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Family History


Genealogy & Family History. To construct a family tree you need many resources. Family ... Look for elders living with the family. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Family History

Family History Government Documents
Women 490, Politics of Genealogy April 7,
2008 Cass Hartnett Marika
What Well Cover
  • Part IGovernment Documents You!
  • Part II
  • Getting Started with Genealogy/ Family History
  • Census, Census, Census!
  • Vital records
  • General Land Office (GLO)
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
  • Military records
  • Land records
  • Resources for further exploration

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Government Documents Assignment for WOMEN490
  • Select two
  • Three primary documents of your own life
  • Locate two government document from local, state,
    or federal levels be prepared to answer lots of
  • Locate one page from a 19th-century U.S. census
    report, and compare it to a similar page from a
    20th-century census report

Some examples
  • Drivers license (state-issued)
  • Bus map (local/regional transit authority)
  • Property Valuation statement
  • Pierce County property valuation
  • Territorial tax record
  • Consumer Health brochures
  • She Looked Clean, But
  • http//
  • Military benefits brochures

Part II Genealogy Family History
To construct a family tree you need many
Beginning the Search for Family
  • Start with the here-and-now
  • COLLECT mementos
  • (pictures, diaries, letters, scrapbooks, records,
  • ASK family members what they know
  • (make recordings)

Lets see, I believe were supposed to be
related to the Kearneys of Mississippi, but I
dont know how. Belle Kearney was the first
female state senator. --Uncle Jack
State Archivessearch
U.S. Census Manuscripts
Bohme, Frederick G. 1989. 200 years of U.S.
census taking population and housing questions,
1790-1990. Washington, D.C. U.S. Dept. of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
Why Search Census Records?
  • To locate ancestors in place and time
  • To find extended family members
  • To view a community
  • Depending on the census year, you might find
  • birth years, dates
  • state of birth, and birthplaces of parents
  • country of origin
  • whether your ancestors could read/write
  • occupation
  • value of personal possessions/real estate

Never intended as a genealogy resource
What Census Records Are Available?
  • Decennial census taken every 10 years since
  • Released 72 years later
  • Most recent census available 1930 (released in
  • 1890 census mostly burned
  • Many paper copies destroyed after microfilming
    (quality isnt always good)
  • Mortality census
  • Agricultural census
  • Slave Census
  • States may have taken their own census between
    decennial years (varies)

Source Bohme, Frederick G. 1989. 200 years of
U.S. census taking population and housing
questions, 1790-1990. Washington, D.C. U.S.
Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
Female Occupations Listed in Census
  • Keeping House
  • None
  • At home
  • Attending school
  • Teacher
  • Domestic servant
  • Waitress, seamstress, lady du pav

To understand some of the terms on census
manuscripts, find out what census takers were
instructed to report. Measuring
Page 16
Using Statistics to Get the Big Picture
  • As you build a picture of your family, use census
    reports to compare personal circumstances to
    regional or national trends.
  • Example
  • How many women worked as telegraph operators in
    Atlanta in 1920?
  • Hill, Joseph A. Women in Gainful Occupations,
    1870 to 1920. A Study of the Trend of Recent
    Changes in the Numbers, Occupational
    Distribution, and Family Relationship of Women
    Reported in the Census As Following a Gainful
    Occupation. Washington U.S. Govt. Print. Off,
  • GovPub Stacks HA201 1920 .A2 no.9  

Access to Census Manuscripts
  • personal subscription for home access
  • Library Editionavailable only inside the library
  • (SPL and KCLS)
  • HeritageQuest online
  • Available through SPL and KCLS.
  • Can access from home using your library card
  • Microfilm at NARA regional facility (Sand Point)

Search Tips
  • Look for your head of family as a child in
    earlier census
  • Electronic indexing varies by provider
  • Difficult handwriting deciphered by humans
  • Transcription errors
  • Varying coverage
  • Print indexes may provide other entries
  • Search for alternative spellings.
  • Soundex (sounds like) spelling for last names
    wildcards with first and last names ('' replaces
    0 to 6 characters '?' replaces a single
  • Search by last name and limit results by adding
    location or date information.  Families with the
    same last name that are living in the same area
    are often related
  • Search by first name and limit results by adding
    location information.  Sometimes first names are
    more common (and less likely to be misspelled)
    than a last name
  • Read the whole neighborhood

Want to Try?
More Government Records
Finding Maiden Names
  • Using Census Records
  • Look for elders living with the family.
  • Is there an aged parent in the household with a
    different last name?
  • In some census years kinship relationships are
    clearly identified. In others, you have to take
    these names as clues.
  • Look for families with that older persons last
    name in earlier census records.
  • Can you find a young daughter with the same name
    as the mother in the first family group?
  • Do the ages match up? (may be inexact)
  • Confirm your findings through other corroborating

Other Sources for Maiden Names
  • Vital Records
  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • many name the parents of the deceased
  • Marriage records
  • Wills and probate records
  • Court records
  • published transcriptions may be the easiest to
    find and use
  • Cemetery records/tombstone transcriptions
  • Military pension applications

A maiden name in military records
  • Locate entry in index (, for example)
  • For copy of actual record, order from NARA
  • Civil War Pension Application example
  • https//
  • Shows widows maiden name, marriage date, copy
    of marriage certificate, soldiers birthplace and
    birthdate, location at time of enlistment,
    whether there were previous marriages, names and
    birthdates of children, soldiers appearance
  • Rewarding
  • Expensive
  • Time-consuming
  • Free in 5 years

A Quick Online Search for Land Records
  • General Land Office Records
  • http//
  • Particularly handy for homestead records
  • To order full records, go to National Archives
    Records Administration
  • http//

Social Security Death Index
  • Quick easy
  • Connected with filing for death benefits
  • Birth years can extend back to 1875
  • Available through (and some other
  • Provides birth and death year
  • Provides last place of residence
  • Provides actual social security number
  • Can use this info to find obituary and other
    vital records
  • The Social Security application form can provide
    further information
  • Parents names
  • Maiden name
  • Employers name

U.S. Congressional Serial Set
  • Material on immigration records
  • Military records
  • Lists might include widows and orphan children of
  • Registers of personnel
  • Land records
  • Occasional land ownership maps
  • Indian agency personnel
  • Employees of government agencies
  • Private Relief Actions of Congress

How to Use the Serial Set
  • Index
  • 1789 1969
  • Online U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Digital
    Edition (full text, but through 1941 only)
  • Lexis-Nexis Congressional (no full text, useful
    as an index to 1942 - present)
  • Print GovPub Ref Z1223.Z9 C65
  • Print microfiche editions
  • 1789 1969
  • GovPub microfiche (with CIS fiche)
  • 1970 present
  • Print GovPub Stacks U.S. Y 1.1/2 No. 12881-1
    (91st Congress, 2nd session, 1970 --. Library use

For Further Exploration
  • Mug books county histories
  • America, History and Life (UW library database)
  • Newspapers
  • Genealogists at Seattle Public Library, ninth
  • Volunteers, databases, microfilm at NARA regional
  • NARA Web site (excellent finding aids and guides,
    some indexed resources)
  • State archives
  • State vital records offices
  • Family History Library online
  • UW Genealogy page
  • Guide to UW Libraries genealogy sources
  • Cyndis List

Want to Try?
  • Contact us!