Friday, April 3, 2009

Census Search Trick - Finding Non-Indexed Entries

Well, my Leehive saga continues. I spent much of yesterday looking for the 1930 Federal Census record for Michael Leehive, son of John Leehive, born 1870 in Greenwich, London, England. Being an Ancestry subscriber, I was using their search form and even utilizing my "no surname trick," I could not locate the information.

Thinking Michael had passed, I even tried his wife Catherine and his two children Julia and Michael, Jr. with no luck.

So, I thought: go with what you know. I knew that Michael Leehive and his family had appeared in the Kingston, New York census for 1900, 1910 and 1920. Since many of the other Leehive children had moved to Bayonne, New Jersey to work in the oil refinery business, I made searches there as well. No dice.

Thinking that Michael, at age 60 probably remained in Kingston, I looked closely at the 1920 Federal Census and found that Michael Leehive and family lived in the 5th Ward of Kingston, Board of Election District No. 1, and specifically at 222 East Union Street. Since they had lived at the same address since the 1910 Federal Census, there was a good chance I could find their 1930 Federal Census record by reviewing all the pages for the same enumeration district.

Upper left corner of census sheet showing state, county and division

Upper right corner of census sheet showing ward and enumeration district

So I performed a basic Leehive search in the 1930 Federal Census using Ancestry's search form:

Ancestry "old search" form

I pulled up the first result which was not a Leehive record but that didn't matter.  I just wanted access to the "breadcrumb" links above the record which read "New York, Ulster, Kingston."

Ancestry's 1930 Federal Census record for New York, Ulster, Kingston, District 14

I clicked on "Kingston and a list of enumeration districts displayed.  I scanned the list looking for Ward 5 - usually enumeration districts change from census to census and I could not be certain the 1930 Federal Census district was the same as the 1920 Federal Census district.

Enumeration district listing for 1930 Federal Census, Kingston, New York

I clicked the link for District 19 and was presented with Page 1 of 37 pages for the district.  I would need to scan each sheet and then click "Next" to proceed to the next sheet.

1930 Federal Census, Enumeration Distict 19, Kingston, New York, page 1

When I arrived at Page 7, my Michael Leehive was there waiting for me - at the same 222 East Union Street address as the 1920 Federal Census.  

(, accessed April 2, 2009, citing Census Place: Kingston, Ulster, New York; Roll: 1655; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 19; Image: 251.0

It is important to remember that when using online databases such as Ancestry, not all pages or entries may have been properly indexed or indexed at all.  After exhausting every other possible search method, the only method left was to do a visual review page by page.  I was lucky in that my Leehive family did not move since the 1920 Federal Census otherwise I'm not sure how I would have found them.


FamilyTwigs (Sheri Bush) said...

That is a very neat and useful trick!! Thanks. I'm going to give it a try.

Midge Frazel said...

I finally found my grandparents but I had to use Footnote's 1930 census. I discovered I hadn't looked at the census pages header. Ancestry scanned only the "B" pages for that ED in the town of Westerly RI and mine were on "A"! I'd been page by page too but I didn't notice that which tells you how tiring page by page can be. AArrgghhh!

Lisa Rex said...

Thanks for sharing. I am going to try again for my Emil Gassen ancestor who is 'hiding' in the 1930 census!


Randy Seaver said...

It was indexed, of course, as Lechire. Not hard to understand why.

I found it easily by using daughter Julia:

Given name = Julia
Father's name = Mic*

in Kingston, Ulster, NY.

It's easy when you know who to look for and where to look.

In 1930, you have to be careful because the birth places of spouses and children were not indexed. Another Ancestry indexing quirk.

Craig Manson said...

good stuff, Thomas! It's inspired me to take a second look at certain people I haven't been able to find. by the way, the incomparable Stephen Morse as a tool for finding enumeration districts (in some cities) based upon address. you can find it at