and write, and much more. Census records provide fantastic sources of information to be sure.
What many beginners fail to do in their quest for knowledge about their families is look beyond the obvious information for more clues in the census data. By expanding your review of the census data beyond your own family, you will be surprised what you learn. Look at the neighbors of your family. Who were they? Often times you will find cousins and in-laws who lived right down the street. In rural areas especially you may find future husbands and wives of your relatives. You can also tell if your family lived in an ethnic neighborhood by reviewing the names and places of birth of their neighbors. If there was a church in the neighborhood, it may give you a clue of what religion your ancestor practiced and may be another source to obtain family records. By reviewing your ancestors’ neighbors, you may also be able to learn about the socio-economic status of your family. What types of jobs did the neighbors hold?
What types of businesses were in the neighborhood your family lived in? All of this information paints a clearer picture of who are ancestors were and how they lived their lives.
Take your time and review information in census records beyond your family. You will be glad you did.