For the past three plus years, a dedicated team of
volunteers have met weekly at the KCGS office to index the index card resource
once used by the Chicago Title and
Trust Company to access the
title records in their possession. With
this effort by the KCGS volunteers, over 71,000 entries have been identified.
The index cards cover title search transactions from the
early-mid 1900s and provide connection to the contents of the title record
abstracts. While the contents of the index
cover the entirety of Kane County, not all title search transactions were
completed by Chicago Title and Trust.
In the coming weeks and months, KCGS will be working with
the Geneva History Center, which houses the abstract books, to make the data available
to researchers. Once processing is finalized, the resource will be another
great option for those with Kane County ancestors.
Genealogy 101 teaches us to search and use the census as
part of fundamental practices. It seems
with that minimal foundation, the collection of the censuses for ancestors can
transition into a “check the box” activity.
Sure, we can look at our census data and, perhaps, extract the important
data points: who is related to whom; who
was living where; family members and their ages. Over time we often struggle to fit these
pieces with the other data we collect.
There are age discrepancies across a lifetime; surname spellings just do
not align. What would cause that? Who can we blame?…The enumerator, of
Perhaps we need to rethink the role, the requirements, and
impact of the enumerator had on the data in the census. A great deal of responsibility fell on their
shoulders. Collecting district
information of people who may / may not have cooperated with the information
gathering process; who may / may not have been conversant in the language; or may
/ may not clearly known the facts themselves is an enormous task. This compounds their contractual responsibility
to gather reasonably sound data that supports governmental and representational
Standing in the enumerator’s shoes, let us consider the
following—they were human beings and had many of the same foibles people do
- Despite best efforts, they made errors.
- They were graded on their performance, so
records may have been re-written to provide the best example of their work.
- They may not have had the best day and writing
may not be clear or misspellings occurred.
- It was too much to complete in 1 day, so we need
to think about timing.
- Sometimes they had to backtrack and fit it when
- Sometimes they noted gossipy remarks / comments
- They had codes, markings, notes to make it
easier for them to do their job.
- They had rules they had to follow
The final point is the consistent point. Across the country each enumerator was given
a listing of codes / notations to use in obtaining data. This listing is important to the genealogist
and should become the next level of consideration when viewing our ancestral
data. What was meant by the questions
being asked? How were they asked? What is actually being asked? Could there be misunderstanding or
We need to be thoughtful of the content and consider that
there are sources to help breakdown the critical content in the census. Beyond the census themselves, consider the
following sites as your new sources for looking deeper into the census:
1. Census Instructions By Year – US Census
Clues in Census Records, 1850-1930 – NARA https://www.archives.gov/research/census/1850-1930.html
3. Enumeration Forms and Instructions – IPUMS https://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/tEnumForm.shtml
4. History of Enumeration Procedures – IPUMS https://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/enumproc1.shtml
In February, we challenge our members to try these options during our hands on meeting. Join us as we work together to take a new look at the census!
New Year is a great time to start a change! And that is what KCGS has decided for 2019—a new website look and web address!
Although we are still learning and trying to find the best way to communicate, our team will be working to provide updates through blogs and postings, as well as new information on genealogical research in Kane County, Illinois.
One thing that is new is a complete update of the names contained in our Master Every Name Index. The Database Management team has been hard at work compiling the listing to reflect the numbers of times an entry is found in our database. Presently, each alphabetic grouping of names is in excess of 100 pages. It is a profoundly useful tool and the team is very proud of their efforts. While it remains in progress, A-M is now available for review on our site. We will update when the remainder of the alphabetic listing is posted.
We encourage your feedback and comments.