What Can You Learn From The 1910 Census Records?

By | July 12, 2017

Interested to know what your ancestors were doing in the early 20th century? The 1910 census records can give you a snapshot of their live. These records can give you so much information which can help you build your family tree and get to know who your ancestors were. Read on as I will show you what you can learn about them.

1910 Census Records

The importance of census records!

Beforehand I do show you what information that you can glean from the 1910 census records I first want to share something with you. I want to tell you how important these records are.

After I had gathered all that I could about my ancestry from my parents my next step was to turn to census records. And why did I do that I hear you say.

Genealogy and Family History

Well I have said that they can give you so much information, which I will touch upon later. These records though were important to me as they helped me to build out the family tree that I had started from my father’s notes.

He ignited my passion into the world of genealogy and into my family’s history.

When searching for your ancestors in census records not only will you discover all sorts of details about their lives but also family members they were living with at the time that the census was taken.

This was important to me as I was very interested in not only going back further generations but discovering siblings of my ancestors. I could then find out what later would happen to these siblings and thus discover cousins.

This curiosity has proved useful to me because I have connected with several cousins during the time that I have traced my family. This connection happened quite out of the blue but was something that I was hoping for.

And because I had carried out this research I was able to prove how these new-found cousins were related to me.

You can find stories in those 1910 census records!

Anyway I have digressed. I have shown you that census records are important because they can help you to build your family tree with the information that you find. They can also give you plenty of details that tell your ancestor’s stories.

Write A Family History Book

Look between the lines of the records!

So what am I saying? What do I mean by this?

When I first started looking into census records I wa she so I never awe that I had found my ancestors and that I could build my family tree. I searched for countless ancestors and went through many, many census records.

And that was great. But I was missing something from them.

It was only when I started to write my family history book that I could see the big picture. As I traced the life of my ancestor she through these records I started to question their life and the decisions that they made.

Just why did my ancestor move hundreds of miles around the country? Was it to find work or was it for some other reason?

Writing my book opened my eyes to the world of family history. Before I was interested in genealogy whichever was the pursuit of names, dates, places, etc.

But family history tells the story of your ancestor’s life. You can map the life of your ancestor from the first census record that they appear in until the last.

There are many questions that will arise when you look at these types of records. And I hope that I have opened your eyes to the possibility of what further information that you can find out about your ancestors.


So What’s In The 1910 Census Records?

As I mentioned at the start of this post the 1910 census records will give you a snapshot of your ancestors lives which began on April 15th 1910. Within these records you will find people listed from all 50 states, as well as any of your military and naval forces ancestors. The territory of Puerto Rico was also included within this fact finding exercise.

Searching For Records

At the top of the census records you will find useful information such as the state, county and town/township for the individuals listed on the page. There is also the date that the information was collected.

However, you must bear in mind that the data collected would refer to information that was correct on census night – April 15th, and not the date when the enumerator arrived at the home to get details of the family. (Hope that made sense).

The 10 key elements that you can learn from the 1910 census records!

Each of the following ten key elements are broken down into further parts.

Location

If you knew where your ancestor lived from other documents then this information will help you verify that you have found the right family or not. The house number was recorded along with the name of the street, road, avenue or whatever it was called. If the dwelling was a farm then the name was recorded.

House and Land

Several households would be listed on the same page of these records. And for that reason you will see the order of visitation by the enumerator. There is also the number of family in order of visitation. It was, (and still is), common to see a couple or several families listed within the same dwelling.

Name and Relation

This is the main key element that will help you to identify whether the person list was your ancestor. Each person within the family was listed by their name and the relationship to the head of the family indicated.

This section of census records has been a great help to me in finding out how each of the family members were connected and also for building my family tree. Because of these reasons census records have been a great help for many people tracing their family tree.

