Friday, November 1, 2013

Successes in the 1921 Census

So I figured I should let you all know it *is* possible to find your ancestors in this census. Several of my current students have been emailing me with their wonderful stories of how good the index worked. All I can say is 'lucky bums'! :-) It's not that I didn't WANT to use the index, it's just that the surnames I was searching for were so badly mangled in the index it was useless to me. Oh yes, and the handwriting! WOW!! Interestingly, it was the British Isles names that had been 'mangled' the most, at least in my searches. My GILMOUR family was indexed as GIBERSON, as an example. Sheesh!!

Anyway, I have now located all the family members I was looking for, but it was not once done using the index. The methods I was able to employ were still far better than how we 'old-timers' had to search before the days of the Internet and all the wonderful indexes and database searches we now accept, and .... expect!!

Before I get all "we had to walk, uphill, both ways" hahaha, I just wanted to say that there still is nothing wrong with using all those wonderful methods we've learned in the past to help us figure out the most appropriate locations to search. So things such as land records, voter's lists, directories, maps/atlases/gazetteers, previous or later censuses, and often just 'browsing' through the census - page by page - will lead to successes and sometimes the most amazing surprises. And you know what? Once I've found what or whom I was looking for, it's still those long, difficult searches that I feel the most triumphant about! Either I'm a glutton for punishment, or I'm just a serious researcher who enjoys a good challenge ... or maybe a bit of both. Still, once in a while I'll be grateful for a index match first time round. :-)

And how are you all doing?

Wishing you many successes!!

Pat

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