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Your Guide to the Federal Census Paperback – March 25, 2002

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About the Author

Kathleen W. Hinckley is a Certified Genealogical Records Specialist, Executive Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and trustee for the Board of Certification of Genealogists. She is a regular columnist for, and author of Locating Lost Family Members & Friends. She lives in Arvada, Colorado.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Betterway Books (March 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558705880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558705883
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,044,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Linda Kleback on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful reference book for any genealogist to have in their home library. Most researchers working on American families depend on the federal census as a basic tool in constructing their family groups. Knowing where to find the records, what information they can give you, and how to use them to your best advantage are all covered in this wonderful book.
Each federal census had its unique points. Different questions were asked in different years. Native Americans were listed in various ways. Some censuses asked for information on military service. It is also valuable to know why censuses were conducted and how our ancestors viewed them. Did you know that, in 1790, anyone who refused to answer the census questions was fined $20.00? That was hefty sum then. The money collected was divided between the census enumerator and government! This book has lots of facts like that which help us understand how the census and our families interacted.
As is true of all books published by Betterway Books, the volume is full of clear illustrations of documents. There are also many examples and case studies that illustrate facets of the census and also give some humorous examples taken from actual records.
Everyone doing American genealogy will find this book invaluable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Kathy Hinckley has built an enviable reputation not only for professionalism in the field of genealogy and for her writing and lecturing skills, but for her expertise in original sources, especially of the 20th century. The U.S. census was the first place most of us were directed to when we began researching our families, and most folks probably believe they have nothing more to learn about the subject. Not so! In fact, it would repay any experienced genealogist, as well as the near novice, to spend some time with this first-rate guide, refreshing one's knowledge and adding to it. The book is organized in straightforward fashion: Three sections provide an introduction to and general history of the federal census (what it is and why it exists), how and where to find census records and indexes to them, and how to actually make use of what you see. The first two sections will be most useful to beginners; I've assigned them as basic reading, in fact, in continuing education classes I've taught. (It may also be useful to experienced researchers to be reminded of the existence of all the other census schedules in addition to the one for population.) The third section, though, "Using the Census," is where we get into the thick of it. When you begin cranking that microfilm, do you have an actual, thought-out research strategy in mind? If you're accessing online images of census pages at Ancestry, is it even in the back of your mind that you should plan, at some point, to read through the whole county anyway -- or at least the rest of the township? (Yes, you definitely should.) If your research involves black or American Indian families, or Catholic nuns, or prisoners, or active members of the military, then there's a good deal of specialized knowledge you need to acquire.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn C. Rowe on March 9, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book was published several years ago, the information in it is timeless. Ms. Hinckley has done a masterful job of identifying unique and little known ways to mine the census for valuable data. Her writing style is straightforward and easy to understand. Using the search strategies that she suggests has helped me find people that I had been looking for a long time; but could not find. Any serious family historian should have this book in his/her genealogy collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Freda Cunningham on February 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have not had time to use yet but it is one resource recommended as a priority in building a personal home genealogy research library. Even though it was listed as used, it is in mint condition. Will recommend in my Genealogy organization for others to consider using this source for purchase.
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