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Published on Mar 6, 2019
Here is today’s genealogy tip… What Do You Do if You Can’t Find Your Ancestor in the Census Records?
While some people were overlooked in certain census records because they were moving and in between residences (such as people migrating west), they weren’t home, the person giving the information forgot to include them (or deliberately did not), or were genuinely trying to hide from census takers, the vast majority of people who seem “lost” in any given census year are actually there. You just may have to employ some creative searching methods to find them. If the person had a hard-to-pronounce or unusual last name, the census taker may have made a “best guess” as to what the name was and how to spell it, especially if the person giving the information couldn’t read or write. The person transcribing census records for indexes may not have been able to read the census taker’s handwriting and mis-transcribed your ancestor. You can often find the person you’re looking for by searching their neighborhood manually. If you are using digital census records, you can search by first name and age only, place of birth only, gender only or do wildcard searches for the last name (where certain letters can be anything). Or, you can use any combination of these methods to find your ancestor.