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Genealogy Tip of the Day
Page Numbers in the U.S. Census
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When viewing a microfilm image from the U.S. census you may notice several different page numbers listed on the page - a stamped page number, as well as one or two handwritten page numbers. Handwritten page numbers may have been written in by the enumerator when he originally recorded the census information, or by photographers when the census was microfilmed. After the census was compiled, the Census Bureau bound the pages into books and a page number was stamped in bold in the upper right hand corner of each set of facing pages, leaving the other page blank. These page numbers are now referred to as A and B pages (Ex. 11A and 11B). Most census indexers used the stamped page numbers, but some used the ones that were handwritten. This was especially true in the earlier census years. If you cannot find your ancestor's census listing from the page number listed in the index, you may just be using the wrong set of page numbers. First check the book or CD-ROM for an introduction which may explain which numbers were used. If you are unable to locate a key, then try a bit of backwards research - find a name on the census page and then look for that name in the index. By comparing the page numbers on the census page to the one in the index, you will quickly be able to determine which page numbers were used in the index.

Page numbers were also often repeated from county to county, and sometimes even between enumeration districts (E.D.), so if you are having trouble finding an expected entry, be sure that you are looking in the correct county and district or township.

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