Another Question on Citing US Census

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Another Question on Citing US Census

Bobby Goins
Disclaimer: I know that this has been asked before, and that the stock
answer is 'Whatever works best for you', however, my question may have a
slightly different twist.  I am looking for a 'best practice' with my
census citations.

--

After trying different Source / Citation methods for the US Census, I
decided to go with the Census being the source, and the remaining
information (big to small) being the citation.  For instance:

      1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule

           Kentucky, Letcher County, Magistrial Precinct 8, Household 8

           Tennessee, Hancock County, ED 73 Civil District 11, Household 126

      1930 U.S. Census Population Schedule

           Kentucky, Breathitt County, Big Rock Precinct 27, Family 447

and so on...


Anyway my first question: 'Would you put the word 'County' in the
citation, as it is somewhat redundant?'

My second question: 'Should one include the Enumeration District Number
and Sheet Number in the citation?'

My third question: 'Is it better to use the actual form line number than
the household number, if a photocopy of the census form is available,
and / or keep the household / family number?

My last question: 'I have seen people include the head of the household
in the citation.  Is this a best practice?'


I have a lot of names in my database, but I want to go back and include
supporting documents, and I want those document citations to be in a
'good form'.  (Right now I am concentrating on the direct ancestors of
my children.)


Bobby G


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Re: Another Question on Citing US Census

Philip Weiss
On Sun, Jun 11, 2017 at 5:57 PM, Bobby Goins <[hidden email]> wrote:


Anyway my first question: 'Would you put the word 'County' in the citation, as it is somewhat redundant?'

I don't as county level is pretty consistently used in the whole census, so whatever goes in that slot is always a county (or equivalent in places like Louisiana and Alaska).

My second question: 'Should one include the Enumeration District Number and Sheet Number in the citation?'

I include them.
 
My third question: 'Is it better to use the actual form line number than the household number, if a photocopy of the census form is available, and / or keep the household / family number?

I use the household number if it's legible or I can determine it, as I treat the entire household as one record (because all the relationships listed are to the head of household and make no sense on their own). I keep a downloaded copy of the scanned page always as well.

 
My last question: 'I have seen people include the head of the household in the citation.  Is this a best practice?'

I do simply for readability and searchability.

Yours,
Philip 

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Re: Another Question on Citing US Census

CurtD
In reply to this post by Bobby Goins
On 06/11/2017 08:57 PM, Bobby Goins wrote:
> Disclaimer: I know that this has been asked before, and that the stock answer is 'Whatever works best for you', however, my question may have a slightly different twist.  I am looking for a 'best practice' with my census citations.

 Here are the two questions you need to ask yourself about your source & citations and it should fulfill the answer.
1. When I print out a report and hand it to a friend or another researcher and ask them to find the source item I used for this event, would they be able to find it without my help?
2. Does it work for me too?

Answser No to question 1 or 2 and your source & citations need more work.

Kurt
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Re: Another Question on Citing US Census

Ron Johnson
In reply to this post by Bobby Goins
On 06/11/2017 07:57 PM, Bobby Goins wrote:
Disclaimer: I know that this has been asked before, and that the stock answer is 'Whatever works best for you', however, my question may have a slightly different twist.  I am looking for a 'best practice' with my census citations.

--

After trying different Source / Citation methods for the US Census, I decided to go with the Census being the source, and the remaining information (big to small) being the citation.  For instance:

     1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule

          Kentucky, Letcher County, Magistrial Precinct 8, Household 8

          Tennessee, Hancock County, ED 73 Civil District 11, Household 126

     1930 U.S. Census Population Schedule

          Kentucky, Breathitt County, Big Rock Precinct 27, Family 447

and so on...


Anyway my first question: 'Would you put the word 'County' in the citation, as it is somewhat redundant?'

I'd write it as:
Magistrial Precinct 8, Letcher Co, KY / E.D. 99 / Sheet 99A / Lines 95-99
If the line numbers are unreadable, then I'd probably use the Household number.  If there were multiple families on the same sheet, then I'd write "Lines 95-99 and 72-78".

"E.D." is short for Enumeration District.

My second question: 'Should one include the Enumeration District Number and Sheet Number in the citation?'

Echoing CurtD: absolutely!  The whole point of a citation is to let you or someone else quickly go back to the citation weeks, months, years later.


My third question: 'Is it better to use the actual form line number than the household number, if a photocopy of the census form is available, and / or keep the household / family number?

It's up to you, IMO.

My last question: 'I have seen people include the head of the household in the citation.  Is this a best practice?'

I don't do it, since:
1. it's redundant over Line numbers and Household number,
2. takes up a lot of space, and
3. is impractical if there are multiple families on the same page.

I have a lot of names in my database, but I want to go back and include supporting documents, and I want those document citations to be in a 'good form'.  (Right now I am concentrating on the direct ancestors of my children.)

You'll eventually go back and fill in all of those people's descendants, and "Big Rock Precinct 27" just won't cut it, since the forms are organized by ED, not name.


-- 
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Re: Another Question on Citing US Census

enno
In reply to this post by Bobby Goins
Hello Bobby,

> After trying different Source / Citation methods for the US Census, I
> decided to go with the Census being the source, and the remaining
> information (big to small) being the citation.  For instance:
>
>      1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule
>
>           Kentucky, Letcher County, Magistrial Precinct 8, Household 8
>
>           Tennessee, Hancock County, ED 73 Civil District 11,
> Household 126
>
>      1930 U.S. Census Population Schedule
>
>           Kentucky, Breathitt County, Big Rock Precinct 27, Family 447
>
> and so on...
>
>
> Anyway my first question: 'Would you put the word 'County' in the
> citation, as it is somewhat redundant?'
I like it, because I'm not in the U.S., and it helps me understand the
citation. I know that there's a bit of redundancy here, but I appreciate
it, because I don't know much about U.S. geography, and I really like to
see some redundancy when county names are the same as cities and states.
When I see something like New York, New York, it's not always obvious
what's what.

> My second question: 'Should one include the Enumeration District
> Number and Sheet Number in the citation?'
Absolutely, yes. Your citation must be precise enough for me to find the
document, on whatever site I use for that.

> My third question: 'Is it better to use the actual form line number
> than the household number, if a photocopy of the census form is
> available, and / or keep the household / family number?
I'd say that you should use the numbers that are visible on the original
document, whatever they are.

> My last question: 'I have seen people include the head of the
> household in the citation.  Is this a best practice?'
It depends. If the census is indexed on some site, including the name of
a (main) person can help other genealogists find it, so in that case the
addition of a name looks quite useful to me.

In general, I think that a citation must be precise enough for any
family member overseas, meaning that what's obvious for you is not
always obvious for me, and vice versa.

regards,

Enno


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Re: Another Question on Citing US Census

Ron Johnson
In reply to this post by Bobby Goins
On 06/12/2017 01:48 AM, Enno Borgsteede wrote:
I like it, because I'm not in the U.S., and it helps me understand the citation. I know that there's a bit of redundancy here, but I appreciate it, because I don't know much about U.S. geography, and I really like to see some redundancy when county names are the same as cities and states. When I see something like New York, New York, it's not always obvious what's what.

Totally concur.  This is a very bad practice that US genealogists follow, and is why I suffixed all my "County" Place names with " County".

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