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Census CD Search Instructions-A Basic How To Manual

Welcome to the Census CD Search Instructions Page!

Searching for a given name within these CD's is fairly simple and straightforward.
This is NOT an automated database search.
It is a manual search for document photographs.

The basic differences:
A database contains surnames, towns, city, etc with each typed into a document.
When you type a request, anything matching your query is returned in a list form.

Hence, it is possible to look for an unknown ancestor simply by typing in a surname.
Many people use this type of database and are quite satisfied with it for the most part.
You must realize however, it adds yet another persons interpretation of the original document.

In using these CD's however...
You'll instantly realize you're looking directly at history, just as it actually happened!
These are not someones "re-typing" of a form with typos that misguide you on important data.
They are photographs of the actual original handwritten documents as they were transcribed.
Early ones were performed at local town offices, then later were written from door-to-door.

One of the very best verification methods available anywhere.--Why is this important?
The software included produces a very high level of clarity at zoom magnifications.

These are visual replicas of actual historical documents.
Click here to see what else you can do with them!

Secondly, as for working with the files, the more info you have, the quicker you will find things.
This is not nearly as difficult to do as it is to explain...
Each piece of data you know quickens your search.
For instance:
A known ancestor was alive in a certain town during a census and you wanted the document.

1) The year (i.e. 1880)
2) The state (i.e. Maine)
3) The county (i.e. Aroostoock)
4) The town (i.e. Caribou)

5) District/Precinct (certain censuses only)
6) Street (certain censuses only)
7) Surname of the ancestor being queried

The year and state are very obvious, but from there, you progress through files in a systematic check.
Within each County, towns are then "usually" listed in alphabetical order (With a few exceptions).

District and street are found in the more advanced years of the census takings.
As with anything, they got better as they went on.

With practice, one can become fairly profiecient at finding a desired file very quickly.
You will discover from your research prior to 1850, you will start to become a better genealogist.

The reason for this, as you will see, is that explicit early family data was not very well kept.
This became problematic when there were similar first and last names within the same town.
Eventually better data was kept, inadvertantly making it easier for future genealogists to follow.

The upside, is that with practice you will understand why it is important NOT to take for granted the information found on websites regarding your ancestors.
You will soon realize that all is not really what it appears on those sites.
Many of them are run by "user input", which is basically copy/paste instead of real research.

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