Genealogy Today, by Betty Lou Malesky, CG
Archives.com: New Option for Census Research
Census records are probably the most used of all genealogical sources. For many years the most popular Internet site for census research has been expensive and frustrating due to indexing errors and inadequate search options. Now we have another option, Archives.com.
I am impressed with their the Archives search parameters and the quality of the images available. I've done a number of test searches and been rewarded with exactly the results I wanted. For instance, I entered only the name Myron Bly in the search box. Hits returned included the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 census entries for my ancestor. When I used the U.S. census search box, I also had hits for the 1830 and 1840 census both sources listing the NARA series and roll.
Some inconsistencies were noted in identification of the census film from which some of the images were digitized. In 1860 the NARA series number displayed but not the microfilm roll number. In 1880 both NARA series and roll number were listed, but in 1850 and 1870 the Family History Library microfilm number was offered. In order to properly cite the census record we need either the NARA series and roll or the FHL film number depending on which is the actual source of the images.
All of the images I viewed were above average in legibility. The image at first appears unclear but moving the "zoom" lever at the upper left immediately brought the image into focus as large or small as I wanted. There are also sliding levers to control contrast and brightness plus a box "invert colors" to view the image as a negative, sometimes useful for hard to read pages.
Images can be printed or saved. If you click to save, you have the option "Attach to someone in my tree" or to save to "My Records." Since I have not built an online tree, when I clicked "My Records," I received a message, "To view your saved records at any time, click the ‘My Saved Records' tab under "My Tree." I did so, but I could not find the tab mentioned.
Archives.com has just released the majority of the 1930 Federal Population Census images and expects to add the entire collection of images for 1910, 1920, and 1930 to those already available over the next few weeks. During the next two months all census images prior to 1900 will also be added to those currently online.
At last, an option for census research at a reasonable price, just $39.95 per year compared to the other site's steep annual price of $155. Archives.com is growing rapidly, with over 400,000 records added last week bringing their total up to over 2 billion.
In addition to census, they will soon be announcing news of a number of other record collections to be brought on board. Visit http://www.archives.com/collections to see the latest additions and a complete list of all that is currently available.
Another feature of Archives.com is court record retrieval. For $24.95 they will search and retrieve court records from any county in the U.S. Included are lawsuits, bankruptcies, custody cases, violent crimes, theft and robbery, etc. You will be notified when the records are available to view online or to print. For a similar fee, they will search and provide certified copies of U.S. birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.
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7 March 2012