Complete 1890 Census Released!


The complete 1890 United States Federal census has been released!! Searches can begin immediately of this wonderfully detailed source for those with United States ancestors. 

It’s true and it’s misleading–just like many internet headlines and articles. Those headlines and articles, perhaps with a teasing image, get shared and forwarded before anyone ever actually reads what they are sharing or posting.

The statements about the 1890 census are true. The release was a complete copy of what portions of the 1890 census were extant. Those portions are minimal. Really minimal. The release was not recent, but a careful reading of the italicized comments under the image never says that. The exclamation points only add to the “excitement” and sense that this is a new development or that something additional has been discovered. The 1890 census became public in 1962, well before many genealogists were born. No matter how you slice time, 1962 does not qualify as recent.

But there is no doubt the headline got some people.

Some likely shared it without ever reading it.

And that, my friends, is exactly the point.

How often do you share or comment on an article without actually reading any of it? If the headline personally interests you or agrees with things you already believe, do you comment on it or share it before you have even read one word of the actual article? Sharing without reading is a great way to spread false or misleading information.

And there’s always the chance that the article makes some statement like “anyone who shares this is a total dork and admits that they are living in the 1980s,” or perhaps something worse.

If you want to share this to make the point, comment that “it was 1962, Susie Q.”