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Census Template Examples""

Most family historians will spend a considerable about of time dealing with census records. This template contains a total of 17 elements, three of which are REQUIRED (these are highlighted in red). The following describes each field and examples of census record entries are provided.

Master Source

  1. Primary Creator: Provide the name of the entity for which the census was created. More than likely, this will be the name of a country or state. This field is REQUIRED.
  2. Dept. or Office: Input the government agency or entity that was responsible for creating this census.
  3. Date: Enter the exact date that the this census entry was created.
  4. Source Description: As per the default example on the template, this record should be listed as "1930 U.S. Census". While the above example is not incorrect (as long as the user is consistent), "Fifteenth Census" is meaningless for many people. In addition, the use of tags (e.g., <i>) should NEVER be used with Simple Citations as formatting is embedded in the RootsMagic template! (Punctuation is also embedded in the template.)
  5. Person(s) of Interest: Census records often list families. In such cases, list the name of the "head of household" followed by the word "Family". As this is the master source record, I will use the correct spelling of the surname, even when an incorrect spelling is listed on the census record.
  6. Publisher: As in noted in the "hints", This field should have been left blank. Furthermore, even if a publisher's name is required (which would only occur very rarely if the census record had been obtained from a printed book, magazine, or other traditional source), the title, information about the database, the appearance of "Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.", and the year (2002), should never been included in this field.
  7. Publisher Location: Again, according to the "hint" provided on the template, this field should have been left blank. A location would only be listed if the census record was obtained from a book or other printed source.

Source Details

  1. Page Number(s): The only information that should be listed here is the page number. If a "sheet number" is provided, then that may also be used (e.g., "sheet 1-B"). No other information should be listed here.
  2. Person: List the name of the specific person that this citation refers to. I usually use the spelling found on the Census Record, even when it has been misspelled.
  3. Location: Enter the city, county, state, and country where this census was taken. (I do not list the country for U.S. census records as the country is implied by the presence of a state name.)
  4. Census Enumeration District: This is an optional field. I will include this information whenever possible, as it can be very helpful in assisting others to locate this same document.
  5. Census House. ID: Although it's possible to include the house or street address, only the dwelling and family number are needed (even now, I'm debating if this information is really necessary in a citation).
  6. Repository: This is an optional field that I only use if this source was obtained over the Internet of if it's a one-of-a-kind document that is held in a private collection. If this document was obtained from a library, DO NOT list the repository. Traditional citations (e.g., those found in bibliographies never list a repository as it's not needed.).
  7. URL: Although the full URL may be appropriate, I'm now listing only the home page of sites where a document is located (e.g., http://www.ancestry.com) as many on these, particularly those requiring subscriptions, the actual URL is not available.
  8. Date File Accessed: This is another optional field that I only use to cite sources that were obtained on the Internet. In all other cases, it should be left blank.
  9. Misc. Ref. Num.: I have now used Simple Citations for more than a year and have yet to use this field. It is quite possible that this will be removed in the future.
  10. Personal ID: The information placed in this field should refer to the personal numbering system you use to organize your family history. This information should never be printed on reports or in your citations. It is only used to help you keep track of your documentation.


1915 New York State Census

Example: 1915 New York State Census

Example Citation:

New York, Secretary of State (1915). 1915 New York State Census: Raymond La Marca Family. || p. 30. Raymond La Marca. Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York. Election Dist. 1, Assembly Dist. 1.



Although the information from this state census is different than what might be commonly found on a U.S. Census, the template works as intended. In this state census, there was no enumeration district or house ID to document. An "Election District" and "Assembly District, however, were provided. Although that information is not absolutely essential to finding this record again, it may be helpful and is listed under "Misc. Ref. Num." (this field could have also been left blank but I felt the information was useful).

1870 U.S. Census

Example: 1870 Census

Example Citation:

United States, Bureau of the Census (6 August 1870). 1870 U.S. Census: Conrad Steigerwalt Family. || p. 33. Conrad Stagerwalt. Tymochtee, Wyandot County, Ohio, dwelling 278, family 238. Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 31 October 2011).



Conrad Steigerwalt's surname is frequently misspelled (as it was on this census). The correct spelling of the surname is listed under the "Person(s) of Interest" field and the incorrect spelling (as it is entered on the census), is listed under the "Person" field.

1940 U.S. Census

Example: 1940 Census

Example Citation:

United States, Bureau of the Census (17 April 1940). 1940 U.S. Census: Samuel La Marca Family. || sheet 16-A. Samuel La Marca. Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California; enumeration district 60-434, household 365. Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2 April 2012).



The 1940 U.S. Census does not list a dwelling or family number. The Census House ID should therefore list the household number (item # 3 on the Census record).




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