The June 11, 2009, meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library in Edwardsville, Illinois.
President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.
In the absence of our
Treasurer LaVerne Bloemker, Secretary Barbara Hitch presented
the financial report for the month of May 2009.
On June 11, 2009, Ms.
Elsie Wasser gave a presentation on Census Records of the United
States Over the Years. The first thing Elsie did was to recommend
the "Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives
of the United States" as a valuable source book for anything
pertaining to census records.
She explained the requirements and purposes for taking a census and stated that the census records have turned out to be a vital source of genealogical information about our ancestors and the details of their lives.
Elsie stated that errors were introduced into the census data through actions of both the enumerators and the public, i.e., phonetic spelling of names, asking neighbors for information, people giving the wrong ages. She said that each federal census has been different. Questions have been added or removed, more details have been requested, etc..
For the sake of privacy, the actual census records have been restricted and not available to the general public for 72 years after the taking of the census. The 1930 census was made available April 1, 2002 and the 1940 census will be available April 1, 2012.
Elsie also talked about other censuses: Mortality census reports the deaths of individuals the year before the taking of the actual census. Agricultural censuses give details of persons whose livelihood depends on agriculture. These two types of federal censuses exist only for the years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. In addition to the federal censuses, there are state censuses. Illinois took a state census in 1845, 1855, and 1865.
This presentation was well received and prompted several questions.