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Free census guide

One of the wonderful things about the genealogical community is its commitment to sharing: information; tips; knowledge; the joy of discovery; even the pain of loss. It’s like another family to wrap around our own families, and especially at this time of year it’s a joy to be part of it.

And, today, The Legal Genealogist wants to clue you in to a marvelous piece of work that’s being shared, free, by a member of our community, Michael Hait.

Michael is a friend and a colleague, a certified genealogist who specializes in Maryland and African American research, a talented researcher and writer.

And he’s just produced a free online guide called the United States Federal Census Pathfinder.

He describes the downloadable PDF publication this way:

This guide will direct you to online information concerning the U. S. Federal Census, including links to the manuscript and microfilm copies, digital images, authorizing acts of Congress, enumeration instructions, statistical compendia, maps, and much more. These resources will allow genealogists and historians to best utilize the U. S. Census in their research.

It’s a wonderful piece of work, starting with an inventory of general information resources ranging from census forms to full explanations of each of the census years and the data collected, and then proceeding census by census from 1790 through 1940 with individual resources for understanding and getting the most out of each set of census records.

For each individual census, Michael provides links to the statute authorizing the census, where to find manuscript copies and digital images, explanations of what the census takers were told and statistical reports that help us all better understand the information uncovered in the census. He provides links to information about some lesser-known census schedules as well, such as the 1820 manufacturing census and the 1930 census of merchant seamen, and to maps and other tools useful to genealogists.

It’s not by itself a how-to guide — it’s a resource guide. But using the resources provides the how-to, and gives us all a better chance of getting every bit of goody out of the census records that’s there to be gotten. So download the United States Federal Census Pathfinder today, and make it part of your census toolbox.

Nicely done, Michael! Thank you!

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