During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses. Is there a way to search census records by specific address/locator?
The answer is yes and no. To my knowledge, there is no way to “plug” a specific address into the search boxes in Ancestry.com or HeritageQuestOnline.com to find a particular household. However, if your target family lives in a small town, you can use the browse option to the right of the search box in Ancestry.com to narrow down your search to state, then county, then township or town, then (if applicable), enumeration district. Then you can browse page by page, looking at the street names written on the left sides of the enumeration sheets and matching those with the house numbers in the far left column of each household’s information. For 1880 through 1930, there are enumeration district (ED) descriptions and maps available on microfilm that describe the boundaries of the enumeration districts and which streets were included in which ED.
Is there a way to correct a spelling of a name on the census?
Sites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry have a system in place for you to submit an alternate spelling of names in their census indexes. If you are hoping to alter the spelling of a name on the actual census record, no changes can be made to the legal document itself. The books for the 1790-1930 federal censuses were destroyed after the records were microfilmed, so there are no documents to alter at this time.
What will become of family history when the census now are available, from 1980 to 2010?
There is a 72-year waiting period before a census can be released, due to privacy laws. This means that the 1980 census will be released in 2052. The census was recorded on cards and was mailed to the Census Bureau. These cards have been retained and presumably will be published in some form at that time - presumably in some electronic format.