Personal Description

You can definitely learn a lot about your ancestors from this key element. And if you are not certain about

The following information that you can learn:

  • Sex – Can help you identify whether you are looking at a male or female’s record. Useful if their name is illegible.
  • Color or race – Possible answers include: White; Black; Mulatto; Quadroon; Octoroon; Chinese; or Japanese. A separate census record was used to record anyone of Indian descent.
  • Age – An individual’s age on their last birthday.
  • Marital status – Whether they are single, married, divorced or widowed. If for example your ancestor was married in 1900 but in 1910 was a widower then you have a timeframe to look for the death of his wife.
  • Number of years married – Only answered if marital status was listed as married.
  • Number of total children born and still living – Only entered for females. This is another useful element of the census records as from this you may identify gaps in your knowledge of your family tree.

Nativity

This element will show you the birthplace of your ancestor and his or her parents as well. This can help you verify that you are looking at the same person. Also, you will have an indication of where you need to look for the parents.

Citizenship

You can learn a lot about your ancestors from this key element and also you can find out where to turn for more records. Your ancestor’s year of immigration to the United States can help you to narrow down your search for their passenger record.

You can also learn whether they have been naturalized or still an alien. And finally you can find out whether they can speak English and if not what was their chosen language.

Occupation

Identify whether you are looking at the correct individual by checking the trade or profession of the individual. This is quite useful if you already know what work they were doing. But if you don’t then it can also be quite interesting reading.

Occupation

The industry, business, or establishment where your ancestor worked was also recorded, and whether they were an employer, employee or working on their own account.

If your ancestor was an employee then they were also required to enter how many weeks within the past year that they were out of work.

Education

The government wanted to know the literacy of the population. Therefore they were asked whether they could read or write. They were also asked whether they had attended school since September 1st 1909.

Ownership of home

The government also wanted to know whether the individual owned or rented their dwelling, and whether it was owned free or mortgaged. The last part of this element queries whether the dwelling was a house or a farm. And if it were a farm then the schedule number of visitation was added.

Military

Again you can learn a lot about your ancestor from this key element. From this question you may find out that they were a survivor of the Union, Confederate Army or Navy.

Confederate Memorial Day

Disabilities

From this element of the 1910 census record you can find out whether they were blind (in both eyes), death or dumb.


Where Can I Find The 1910 Census Records?

Just where can you get access to the 1910 census records? For you I have two options. Firstly there is a free option which sounds quite intriguing. And then there are a couple of paid options which may turn you off but please hear me out.

Where can I find the 1880 census records

Your FREE option!

If I can get information for free then I will. After all we want to save money wherever we can and genealogy is no objection. For that reason I turn my attention to is FamilySearch.

This is an excellent website as they have millions of records held within their databases. I have used this site extensively and have found many ancestors within their files.

It has thus saved me money finding these records where I would otherwise have had to pay elsewhere.

But there is a drawback to this site. And that drawback is that you may not find what you are looking for. Sure they do have millions of records but that doesn’t mean that you will find a particular record that you are after.

Your PAID options!

For that reason I turn my attention to two paid genealogy search websites. The two sites that I regularly visit to trace my family tree are Ancestry and Find My Past,

Credit: Ancestry

Ancestry is the world’s largest respository of family’s history records. Not only can you find your ancestors through census records but there are also other records that’s you can gain access from this site.

Records include birth, death and marriage certificates, wills and probates, business directories, and more. And you can also connect with other members that’s can help you along your genealogy journey.

So if Ancestry is so good then why do I go to FindMyPast as well? The reason for Thisbe comes down to indexing.

Records maybe incorrectly deciphered and uploaded to the Ancestry databases. This is particularly true if the enumerator filled in the census record forms with fancy handwriting.

But even if the person transcribing these records can read the handwriting there still is the possibility that they may miskey a letter.

So if I cannot find my ancestor I will then try my luck by visiting FindMyPast. This site I should pretty much similar to Ancestry as not only can you find census records but all sorts of other records as well.

Whatever your preference I do suggest that you try one if not both of these paid sites. Genealogy is no different to any other hobby as you expect to part ways with money at some point.

If you didn’t spend some money on your interest into your ancestors lives then you wouldn’t be doing your research any justice. And that is the truth believe me.


Final Thoughts

There is plenty of information that you can find out about from accessing the 1910 census records. And by searching for your ancestor within other censuses you can map out their life.

One of the greatest projects that I have carried out is writing my family history books. This has proved helpful to me for two reasons.

