Posts Tagged ‘Census Records’

As most U.S. genealogists already know, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census every ten years. The 2010 census will be conducted by mail over the next few weeks. However, be cautious when you receive an envelope that is marked, “Do Not Destroy, Official Document” and also states “2010 Congressional District Census,” the letter uses a capital “C,” the same as the Census Bureau.

It wasn’t sent by the Census Bureau, and it isn’t official. It is a solicitation for you to send money to a political party.

The letter that looks like an official government mailing was, in fact, sent by the Republican Party which is seeking input and money from GOP voters – seemingly under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country,” GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide.

As described above, the letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked “Do Not Destroy, Official Document.” Labeled “2010 Congressional District Census,” the letter uses a capital “C,” the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a “Census Tracking Code.”

The letter makes a plea for money and accompanies a form asking voters to identify their political leanings and issues important to them. There are no disclaimers that participation in the GOP effort is voluntary; participation in the government census is required by law. Failure to participate in the government census carries a $5,000 fine, though it is rarely enforced.

You can read many online articles about this trick mailing if you start at http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=census+letter+republican&aq=f&aqi=&oq=.

[This is a reprint of a March 4, 2010 article from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter blog, and is published here with permission.  The newsletter is free, so why not give it a try at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/.]

© 2010 Copyright, Norman R. Brown


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There has been an agreement entered into by the Census Bureau and the National Archives to discard all 2010 census forms after archiving statistical data.

What does this mean to genealogists and family historians like us 72 years from now?

They  will have absolutely nothing to retrieve about us, their ancestors from today!

This was previously instigated for the 2000 census, as well, but a January 1999 Supreme Court ruling forced the Census Bureau to redesign data collection by prohibiting the use of sampling. Responding to an inquiry from Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-California) of the Census Oversight Committee, the Census Bureau and the National Archives reconsidered their decision and, consequently, images of all 2000 census forms were copied onto microfilm.

The Census Bureau and the National Archives once again plan on making data files of the 2010 Census rather than capturing images of the census forms themselves. Data Killers, a shredding and degaussing company, has a one-year contract to destroy on-site Census Bureau data.

Millions of Americans could not have used the 1880 census to prove their ages and qualify for Social Security if earlier officials had been so short-sighted. What if a future prospective citizen must prove he or she was in the United States in 2010? Who knows what crucial uses this information can provide?  If, in 72 years, you would like your descendants to be able to see your census form, act now or it will not happen!

You could even write your message on the Census form itself.

Congress can persuade these agencies to reconsider,  just as they did with the 2000 Census.  Send letters supporting the copying of the 2010 census forms to:

Rep. Ed Towns
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Darrell Issa
Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
B-350 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C, 20515

Senator Tom Carper
Chairman, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
432 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator John McCain
Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government information, Federal Services, and International Security
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

You can also address your concerns to:

Adrienne Thomas
Acting Archivist
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20741-6001

Thomas Messenbourg
Acting Director
U. S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, D.C. 20233

© 2010 Copyright, Norman R. Brown


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For those family members who have never done genealogical research, I’d like to touch on a few of the records our ancestors leave behind.

For this purpose I have chosen my 2nd Cousin, once removed, Norton J. Nellis, son of John Nellis and Leula Springstead.

For men who were of draft age during any of the U.S. Wars, there are draft registration records.

This is the World War II Registration record of Norton J. Nellis which, as you can see, gives us important information about him which will be helpful in our further research

[Because of the smallness of the images, I am unable to show them in full size so I have added the URL address below each image in case you would like to see each record in more detail.]

World War II Draft Registration Record


If you are lucky and your ancestor has traveled abroad, then there are U.S. Passport applications.   As you can see, they are not always readable, but we do the best we can with what we find.  There is even a partial picture of Norton on the left page.  With just a cursory look, it also appears that the signature is written by the same person in the Registration record and this U.S. Passport application.
U.S. Passport Application


And then, of course, there are the U.S. Census records, which I always delight in finding because they give us a plethora of information not only about the person we are researching but about the family make-up and relationships; where they, and their parents in some instances, were born; their age; the value of property they own or if they are renting; their street address, occupation; etc.

Here you will find little Norton on Line 15 at age three, living with his parents, John and Lulu Nellis at 380 7th Avenue in Brooklyn.  His father was employed as a bartender.

1900 U.S. Census
On line 30 of the 1910 Census Norton is now 13, the Nellis family is residing at 424 Tenth Street, another person has been added to the family, brother Frank, and Norton’s father is now working in the liquor business, which seems like a logical evolution from being a bartender.
1910 U.S. Census


In 1920 the Nellis family is still residing at 424 Tenth Street, there are no new family additions but this time we discover that Norton’s name is listed as “John, Jr.” because his age is listed as 23 and his earlier Draft Registration Record listed his name as “John Norton Nellis.”  Norton’s father shows his employment as being the proprietor of a hotel.  He seems to be doing well in his life’s work.

1920 U.S. Census


Then in the 1930 Census we find 33 year-old Norton on Line 33 with his wife Alice, residing at 312 Sixteenth Street in Brooklyn, employed as a chauffeur for a furniture company.  Apparently it is an apartment complex as there are other families residing at the same address.

1930 U.S. Census


And, lastly, the Social Security Death Index:
Social Security Death Index About John Nellis

Name: John Nellis
SSN: 050-01-1389
Last Residence: 11701  Amityville, Suffolk, New York, United States of America
Born: 31 Jul 1896
Last Benefit: 11701  Amityville, Suffolk, New York, United States of America
Died: Mar 1979
State (Year) SSN issued: New York (Before 1951)


Please note how the spelling of names change from document to document.  That will give you an idea of how researchers must use good judgment as they read and interpret the documents each of our ancestors left in their trail.

For this time, that’s about it in a nutshell as to some of the records we look for in researching our ancestors, depending upon where they fit in with the overall picture of the entire world history.

There are other records, of course, church records; cemetery records; birth and death records; and on and on.  We, as family researchers just have to find them and fill in the pieces of the puzzle.  They are all there, we just have to find them.  Putting each of them in their proper place makes up our colorful and inspiring family history.

Hopefully, next time I’ll have a nice personal biography of one of our magnificent ancestors to share with you.

Does anyone have any suggestions for ideas you would like to have me cover, a particular person or place?  I’ll be most happy to do what I can to fulfill your request.

I also invite anyone who might like to be a guest blogger to post a blog about any branch of our family tree or, in particular, about YOUR family.  You just have to send an e-mail with your post to post@posterous.com, using the Subject line as the heading of the post.



© 2010 Copyright, Norman R. Brown

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