Making Connections: Census, Brick Walls and GenForum

Making Connections: Census, Brick Walls and GenForum

Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

Making It Count

The latest issue of Family Tree Magazine came yesterday, and I read “Master the Census” (May 2007). I’ve been looking for my Schwochow ancestor since I started doing genealogy in 1978, and couldn’t find him in the 1880 census. He and his wife arrived in 1874; both died in the early 1880s. I tried every spelling I could think of – nothing. I thought they must’ve hidden when the census taker came around. After reading your article, I decided to give the tips a try.

My first search with the location and the birthplace and date was not a success. So I took out the birth information and put in my ancestor’s first name – and I found him. The name was spelled Swoker, but all the information was there (the couple was living with a son I’d also been looking for). Although it didn’t give any new information, just having the record is the best. Finding details about their son who died in 1883 and left a family helps, too.

I just have to let you know how simple it was, and after almost 30 years, to finally track down the record was wonderful. Thank you for the article.

Margaret Loroff
via e-mail

Census research is definitely “a love-hate relationship” with most genealogists, including me. Thanks for David A. Fryxell’s great article in the May 2007 issue and its strategies. I do have two comments:

• Page 27 states: “The date the census taker wrote … isn’t as important as the official… date.” Although this is what the census bureau might have intended, a genealogist must be open to either date being “most” important.

• Particularly since Mr. Fryxell utilized < > to illustrate the misspelling of his Lundeen/Lundell ancestor in the 1900 census, it would’ve added to his strategy had he noted that now allows the correction of name misspellings. When you correct a name error, the correct spelling will soon be accessible in the index.

I utilized Mr. Fryxell’s Oscar Lundell listing and submitted a correction for Oscar Lundeen. Looking at the census image, it’s clear why the transcription error was made. Too bad the indexer didn’t pay attention to the rest of the Lundeen family on the following census page! Thanks for the census article and the always-anticipated newest issue of your magazine.

Cari Thomas
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Wall Eyes

Thanks to your magazine and especially to Maureen A. Taylor for her help in trying to get me over the brick wall with my third-great-grandfather Levi Williams, who served in the Legion of the United States from 1792 to 1794 under Gen. Anthony Wayne.

I just got though with Ms. Taylor’s Brick Wall Busters article (May 2007), and it opened a couple of other windows for me to investigate. You can be sure I will pursue the directions she’s given and go back over all the information I’ve accumulated for additional clues.

Thank you again for your great magazine and the many fine articles in each issue. Please extend my thanks to Ms. Taylor for her help – and for her photo articles, which have helped me determine the time frames for some pictures I have of my grandparents and great-grandparents.

Roger L. Johnson
Temecula, Calif.

Gilmore Girl

Since becoming a reader of your magazine, I have read time and time again of people who connected with other readers or your writers through their letters, articles or photos. Never did I ever think it would happen to me.

But when I read David A. Fryxell’s wonderful article “Quick Study” (February 2007), I was blown away when he spoke of writing to a Jean Gilmore on GenForum <>. I too have been corresponding with Jean off and on through the years about the Gilmore family – both on GenForum and over e-mail. We’ve exchanged a lot of information (mostly her to me), but I was surprised that Mr. Fryxell has Gilmores in his line, too. My ancestor’s daughter married Capt. George Gilmore, who served with my ancestor John Blair in the 16th regiment in Albany Company Militia. I would really like to thank Mr. Fryxell for an enlightening article, and hope that I may have another relative to add to my tree.

Robyn King
Tawas City, Mich.

Good Form

I would just like to thank you for the free downloadable forms. We have a learning disabled child who was given a family tree project – a huge task for her. Your forms automatically organize everything for her and cover all areas in the project, taking all of the stress away. Thank you again.

S. Catchpole
Ontario, Canada

Editor’s note: Our downloadable forms including an ancestor chart, family group sheet, census worksheets and research logs — are at <>.

Update: Our May 2007 article “Genealogy Hacks” gave tips for using Google to search Roots Web’s mailing lists because “RootsWeb doesn’t let you search multiple mailing lists or years simultaneously.” Since that issue went to press, RootsWeb has replaced the old search with a new one that can search all years and lists at once. Try it out at <>.

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