Census Facts and Methodology
Census, both Federal and State, provide a snapshot in time. Our goal is to capture those snapshots and provide them as a tool for your family / genealogy research.
The census that we provide here are the same ones we use in verifying cemetery data, births, and deaths. Currently we are concentrating on Jefferson County, New York, however we are working on adjacent Counties as time permits.
Several things to remember when working with our, or for that matter anyone's, census information, is that it is rarely 100% complete or accurate.
We attempt to decipher the handwriting as accurately as possible but some of the entries are impossible to read.
The spellings of names are either not recorded accurately on the original documents or the individual completing the document didn't or couldn't understand it accurately. Also the education level, time of day, environmental factors (rain, cold, snow, etc.), and native language of the subject all impact on how accurately the data was recorded.
Some of the ways we try to ensure the accuracy of our data:
- Each entry is reviewed by at least two individuals
- For unusual names, we look for them in both an earlier and later census, if available. Then we search the burial records.
- Unlike most census sites, we expand the common abbreviations used for first names. For example Saml expands to Samuel, Jno to Jonathan, Wm to William, etc. While this is not a "true" or literal extract it is more realistic. This also greatly enhances our ability to correlate the data with other databases.
As with any data you find during your research, remember it is but a small piece of a puzzle that has no example photograph, all the pieces have an identical shape, and are done in shades of gray. And as we used to say in a prior life "the truth changes daily."