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ENVR 273 - Land and Livelihood: Resources
This guide is an introduction to resources that may be use for ENVR 273: Land and Livelihood with Prof. Ethan Miller. Many more resources may be available depending on the specific location in the United States you are researching, often via state archives or historical societies. Please contact librarian Christine Murray to discuss other resources.
Ancestry will be your main source for finding documents about people.
Unlike individual subscriptions to Ancestry.com, does not include the option of developing a linked online genealogy.
Ancestry contains collections of many different kinds of documents, and you can search across all of them if you have a name, a location, and some approximate dates. You can also search directly within specific collections of documents by finding the collection under Search > Card Catalog.
If any of your ancestors lived in the United States between 1790 and 1940, chances are that you can find at least some of them in the U.S. decennial census schedules. Schedules are the forms used to capture information about all U.S. residents on census years (years ending in zero), and they can be accessed through Ancestry. Depending on the year, you can find where people lived, whether they owned their home, and in some cases the value of their real estate.
The most recent census currently available is from 1940, so you may want to start with a family member who was alive at that time and trace backward.
This publication lists questions asked in each census by decade, along with instructions to enumerators (census-takers).
Where did they come from?
Ancestry is also a resource for finding where someone emigrated from. In some cases, you will be able to find specific immigration records. But in addition, census records may list parents' countries of origin.
To understand why immigrants came to the U.S., in most cases the best you can do is infer as reason from the history of the country of origin.
"Indicates the number and location of each cession by or reservation for the Indian tribes from the organization of the Federal Government to and including 1894, together with descriptions of the tracts so ceded or reserved, the date of the treaty, law or executive order governing the same, the name of the tribe or tribes affected thereby, and historical data and references bearing thereon."