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Census Indexes Available

Census records are among the first original records (available on microfilm) that family historians learn to use. However, since one book of census returns might be 1400 pages long, it behooves us to look at census indexes as a wayof quickly finding WHICH page we must look at to find the entry for our ancestor.

While the use of indexes are certainly advisable, there are obvious limitations such as human error when indexing. For this reason you might not find an entry for your ancestor at all, or it might be listed under a slightly different spelling due to the indexer's interpretation of the census taker's handbook.

Also consider that some indexes, such as the 1880 Soundex didn't even consider anyone for the index UNLESS they had children in the household under the age of 10. Alas, that would eliminiate the possibility of a listing for my Ferd and Nance (Swanker) Goering in the 1880 census! If I knew them to be in the county, I would have to look scroll through the microfilm for the township, and then read every entry for them in the census book.

Unfortunately our ancestors did not have the forethought to stand in alphabetical order when then census taker came around!

Here are some of the census indexes available: