Posted in Census, Non-population schedules, Research tips

Looking for Easy Access to Federal Non-Population Census Schedules?

As genealogists we all use the federal population schedules (you know…the censuses).  They are one of the most reliable tools in our research toolboxes when searching for ancestors in the United States—the hammers and duct tape of genealogy.

What are non-population schedules?

But what about those non-population schedules–you know (or maybe you are hearing this for the first time), the schedules for manufacturing, agriculture, mortality, and what were called “defective, dependent, and delinquent” classes.  Maybe they are the 1/4″ socket wrench in your toolbox that doesn’t get used much, or maybe they don’t get used at all because you don’t know where to find them.  (For a thorough discussion of non-population schedules see this article and links on the National Archives website.)

Well, maybe an agricultural schedule won’t give you the names of an entire household or your ancestor’s birthplace or date of immigration, but who wouldn’t like to know the value of their ancestor’s farm and farming implements, what crops they grew, and what kind of livestock they raised?

We can use these non-population schedules to inform us in the absence of land and tax records and for help in distinguishing between two people of the same name.  Other non-population schedules provided valuable health and sociological data.  The 1850 and 1860 agriculture schedules are also useful for those researching enslaved ancestors.

Here’s a snippit of the 1860 Agriculture Schedule for San Saba County, Texas, and the first two individuals on the page are my second and third great-grandfathers–Thomas Gooch and his father-in-law William Jennings.  The third individual is Thomas’s brother-in-law Strampkey Jennings.

Agriculture Schedule for San Saba TX 1860

How do we find them?  (The easy way!)

So how do we find these non-population schedules?  The easiest way I know is to access tables in the FamilySearch Wiki which have links to online images and indexes for each state.  Here’s what the table for California looks like, and a link to the page if you want to access the live links.

Non-population schedules for California on FS

In the FamilySearch Wiki these tables exist for every state.  Just enter the search terms     “[State] census” and scroll down the results until you see the table.

The table contains links to images at Ancestry and FamilySearch.  Pay attention to the different columns; if you have a personal Ancestry account use the “Ancestry Home” column, but if you are accessing it from a Family History Center or a library that has the institution version of Ancestry click on one of those columns for free access. FamilySearch has limited availability, but it is free.


Posted in Familysearch, Research tips

New Useful Tool on FamilySearch You Will Love


“Various Tools” photo by George Tsartsianidis on Getty Images

I just discovered a new tool on Family Search Family Tree that is soooo helpful.  I don’t know how long it has been on the site, but they are adding new things all the time so maybe it hasn’t been long, or I just haven’t noticed it.  But  it is something that allows you to take all the information that has been indexed from a record, copy it to your clipboard, and paste it in whatever word processor or genealogy program you want, all nicely formatted and with a complete source citation.

Wow, if I had had this years ago it would have saved me a ton of time!

Here is how to access this new tool:

1. Open a person’s page in the FamilySearch Family Tree. Click on FamilySearch on the right side of the page in the “Search Records” area.  This will tell FamilySearch to search for records which match this person in its vast database.

2.  When you see a record that looks like a match in the search results list, click on the document icon to bring up an abstract and possibly an image of the record. (If you see a camera icon you know there will be an image available.)

3.  When the record abstract comes up, click on the “Tools” box.

4.  Under the “Tools” drop down menu click on “Copy to Clipboard”.

5.  Open up a word processor or the notes area of your genealogy program and “Paste”. An abstract of the record, complete with source citation will appear in your document or program!

Keep in mind this only works with records found in the FamilySearch database, and not the other websites linked to the “Search Records” box, but you can experiment with copying and pasting directly from records on Ancestry, Find My Past, and MyHeritage.

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Research tips

RootsTech 2018 – And You Are [Not] There

I was not invited to Prom in 1975.  Not that I am bitter.  But have you ever felt left out?  Sometimes I feel that way when RootsTech rolls around. It’s like Prom for 20,000 genealogists, minus the disco ball and awkward photos (it was the 70s, ya know!)

It seems like everyone is going, and maybe you wish you could be there but it’s not happening for one reason or another.  I hear your *sigh* and want you to know I’m here for you.  There’s no need to feel like everyone else but you is going to the party. I’m not bitter.  In fact, I’m kinda excited, because RootsTech has made it possible for all of us to join in the fun!  Here is a link to their online streaming schedule so once a day you can put on your tuxedo or ball gown, settle in to a comfortable armchair, and soak up the RootsTech vibes. Continue reading “RootsTech 2018 – And You Are [Not] There”

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Research tips

SLIG 2018: Need to change up your lunch options?

After five days at SLIG you might want to add some variety to your life by trying out a new lunch spot. Did you know there are some great little places within a block and a half of the Hilton? Just head east on Broadway (300 S.) and cross Main Street to find a cluster of eateries you might not know about. Some I have tried, and some come highly recommended by my son, who worked a few blocks away for ten years. On Main Street you will find J-Dawgs for amazing and cheap hot dogs. Continue reading “SLIG 2018: Need to change up your lunch options?”

Posted in Archives and Libraries, National Archives, Research tips

Learn more about NARA records at “The Twelve Key” blog


I just came across an excellent blog for any of you who are interested in U.S. National Archives records, and wanted to share a link to it.  It is called The Twelve Key, by Claire Prechtel Kluskens, who is a senior reference and projects archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, DC.

In my first visit to her blog I learned about the carded medical records for Mexican War volunteers in a link to an article she wrote about it for NGS Magazine in 2014, and I was able to order my great-great grandfather’s medical record from the Mexican War.  According to his pension file, which I obtained years ago, he had been hospitalized when he lost a finger “in a charge made by lancers” at the Battle of Buena Vista.  I am very interested to see his medical record!  I’ll post it here when I receive it.

The Twelve Key website has links to Kluskens’ extensive historical and genealogical publications, as well as research guides she has produced for the National Archives, and syllabus materials for lectures.  You are going to love this website!