Jul 232014

Need a census page but don’t have a subscription to Ancestry.com or other pay site? It’s 1 am and the library is closed?

The Internet Archive has the entire 1790-1930 US Census set, available for free. But there is no index to help you find the page you want.

So, how can you quickly and rather painlessly find the page you want? This is my method:

1) I want to find the 1910 census page for my 2nd great-grandfather, Miles F Stanley, so I go to FamilySearch.org and the 1910 US Census collection:

FamilySearch.org>Search>Records>Click on US map>United States>United States Census, 1910

2) I locate 2GGF Stanley using the Search function

3) I go to 2GGF Stanley’s search results page:


4) I then scroll to the bottom of the page to “Citing this Record”:


Here I note the state, county, enumeration district and page number, as I will use these to find 2GGF Stanley!

5) Next stop is  the Internet Archives United States Census page, where I scroll down to and click on the 13th Population Census of the United States-1910 link:


6) I click on the Texas link:


7) And locate and click on the link for Palo Pinto County :


8) At the bottom of the page, I use the little hand to scroll through the pages, looking for the Enumeration District, then Page Number (usually in numerical order, sort of). I tend to scan by 1/2 to 1 inch increments across the slider to find the ED, then search page-by-page (I prefer Full Screen, Single Page to view the images):


And here is my 2nd great-grandfather, Miles F Stanley, located in ED 191, on Line 1 of Sheet 17a:


I simply right-click my mouse, select Save Image As…, save the page to 2GGF Stanley’s file, and now I have that census page, for FREE!

This entire process took less than 5 minutes.


Jul 202014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


The Portal to Texas History is a wonderful resource for researchers studying Texas ancestors:

The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials. You may discover anything from an ancestor’s picture to a rare historical map. From prehistory to the present day, you can explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections. The Portal continues to grow as additional partners contribute digital versions of their collections. We hope you’ll return often to discover our latest additions.

Portal to Texas History

This is a vast site, so be prepared to spend some time just looking around and getting the “feel” of the place. The search function is a bit difficult to master, but be patient. There is a wealth of genealogical data to be mined at The Portal to Texas History.

Some of my findings include 1909 and 1920 city directory pages listing my 2nd great-grandfather Miles Francis Stanley I and numerous 1800′s newspaper articles mentioning my 4th great-grandfather John Hamilton.



Jul 172014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


An ancestor’s census enumeration sheet is probably one of the very first documents a budding genealogist learns to look for. The United States Federal Census had been recorded every 10 years since 1790. These records have been carefully stored by the National Archives and Records Administration and are available for free to researchers through the 1940 edition, with the exception of the 1890 census, the majority of which was destroyed by fire.

There is, however, a catch. The records are available for free, but if you want access to online indexes and a search function so that you may more easily find your 4th great-grandfather, then you might have to pay to view these documents.

Ancestry.com has the complete set, 1790-1940 (only a very few of the 1890 records survive), with the 1880 and 1940 records available for free at this time. To see the rest, you must have a subscription.

FamilySearch.org also has the complete set, but only the actual images for the years 1850, 1870, 1900 and 1940. For the other years, the data is available and searchable, but you have to hope that whoever transcribed them was correct, as you can’t view the documents themselves.

There is a third alternative, and it is the Internet Archive.

The record of the population census from 1790 to 1930. Scanned from microfilm from the collections of the Allen County Public Library and originally from the United States National Archives Record Administration.

The Internet Archive United States Census complete set 1790-1930 is available to view and download for free, but there is no index or ability to search.

But, if you know where to look, the images are there!

FamilySearch.org can provide you with the location (state, county, enumeration district, page number), which you can then use to find the sheet you want in Internet Archive’s census collection.

Here is an example. I have an image of the 1910 census sheet for my great-grandfather, William Earl Hall. I downloaded it from HeritageQuest many years ago. But, as you can see, it’s not a very clear image.



So tonight, armed with the state, county, ED and page number of that document (information which I knew from my old image, but which is also available from FamilySearch.org), I went to the Internet Archive US Census collection and within about 10-15 minutes was able to locate and download my great-grandfather’s 1910 sheet.



And the second image is actually of a much better quality than the first.

For free!

Jul 162014

My great-grandfather William Earl Hall is one of my brick walls. I have 3, and only 3 confirmed pieces of evidence that document his life: his marriage license from Indian Territory, (now Oklahoma) in 1906, a newspaper article discussing said marriage (my great-grandmother was under-age at the time and lied about it! Oh, the scandal!), and his entry in the 1910 US Census from Gainesville, Texas. After than, he has vanished. The family lore goes that he died in some sort of railroad accident (he did work for the railroad.) Since my great-grandmother remarried in 1913, I can assume he died between 1910 and 1913. And that’s about all I know for sure.

According to the 1910 census, William was born in Kansas, about 1887. So I did a general search of the 1900 census, looking for a William Hall, born ca 1887 in Kansas. Lots of William Hills popped up, of course. But the one who seemed most promising, mainly because of his location, was William Hall living on Cherokee Nation land in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

Now comes the “tricky” part. This census image shows William at the top of what looks to be page 22A. He is listed as “son”, with 6 siblings and parents from Iowa and Indiana. Wouldn’t you think that his parents would be found at the bottom of the previous image, page 21B?



Not so!

Here is the previous page (labeled as 19B), no Halls to be seen!



But if you move on the page after William:



Here, at the bottom of the page (labeled as 20B), are William and Minnie Hall, from Iowa and Indiana, with 6 kids (the group of six children showing William, Jr as the oldest child on the previous page.)


So what you see on a census page is not always 100% true and correct? Oh, myyy….

Jul 162014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


If you have ancestors from the Republic of Texas, before it became the 28th state to join the Union in 1845, then you might want to check out the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database:

The Land Office Archives contains documents issued by the new Republic of Texas after winning independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of the most popular documents in the Archive relate to the land grant certificates issued to Texians who rendered military service in battle during the Texas Revolution, including William B. Travis, David Crockett and Sam Houston.

After annexation by the United States in 1845, Texas retained control of its public domain, unlike other western states, and continued to distribute its land. Prior to 1900, Texas was a cash poor state, and used land to secure and pay off debt, reward veterans, encourage economic development, finance public education and even in building the State Capitol.

I have one such ancestor: my 4th great-grandfather, John Hamilton, Jr, born in Ohio about 1810 and “arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in The Army of Texas…”

This document, dated 2 Apr 1838, notes John Hamilton’s arrival in Texas, his service with the Army of Texas, his subsequent entitlement of land… even his marital status.




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