My name is Kathleen, and I have been researching my family history since I was a child. I love to go into county courthouses and smell the old books and paper... or is it dust? This blog will focus on the stories I've heard over the years and the research methods I follow. I am particularly interested in data management and cloud genealogy.

Some of my personal areas of interest include Southern Maryland and DC (Robie, Rhodes, Grimes, Lindsey), NY state (Hill, Cookingham, Flynn, Rhodes, Skinner, Wheeler, Mead, Havens, Trotter), NJ (Parcell), North Carolina and Eastern TN (Lynch, Seabolt, Spears), MO (Wilcox, Kiddell), and CA (Simi, Grady)

I am always happy to compare notes or share my experiences, so please leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Census templates are now available!

As part of my quest to add more tools for managing the genealogical research process, I've created a series of templates in Bento for recording federal census data.  Each one reflects a different year of the federal census.  My goal is to add another layer of usefulness to my Genealogical Research System.  Once you enter data in any of these census templates, Bento makes it available as a related data table from within my system.  Simply put, you can enter census data for an individual, and it automatically shows up as evidence for that person.  

Well......... technically, only I can do that at present.  

You can certainly begin to use these templates right away for entering data, but I haven't yet updated the Genealogical Research System in the Bento template exchange to reflect the more sophisticated data relationships I envision.  I will do that very soon!  I'm currently working on adding another component to my system, and it would be nice to update everything at once.

So for now, I've included a template for every census year from 1790 through 1940 (except for the lost 1890 census).  This is an image from the main screen of the US Census template folder:
Once you choose a census year to work on, you click on the icon and it opens the data entry form.  All the templates are formatted to include the columns from the original census in their original order, so all you have to do is tab from one to the next as you enter data from the original census page.  I've also included a field for you to drag and drop files from your computer, so you can store a digital image of the census in each record.  I've created separate forms for entering publication information and the actual data from the census, which makes it easier to follow visually.  For some of the early census years, there are also separate forms for the slave and free schedules.

Just to give you an idea, here's a screen shot from the 1810 template:
"publication data" form
"census data" form

Beginning in 1850, every member of a household was recorded in the census.  For all subsequent census years, I enter data for the head of household only, and use the memo field called "household members" to add information on the other members of that household.  This way I keep the household intact in a single entry, yet I can easily search for individuals using Bento's powerful search engine.   This is a sample page from the 1880 census that shows how I enter all the members of one household.

You can, of course, give each person their own database entry, but I think this method saves time without losing function.  Either way, as long as you link the individuals to their entry in your "Genealogy_people" library, you will be able to access related data from your other Bento libraries.

page in the "people" library showing records related to Zebulon Rhodes in other Bento libraries

page in the "people" library showing all records related to Zebulon Rhodes in the 1850 through 1910 census
(this page isn't yet included in my Genealogical Research System templates, but should be up soon)

I hope you find this useful, and would love to have your feedback.


  1. Great Job!!!

    Can't wait to see the whole system.

  2. I stumbled across your genealogy templates while looking for a movie database template. I'm very excited about all the genealogy templates you have done, and am going to study them further to see if I can start using them.
    Thanks for doing them and especially for sharing them!!!

  3. I have just started using Bento and am stumbling along.I love what you are doing and many thanks for sharing. Your templates are well thought out. I will give them a try.

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