So think you know everything there is to know about the Census?
Well think again!
The course works well with a mixture of video learning, working examples and written text which slowly builds up the student’s knowledge of the Census. This combined with an interactive quiz at the end of the main sections helps to confirm what you have learnt. The format works well and will benefit those that prefer visual learning, as well as those that prefer to learn by reading.
The introduction sets the scene for the course content and is followed by a general overview of the whole census process and why it was taken. The course then moves through each Census year and lets you know what you should expect to find on a typical census return for each year in turn. A great addition at the end of the first section is the explanation of the Census abbreviations and markings, great advice for beginners and also a good refresher for people such as myself, an enthusiastic amateur! Once you have completed the fun interactive quiz, you can move onto the very aptly named next section, “Digging Deeper”
Digging Deeper does exactly what it says and takes the knowledge that you learnt in the first section and expands it further, with lots of ideas and suggestions of how you can interpret what you find and apply it to your research. This section also covers where to look to find the various census returns and, more importantly, includes some great advice on how to search effectively. Search methods are key to finding your Ancestors in the census and this section contains essential information for making the most of the Returns. The resource list is also a helpful addition and this section is again completed with a quiz to confirm the student’s knowledge.
The final section starts with a video that shows you how to take the next steps with your research. It also introduces the 1939 Register, which although not a Census in its own right, serves to fill some of the gaps where the census returns were either not taken or, ones that were have yet to be released. The course is completed with a checklist which can be printed off and kept for future reference plus a handy data sheet of key Census dates which again, can be downloaded and saved.
So although initially aimed at the beginner, don’t be put off by the tag - there are enough useful references and reminders that would be of benefit to those classed as intermediates. So why not sign up and improve your Census skills today and hopefully take your Family History Research to the next level.
A possible suggestion for a future online tutorial could be to explore “What happens when your Ancestor is missing from the Census?”
Paul Chiddicks - Reviewed 22 September 2019.