thought it might be interesting to try to do a video blog – or vlog – for this week’s reading response as well as a short recap of my recent research findings. Unfortunately the video is slightly longer than I intended – YouTube recommends 3 minutes or less. My video is 5 1/2 minutes long, but it includes a reading response as well as an update on my research. One observation: newscasters must practice in front of a camera a lot in order look as natural as they do. Doing this video has given me a new respect for vloggers who do it well. Hopefully with practice, I’ll improve.


Posted by on March 21, 2010 in Reading response, research


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Found …

I found my great grandparents on my father’s mother’s side in the 1930 census – after a very prolonged search:

After searching for a few hours I found Martin and Bridget on the 1930 Census - note: though the search page says "8 matches in 4 items" - there was only one that with the Martin/Bridget combination (my great grandparents)

then I accessed the page and found the full 1930 census page 3b:

The 1930 census page where the Bowman ancestors were found - the thing that's interesting is Martin Bowman and his parents were all born in Massachusetts (I already knew that Bridget was born in Ireland, which is stated here on the census page)

I found this information during a short free period on I am convinced that there are other free sources of information that I should be able to access. Genealogy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. That may be something I might focus on in my research.


Posted by on March 18, 2010 in Census, web sites


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