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# Wednesday, April 30, 2008
All About Census Enumeration Districts
Posted by Diane

Q. What's an enumeration district?

A. An enumeration district (ED) is an administrative division of a particular county or township for the purposes of census-taking. Each census taker would be assigned one or more EDs, each of which was designated with a number.

At one time, to find your ancestor's census return, you’d have to identify which roll of census microfilm contained the right ED. Now that US censuses have been indexed by name, people don’t have to identify EDs the way they used to.

But you may find EDs handy for a few reasons:
  • If you can’t find a household in records for a database site such as Ancestry.com, you can browse by ED (in Ancestry.com, choose a census year, then scroll below the search box to pick a state, county or township; a ward; then an ED).
  • Enumerators didn't always proceed through their EDs in orderly fashion: Rather than go down one side of the street and up the other, they might cross back and forth or double back to places where no one was home. But you can compare a census return to a map of the corresponding ED to plot the neighborhood and see who lived next to your relatives.
  • When the 1940 census comes out on microfilm in 2012, a name index won’t be available right away—but while you wait, you'll be able to find the records using the ED. Update: Good news! Name indexes may be available immediately after all. Click comments (below) for details.
To identify your ancestor's enumeration district, you’ll need to know the state, city and street name, and possibly a street number. Then, try these tools:
  • Stephen P. Morse’s Web site has an ED finder for the 1910 to 1940 censuses (mostly for urban areas). Scroll down to the census section of his home page to find it. 
Morse’s site also offers a tool for translating among EDs from 1910 through 1940.
  • NARA has put ED descriptions for each census on microfilm. Series A3378 has EDs for the 1900 through 1940 censuses; series T1224 goes back to 1830. Update: Click comments for details on ED microfilm, too.
Learn more about EDs from the USGenWeb’s Census Project page.


census records | genealogy basics
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 1:41:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, April 11, 2008
No Heirs? How To Save Your Genealogy Research From the Dumpster
Posted by Diane

Q. What can someone who has no heirs do with photos, birth certificates and other family heirlooms so they won't be thrown away? Is there any organization they could be donated to?

A. Many libraries, historical and genealogical societies, historical museums and state archives accept donations of family papers, genealogical research and heirlooms.

Consider giving your items to a repository in the area that figures most heavily into your research. The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), for example, seeks family diaries, Bibles and other documents related to New England research.

A local genealogical or historical society may be interested in your pedigree charts, records, photos or published family history. Or look for a museum or library with a collection—say, WWII ephemera or Italian immigrant photographs—that would make a fitting home for your treasures. Once you have a list of potential recipients, call each one to ask about its donation process.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Library in Salt Lake City also accepts materials it considers helpful to researchers. See its online donation guide for information on what the library can use and how to prepare your donation. 


No matter which facility you decide on, make your wishes clear in your will and designate a genealogy buddy to help your executor carry out your desires. You can't expect a repository to take everything you've collected over the decades, so include instructions for that person to weed through your papers to separate what can be pitched from what should stay. Or better yet, get organized now, while you have a say in the matter.
 
A new generation of Web sites gives you another option: Sites including Eternal Star and Story of My Life let you digitize and store photos, records and heirlooms forever. You’ll need to consider whether the material will be readily available to researchers (if that’s what you want) and what happens if the site goes out of business, and you’ll still have the originals to deal with.

For more tips on donating your research, see the Society of American Archivists' guide and Katherine Scott Sturdevant's Organizing and Preserving Your Heirloom Documents (Betterway Books, out of print).


Preserving Heirlooms and Photos
Friday, April 11, 2008 2:35:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]