How to read Census Records on Ancestry.com?

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I have been researching my family for a while now and have hit several road blocks. I think I could get further if I could figure out how to tell which city/township my ancestors lived in from the census records I found. I CAN TELL THE COUNTY BUT NOT THE CITY. Any ideas on how to find which city they may have lived in? Any help would be great. I’d love to tell me story for some decent feedback.

Thanks in advance!

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4 Responses to How to read Census Records on Ancestry.com?

  1. wendy c says:

    In many cases (depending on the census year) you will see the enumeration district and post office shown at the top of the page. If it was a rural area, there may have been no town/city there.
    It is not always a guaranteed thing anyway. I have one family that I personally know the exact location of their land, as well as some of the neighbors on the same page. They are shown as living in a "town" that I KNOW to have been on the other side of the county, thus the census original is in error.
    One idea is to go to http://www.rootsweb.com, look for mailing lists, and subscribe to the e-group for that county. Post your question there, since it often has persons who have in depth knowledge of the areas and other records, even those which may not be online.

  2. SmellyCat says:

    Many of the earlier censuses only show the county because a city had not been named yet.

    On the top of the actual census page lists the enumeration district and the sheet / page number. Handwritten areas at the top of the census pages will show the city, township, post office town and county of said state.

    When searching census records….if you’ve found your family in a certain county, go back another ten years in census in the same county and search that way. You can key in the county name when you reach the search section for the specific census year.

  3. Holly N says:

    Go to your local library’s homepage and see if they subscribe to heritagequest. If they do you can access it from home with your library card. Here you can view the census. It has the information you are looking for.

  4. Ted Pack says:

    In the later censues – 1930 at least – if the family is in a town or city, the street name is written on the left-hand margin, sideways, and each family’s address is in one of the first columns.

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