Census Record Citations

Dear Editor,

This is a long standing question for me, but I had thought I knew the answer.

Question: When  Citing a Census Record, should the Citation be a Per Person Citation or a Household Citation ?

Looking that EvidenceExplained and the Ancestry QuickSheet, the examples were not household based, it appeared to be for each individual.

For me the issue came to light when the Interface between my genealogy database management software and Ancestry.com changed. I have always done the Citation by Household, which included the Line Numbers as part of the citation, and the Head of Household's name, followed by "household".

In the past, I have one record, a census record page(s) for example, with links to many people, and many facts or events.

Ancestry changed it to be One Record, One Person, many facts or events.

I am looking at a 1910 Federal Census record, where there are 6 people in the household, plus 4 "parents of" people, with a total of 38 facts or events.

The Household method that I have been doing, would have had 1 Citation, linked to those 10 people, and 38 facts.

So, before I "fix" the citation(s) for this record, I thought I would ask for that clarification.

Thank you,


Submitted byEEon Fri, 03/22/2019 - 20:12

Russ, different researchers have different preferences. EE's examples typically cite the head of household. However, in many situations there will be a particular reason to call attention to someone in the household other than the household head. EE illustrates that in the QuickCheck Model at p. 237.

My commiserations on those software problems!

Submitted byrowrthingtonon Sat, 03/23/2019 - 18:43

Dear Editor,

I understand that page 237 example. That was one that I looked at.

What I didn't mention before, mostly because I was looking at my software, is when various programs that interface with websites, like Ancestry, are presenting the One Record, to one Profile, to many facts or events. My software accepts that. But, in the past (before Ancestry changed the API), I would get One Record, Many People, Many Facts. (the household citation). And I have seen, the exception appear, but, in the ones I have used, the exception person, is not related to the Head of Household, so that works very well. But post 1880 the Household citation works very well, on output and much easier on data entry.

I will pursue the software issue (again) and return to citation clean up based on the Household. I just wanted to make sure that things hadn't changed.

Thank you,


Submitted byjoannefr01on Tue, 03/26/2019 - 14:49

Russ, I am, by no means an expert at this, but I am a totally OCD person. I choose to do a different (but very similar) citation for each person in the household. This is because I include the line number on the census as part of the citation. Sometimes there is more than one sibling with the same name and the line numbers delineate them.