By the Numbers: Census Records
9/1/2005
What do you get when you add this collection of census tools to your family tree search? You multiply the generations on your pedigree chart.

As a genealogist, you're always looking for ways to either get new data or validate information you already have — and you can count on census records to help you do that. If you know your ancestors came to America in 1845 but can't find their immigration records, you can check the next available census: 1850. The US government started going door to door to count the country's population in 1790, and in accordance with federal law, has taken censuses every 10 years since.

Though census records weren't designed with future genealogists in mind, they provide numerous details about your ancestors. Throughout the years, the amount of information collected by the US Census Bureau has grown steadily: Enumerators posed just six questions in the nation's inaugural census; the 2000 long-form questionnaire contained 53.