[APG Public List] The reliability of federal census records for genealogical research

Jeanette Daniels jeanettedaniels8667 at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 3 16:43:56 MST 2009


Thank you for sharing your web article on census records.  You wanted to know whether your analysis conformed to the GPS.  You have reopened the questions of some who think that the GPS needs some tweeking.  That's fine.  I personally believe that it could be restated better and that it is not good to try to fit a square into a round peg hole.  

From the start of your article, it is obvious that census records are not going to actually fit into the GPS.  You are correct that other sources usually are available that will confirm information that is recorded in census records.  However, in the case where there is a burned out county courthouse or other strange reasons for courthouse records that could confirm information to be lost, the census may be the main record that exists.  As professional genealogists, we must figure out what other records may have survived if possible.  But, we should never refuse to use the information in census records because they contain imperfections.  All records do.


From: Michael Hait <michael.hait at hotmail.com>
To: transitional-genealogists-forum at rootsweb.com; APG APG Public <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
Sent: Tue, November 3, 2009 4:22:05 PM
Subject: [APG Public List] The reliability of federal census records for genealogical research

This message is being cross-posted on both the TGF and APG Public mailing lists.
I just posted an article in my Examiner column regarding the reliability of federal census records.
I would love to have some feedback.  Does my analysis conform to the Genealogical Proof Standard?
Here is the link:  http://bit.ly/wEzux
Michael Hait
michael.hait at hotmail.com
Author, The Family History Research Toolkit (www.genealogical.com)
Instructor, African-American Research, GenClass.com (www.genclass.com)
National African-American Genealogy Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/x-8873-African-American-Genealogy-Examiner)

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