Locating Census Records

Printer Friendly Version



 January 2008 

1141 Adam Street Tracy
California  95376
(209) 832-1106
EMAIL:[email protected]


        A new year is upon us and with it comes changes in TAGS that we hope will encourage you in your hunt for those illusive ancestors.  Michael Davis has some wonderful meetings planned for the coming year and we continue to work on our Cemetery and Mortuary Projects along with our First Family Project.  If you have any extra time on your hands and would like to help we would be thrilled to hear from you.  Our major fundraiser of the year is coming up (our April auction).  This lone fundraiser is the means for TAGS to order any library materials and keep us afloat financially.  Please keep TAGS in mind when you start your spring cleaning and set the date in your calendar.  Our need is two-fold:  we need items to sell and people to buy them.  Please check out our new schedule – and come on down to the office and see what’s new!

         A huge thank you to all who bought Festival of Giving tickets in support of TAGS.  Your generosity made it possible to pay our yearly insurance bill!

Recent Library Acquisitions:

These items were graciously donated by TAGS member Brian Blair. 


Mecklenberg family (this inquiry came from Barbara Dohlen who became a TAGS member and also was awarded First Family status). 
Charles McNutt family (inquiry came from Martha Aldridge)

            The James’ family have a new twig in their tree!  Catrina Rochelle James was born Jan. 5th and makes the 4th grandchild (under 6!)  Exciting times in that household. 





Research Recommendations: TNA's Paleography Tutorial
by Michael J. Leclerc
The National Archives of England and Wales (TNA) is developing an incredibly rich website. In addition to the many wonderful records, such as wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, they have a large number of resources to assist you in your British research. One of these is a guide to paleography (or palaeography as it is spelled in Britain).

Paleography is the study of old handwriting. The online tutorial at TNA was developed with the School of Library, Archives, and Information Studies at University College London, and won The Times Higher Awards 2006 for the Most Imaginative Use of Distance Learning.

The first section of the tutorial tells you where to start. It gives you a discussion of reading, standard phrases, transcribing (vs. abstracting), spelling, and abbreviations. There is also a discussion of the Old English letter called a thorn, which looks like today’s letter ‘y.’ It is always pronounced as a ‘th,’ never as a ‘y.’ For example, “Ye Olde Tea Shoppe” is pronounced “The Old Tea Shop.” Ye and Yt should always be transcribed as the and th[a]t. The next section is a quick reference guide for dating calendar and regional years, numbers, money, measures, and counties.

The tutorial itself is interactive, with ten documents ranging from easiest to hardest to read. Each document gives you information about the specific document and transcription tips specific to that exercise. The first (and easiest) document, for example, is a letter dated 16 March 1554 from Elizabeth I, when she was a princess, to her sister, Queen Mary I.

The next page shows an image of the original document, which you can magnify to see more easily. There is a box underneath the image for you to transcribe, line by line, the entire document. The Elizabethan letter, for example, has 54 lines. You then click submit, and it will tell you how you did with your transcription. You can also download a PDF of the entire tutorial.

The next section provides links to numerous sixteenth-to-eighteenth century documents and their transcriptions for you to do additional practice with. There is a game section, the ducking stool game, which uses a woodcut of a seventeenth-century woman who is about to be lowered into the river. Whether she is completely submerged or not depends on your ability to transcribe certain words. The tutorial wraps up with a bibliography of additional resources for further reading.

This online tutorial is an easy, no-pressure way for you to learn how to read ancient documents. Try it out and see for yourself how much easier it will be for you to read those documents yourself instead of having to get someone else to translate them for you. You can see the tutorial at nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/default.htm.

Spotlight: Resources of The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS)
by Valerie Beaudrault

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) was organized in 1964 to “foster interest in genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and train researchers in effective and accurate techniques.” According to its website, the SCGS is “the largest volunteer-managed genealogical society west of the Mississippi.”

Los Angeles City Cemetery

Among the resources available on the SCGS website are materials about the Los Angeles City Cemetery. Researchers will find an overview of the cemetery’s history. The Los Angeles City Cemetery was the first non-Catholic cemetery in city. It was also known as Protestant Cemetery, Fort Moore Hill Cemetery, Fort Hill Cemetery, and “the cemetery on the hill.” The earliest documented burial in the cemetery was that of Andrew Sublette, originally from Kentucky, He was buried on December 19, 1853, after he lost his life in a fight with a grizzly bear in the Santa Monica Mountains.

According to the website, some sources viewed the cemetery as a single entity with both public and private sections. Other sources considered the private portions as separate cemeteries for groups such as the Masons, Improved Order of Red Men, French Cemetery (Societe Francaise), and IOOF (Odd Fellows), among others. The city took charge of the cemetery about twenty years after it was established. Around the turn of the twentieth century, unused parts of the city cemetery were given to the Board of Education for a high school, which took over more and more of the land. In May 1947, the last bodies were removed from the abandoned cemetery.

A long lost Burial Journal for the Los Angeles City Cemetery was rediscovered in 1999. It covers the period 1869–1888. A copy of the journal can be found in the SCGS library. There are other sources for interments in the cemetery. Lists of names and other burial information have been provided on the website. The information comes from a monograph by Edwin H. Carpenter entitled Early Cemeteries of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Times articles on Memorial Day ceremonies and activities of local G.A.R. posts noting the names of veterans buried there, as well as from other LA Times articles, including obituaries and news articles.

