31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 3: Review the Census

Amy Johnson Crow has been sharing on her Generations Cafe Facebook Group a prompt each day for May. They are based off of her book 31 Days to Better Genealogy that you can buy on Amazon (shown below).

Day 3 of 31 Days to Better Genealogy is: Review the Census. She talked about how we, as genealogists, can take for granted or make assumptions that we already know what the Census may be able to tell us. I think that I have sometimes fallen into this in that I’ve been good about finding ancestors in the Census and connecting that document to the tree, but not necessarily analyzing it as I should have.

I did delve into analyzing a census recently for one of my reports for the National Genealogical Society’s American Studies Course. I worked on analyzing the Felix and Elizabeth (Laughlin) McGinity household (Randolph, NY) in the 1870, 1880, and 1900 censuses. It was a great learning experience – especially to compare the value of their home to others that lived near them and also to see if they settled in an area that other immigrants did.

In case you are curious, the value of their real and personal property was much lower than those around them. Also, the foreign born population only grew to 11% by 1900, but of that 11%, most were Irish like they were. Even though they may not have had as much money as others that lived near them, they seemed to have lived a full and happy life together including the opportunity to celebrate their golden anniversary.

Felix McGinity, Elizabeth (McGinity) Johnson (their daughter), Elizabeth (Laughlin) McGinity