Before I got into genealogy, I imagined a census like this: The government passes down word that a census must be taken. All residents freeze. A small army of census takers rises up with their pens and papers, and goes forth to knock on every door and write down exactly who lives there. Life resumes.
My dreams of this orderly process were shattered long ago, but working on our Census Secrets CD reminded me again how hard it can be to find people in census records.
This CD has guides to help you get past census research obstacles such as unexpected spellings, mistranscribed names, those pre-1850 head-of-household censuses, changing borders, missing records, etc. It also has cheat sheets and charts to help you find federal, state and colonial censuses, plus forms for every US census so you can track who you searched for and what you found.
The articles, charts and forms are text-searchable PDF articles. You open them with free Adobe Reader software, so they’re compatible with Macs and PCs.