There are two indexes to Los Angeles City Cemetery Burial Journal on the website. One is an alphabetical listing of individuals buried in the cemetery. The other is a listing by burial date. The data fields are the same for both indexes. They include image number, name, burial date, age, sex, condition (marital status, child), nativity, remarks, and cemetery. The remarks field contains cause of death information. The cemetery field contains information as to whether the individual was buried in the public section of the cemetery or in one of the private sections.

Los Angeles County Burial Permits 1870-1892

To compile this index, volunteers from the Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library have extracted information from burial permits on file at the Los Angeles County Vital Records Department, located in Norwalk, California. The Burial Permits index covers the years 1870 through 1892 and contains information about individuals who died in Los Angeles County. Burial permits were signed by such individuals as Catholic priests, ministers, doctors, medical attendants, and Justices of the Peace of Los Angeles County or by individuals who were in attendance when the person died. This may not be a complete listing, as some records were hard to read because they were faded.

The data fields include ID number, name, date of death, age, race/color, sex, condition, nativity, place of death/residence, place of burial or church, occupation, miscellaneous, and certificate number. Information found in the miscellaneous column includes information such as number of years the individual lived in Los Angeles and name of a parent or spouse. There is a key to the abbreviations used in this index.

1890 Project

The 1890 Project of the SCGS is their effort to reconstruct 1890 U.S. Census for Los Angeles County from a variety of sources. The project’s goal is to account for everyone who would have been enumerated on the 1890 census. The primary source for the project is an ‘every local-name’ index of the Los Angeles Times from January 1, 1890, through December 31, 1890. Other sources of information for the project will include vital records, church records, education records, city directories for the Los Angeles area, immigration and naturalization records, cemetery listings, occupation information, military rosters, and property and tax records.
From NEHGS Newsletter #346, Oct. 31, 2007



          Here are a few items to keep in mind when researching the Indian Census records:



What does "Warning Out" mean and how did it pertain to Plymouth Colony and early New England

ANSWER:  “Warning Out” was a custom practiced in colonial times in an attempt to keep religious order and discourage the settlement of “undesirables”.  The custom was transferred from England along with a number of long-standing land codes that came with colonization.  In the old country, it was customary that a village would accept the responsibility for the conduct and support of each other.  The old English term was “frankpledge” which roughly translated meant that if towns were corporations established by free consent, then it was the right of these free inhabitants to deny residency to those that were not considered desirable.  The idea of “warning out” was centered on the custom that, once granted the right of inhabitancy, a person was also granted the right to be supported by the town if the person later became unable to support himself.  Without legal inhabitancy an individual had no status in a town.  Violators were warned that they had “no power to act in any town meeting till better evidence

appear of their legal admittance; nor to claim title or interest to any town privileges as town’s men” until their settlement was actually approved. 


            What is the “Pre-emption Act of 1841” and when was it repealed? 


It was the first day of census, and all through the land;
The pollster was ready...a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride;
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side,
a long winding ride down a road barely there;
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up thru the air,
The woman was tired, with lines on her face;
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place,
She gave him some water...as they sat at the table;
And she answered his questions...the best she was able.

He asked of her children...Yes, she had quite a few;
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride;
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
He noted the sex, the color, the age...
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.

At the number of children, she nodded her head;
And he saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
The places of birth she "never forgot,"
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon...or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear;
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such;
They could read and write some tho really not much,
Wit the questions all answered he job there was done;
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God Bless you all for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp...it's now you and me;
As we search for the people on our family tree.

We squint at the census and scroll down so slow;
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long ago day;
That the entries they make would effect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel;
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real.
We can hear if we listen the words they impart;
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart.

          - Author Unknown
printed in Root Cellar Preserves, Jun 2007-Sep 2007, Vol. 29, No. 3
Sacramento Genealogical Society, Sacramento, California

If you are interested in becoming a First Family Applicant for Tulare Twp., or know of anyone who might be interested, you can download the form from our TAGS website or pick up an application at the office.  Let us help you get started and on the journey to honor your ancestors. 
A major effort will be underway shortly to finish up the walking/documentation of the Tracy Public Cemetery.  This will include taking photos of all headstones.  If you would like to be on this Committee please contact Jan James.  The more help we have the sooner we can get this project behind us and we can start on other cemeteries in the area. 


JANUARY 23, 7:00
at the TAGS library
FEBRUARY:   No meeting
MARCH 30th : Round Table Study from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the TAGS Library
APRIL:  April 17th at 6:00  TAGS Annual Auction
MAY:  No meeting
JUNE 29th:  Round Table Study from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the TAGS Library
JULY 16th:  TAGS Annual Picnic, 6:00pm at the James home


The TAGS newsletter is published bimonthly
                (Feb., Apr., Jun., Aug., Oct., Dec.)
                Website: sites.rootsweb.com/~catags

Office hours:
Tues. and Fri. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sun. 1 – 4 p.m.
General Membership Meetings:
Check calendar for dates and times
TAGS Library
1141 Adam Street
Tracy, CA  95376
Membership Dues (annually):
Individual         $ 20.00
Family                $ 27.00
Editor:  Jan James