Head Hunting
Struggling with pre-1850 head-of-household censuses, which reduce most of your relatives to tick marks? Count on these techniques to turn those mere ticks into information you can actually use.

When you embarked on your genealogical journey, you probably started with the 1930 US census—or the latest federal census schedule available to you at the time—having heard census records are treasure troves of ancestral information. And after becoming immersed in the wealth of data that census schedules' 30-something questions provide, you remembered an ancestor whose existence had already been proven back to the late 1700s. So you went to the 1790 census, the first one taken by our young nation—figuring that it probably wouldn't have as much detail as its counterpart 140 years later, but it would at least give you some names.