Friday, February 25, 2011

Online Hint : Census Book Free on Heritage Quest

For some time now Michigan genealogists have had free access to Heritage Quest Online databases through the Michigan Electronic Library (MEL).  Simply logging in with a valid Michigan driver's license or any Michigan library card opens a portal to thousands of books, federal census returns, Freedman's Bank records, service & bounty files from the American Revolution, and much more.

Not everyone knows about the gems within the gems.  For example, a full version of The Census Book : a genealogist's guide to federal census facts, schedules and indexes : with master extraction forms for federal schedules, 1790-1930, by William Dollarhide is available to view, print or download.

For anyone using the census in their research, and you should be, Dollarhide's book is the guide that provides everything you need to know about them including blank forms for each decennial year.  Tables outline what census years are available for any particular state/territory, and there is valuable information about non-population schedules such as mortality, agricultural and social statistics.  

To locate the book within Heritage Quest databases, simply click on Mel Databases scroll down the list to "HeritageQuest Online" where you will be asked to log in using one of the methods above.  Select "Search Census" from the list of database choices, and choose "Browse" toward the top of the page.  At the left, select "What you should know about the census" and Dollarhide's book will open in a new window where you can select the portion you wish to view, print, or download, using the icons at the top of the screen. 

Think you already know everything about the census?  Did you know that New Jersey has no surviving federal census prior to 1830?  How about that there was a federal census taken in some areas in 1885?  Or, that not quite all of the 1890 federal census was destroyed?  The Census Book answers all of these questions and much more.  It should be part of your reference shelf and now you can own it for free.