From the Ancestry Daily News
Ready to Try 1870The ongoing release of the every-name 1870 census index at Ancestry.com has sent me back to some dormant brick walls in my own research. I'm particularly interested in those families that I had put on the back burner because I had no real idea of where they were living in 1870. A manual search of three or four states is not always practical when other families are not quite so difficult to research. This ongoing release of the 1870 every name index has caused me to dig out some old material, re-analyze it, and decide the best way to search these new indexes in an attempt to make some connections.
Although it is tempting (and occasionally successful), randomly typing in names
is not generally an effective research procedure. Tracking what is done as it
is done is extremely important. This prevents repeatedly researching the same
names in the same fashion over and over in the same database. Many times, the
overlooked research method is the successful one.
This week, we'll look at two 1870 brick walls in my own research. In the first
case, nothing is really known of the family pre-1880. In the second case, despite
a significant amount of information there is a gap in the person's life from
1869 to 1874.
Searching for Ira
Two searches will be conducted, one for the first name of Ira and another for
the first name of William. I will leave the Soundex option turned on to catch
most of the spelling variants. To catch a capital "S" read as an "L,"
I will search for the surname Largent as well. I will not enter an age in the
search box when searching for Ira, as his year of birth is speculative. Additionally,
ages in census enumerations are notoriously incorrect as well, especially in
pre-1900 census records. Nor will I enter the location in the birthplace box
unless the number of results with it left blank is too large to manually view.
Generally speaking, the fewer search boxes filled the more likely I am to find
the desired entry.
Searching for Ellen
First names: Florence Ellen, Ellen, or Ella
I will have to enter several separate searches for this individual. Most likely,
I will search census indexes for Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa separately, starting
with the following searches:
First name: Ellen
This will require four separate searches for each state (Florence Butler, Ellen
Butler, Florence Butter and Ellen Butter). The Soundex option will be turned
"on," but searches for Butler and Butter must be conducted separately
as these are not Soundex equivalent surnames. I will leave the place of birth
blank unless the number of results is too large to view manually.
Name: John, Johann, or possibly Jan(n).
There are some additional items that may help in the search for John. While
John's surname is Ufkes, his full name was actually Johann Frederichs Hinrichs
Ufkes. Johann is another of my ancestors from Ostfriesland, Germany, where last
names and patronymics occasionally present research challenges. The middle names
for Johann are occasionally confused by English speakers as surnames and may
explain why he has not been located in 1870. Another Ostfriesen ancestor Hinrich
Jacobs Fecht is enumerated in the 1870 census as Henry Jacobs, without the surname
of Fecht. The entry was confirmed as Henry by comparing names and ages of other
Johann's possible 1870 enumerations include the following:
Compound this with the potential first name enumerations of Jann, Johann, or
John, and I have my work cut out for me. In all of these cases, I will have
the Soundex option turned on and will search only those specific areas where
Johann is thought to have resided.
If I cannot find John using one of these combinations, I will also look for
John's sister and brother-in-law, Christina and Roolf Habben, who were living
in the United States in 1870 and with whom Johann lived in 1869. It is possible
that John is enumerated with them in 1870 or living nearby. Unfortunately they
have not been located in 1870 either. In this case, searching for all three
individuals may be the answer to my question.
Revisit the 1880 Census
While I can't wait for the every name 1870 census index to be released for
the areas I am researching, I shouldn't wait for the index to be posted to begin
thinking about my search procedures. It is never too early to get ready.
Editor's Note: The Ancestry.com exclusive every-name index to the 1870 U.S.
Federal Census is currently available for the following states:
U.S. Census subscribers can search these states or browse
all remaining states.