The first reason was that I was able to look further into the information that was staring right at me within these records. What was the reason that motivated my ancestors to move around the country or why did they change occupation.

The second benefit from writing my own book was that I could spot holes in the knowledge of my anestor’s life. Therefore I could then either check out Ancestor or FindMyPast for more information.

So learn what you can from census records. They can put you well onto your family history journey. But take your time and work at your own pace.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post explaining what you can learn from the 1910 census records. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Author: Owain

Hello, Owain here. After researching my family history for a number of years I wanted to give back to the genealogy world. So here you will find guides, tips and product reviews that will help you on your genealogy journey.

10 thoughts on “What Can You Learn From The 1910 Census Records?

  1. Ben

    Wow, I never saw such as more comprehensive guide on how to find out your ancestry. I’m sure there are many people like me who do not know much about their ancestors and are very curious and eager to connect with their history and culture. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Genealogy is the number two hobby in the United States, (gardening being the first). There is just so much that you can find out about your family’s history. Before you do look at census records I suggest that you ask your family for help with your research. They will have plenty information to give you that will help immensely.

      All the best with your genealogy research.

      Reply
  2. Nan Johnson

    Hey Owain,
    This is some great information!! I have always wanted to trace my family history back and you have provided me with some very useful resources in order to do this. I have always only thought of using ancestry.com but just don’t have the money to spend on it. Now you have provided a free website to go to!!

    I never thought of using a census as a base for looking up my ancestry. I mainly think of using my grandparents’ names or great grandparents names and then go from there.

    It’s also interesting to know what they use the census for. It’s not only for counting the population of a certain city or town.
    Thank you for this valuable information
    Nan

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Nan,

      When I first started to trace my family history I used what research my father did. I then asked him lots of questions. From there I looked at census records. They were great for building my family tree.

      They can give you so many clues to the branches of your tree. Although you do need to be careful when adding people. I would suggest verifying the facts before you enter people in. There are many family trees on Ancestry submitted by members. But there are obvious errors with these. They are a great reference tool but use them wisely.

      All the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  3. Hanna

    Hi Owain,

    I think you did a good job here! Wanna know why? well as I am browsing your post and reading, all that a person needs how to locate and search his family origin are all there. From a macro point of you, you digest each of it for more clarity and its simplicity so your readers in all walks of life can understand it.

    I might try that sometimes, because I was told by my mom and dad that our grandfather is a world war 2 veteran. SO, I do not know more actually some of our relatives. I will get back here once i find out something.

    Thanks for sharing this…

    God bless you..

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Hanna,

      When I first started to look at census records I was in awe at the amount of information and also how easily it is to build out my family tree. You do need to use logic though when using your detective skills.

      It was only after writing my family history book fromwhat I found that I questioned the information that was right in front of me. So by doing this I had opened up a new dimension to research. I had looked at genealogy and now I was looking into my family history.

      I look forward to hearing what you find out about your grandfather. My U.S. Military Records Explained post will be of great help to you.

      Reply
  4. Craig

    I honestly had no idea there was so much information within the census records. I always thought it was basically just a name and a location and that was about it, pretty much the same for all of the ancestry websites that are out there. This is pretty eye opening and quite cool to realize that there is such a wealth of information at our fingertips! Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Based on your above comments it looks like Ancestry is your preference of Find My Past. If I had to choose one would you recommend Ancestry as the best paid option?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Yep Craig, there is just so much that you can learn from census records. They are a great resource for people to create and build their family tree. But also, I was surprised when I looked a little closer and saw that I could get further documents and really get to know my ancestors more.

      My preference does have to be Ancestry. It was my first paid website that I went to. I do still use FindMyPast, but for me it has to be Ancestry.

      Reply
  5. jairo

    I like your post !! I’m researching a little more thanks to your site !! It makes me very curious to know where my ancestors come from and in reality where I belong. Very motivating !!
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I am glad that I have motivated you Jairo. Genealogy is a great hobby for a number of reasons. It helps to stimulate your brain and gets you to work those brain cells. That must be good after all, right?

      Also, it is a personal hobby. What you find out is personal to you.

      I wish you all the best and hope that you can share your research in due course.

      Reply

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