Counting the Sailors and Light House Keepers: Census Records on the Great Lakes

Census records are one of the most commonly used record sets for locating individuals in family groups. Research in the Great Lakes region is no different, however, there are some nuances pertinent to census research in this region. Following basic methodology for locating and identifying the correct individual(s) using the “FAN Club” principle, and ways to overcome issues with mis-indexed, mis-enumerated, and “missing” enumerations are also key.

This lecture describes enumerator instructions that are most important for understanding Great Lakes ancestors including instructions for dealing with occupations such as sailors and fishermen. A tour through state census records pertaining to the Great Lakes states, an examination of pertinent non-population schedules, and a look at Indian censuses is also presented.