Sources Census

Sources Census

Sources in Ancestral Quest are composed of three parts. The most inclusive part is the Repository. It can hold many sources. This is where you found the Source you are using. Many other repositories may contain the same source, but these do not concern the documentation of your Source. The Source itself, which is the entry point for recording this information in Ancestral Quest, is the one required part of the three for your Source entry.

There are two typical types of sources. The first is a one-event document such as a birth certificate, death certificate, or single person headstone. The other is a multi-event document, such as a book, a census or a multi-person headstone. Multi-event documents typically use a Source to describe the document, and  Citations to show the specific information to be used, and likely to also show the exact location of that information within the source document.

Ancestral Quest comes with a pre-defined Census Event. The intent appears to be that you can list all census events under this one heading. I prefer to create a separate Event for each year within each country when there was a census involving my ancestors.

I also altered the Event type from the original. Here is how it comes by default.


I made changes to the parts outlined in red. I added two Description fields, and changed the code for the sentence builder to accommodate them. Here is the new Census US 1940 Event type.


If you would like to either alter the sentence building code in your default Census Event, or create new Census events, here is the code, which can be copied and pasted into the master Event record.

%(%2;%3;%1) was found on the census%4%<5 taken %@ %5>%<6 in %6>%<7, listed as ‘%7>.%<7’>%<0 Indexed record at URL: %0>

The first Description field allows me to list the line number and values found on that line. This makes it easier for others to find the line on the census page where I found the information I am using. In the second Description field, I store the URL to the indexed record for this individual, as found at The indexed page gives the interpretation others have decided upon for the handwriting found on that census line, and the relationships for people in a household.

Here is the 1940 census event being entered for my grandfather.


But first, I must find his family in the census. That process will be shown in another lesson.

Click HERE to see his page in the census.

This is part of the page which contains my grandfather, Arley George, and the deceased members of his family who were living with him at that time. They are found on lines 1-8 on this page.


In the Sources or Notes lesson, we compared Repositories to pet stores, Sources to fish tanks and Citations to guppies. Here we will concentrate on the guppies. I could give a separate Citation for each of the eight members of Grandpa’s family, including the line number, as part of the Citation. That would force the information on each to be totally different. (Line number, Name, Relationship, Age and possibly Marital Status) I avoided this by adding the first Description to the Event type. Events, by nature, are unique to each individual. By placing the line number and information about the individual in the Event, I can show just the information defining the page of the census on the Citation. That way I need only one Citation which will be shared by all of the members of the family, and even by any of the people on the page. It is like several people standing around a fish tank while they phone a friend. They can all point to the same guppy in the tank, and say, “This is exactly what I want my guppy to look like.”

It just happens that Arley’s brother Aaron is also on this census page. The list of his family members, continues on the next page of the census. The ones on the next page will have a different Citation.  Here is Aaron’s family, on lines 33-40.


Now, back to entering the 1940 census Event for my grandfather. We were just ready to click the Add button.


Click the Add button to either select an existing Event type or to add an Event type.


By copying the sentence building code above, you could alter the Census Event type here. You could also do it from the Edit tab on the Pedigree screen or the Family screen. Event Types is the last item on that menu. Instead we will select the Census US 1940 Event.


Here you see the event sentence as it looks with no values in the Event fields. It reads, “Arley was found on the census.” When we enter values into the fields, the sentence changes, and the new sentence building code comes into effect.


Now we are ready to create the Source. (Since my Source already exists, I will edit the record instead of adding a new one.)


We will click the Edit button instead of the Add button. They go to similar screens. (Only the names are changed to protect the innocent.) One is titled Edit Source and the other is titled Create Source. Either way the Source record eventually looks like this:


The Type field at the top left is used to break the full list of sources into manageable smaller groups. This Event is assigned to the Census group. The Quality field at the top right is a drop down window. Use it to indicate the degree of credence given to this Source type. It becomes the default value for the Citation, which can then be changed if needed while editing the Citation. The Repository button near the bottom left is used to either select an existing Repository or to add a new one. Our Repository is already selected, but we could select another one, or create a new one.


Here we could either select Find A Grave, or create a new Repository by clicking the Add button. If we clicked Add, this is what we would see, but we won’t.


Note that if you are using yourself as the Repository, it is probably wise to use your email address instead of your physical address. Remember that if you ever place your records on the internet, and you have included your telephone number, there are people from all over the world who use the internet. Night time for you may be Day time for them.

We will exit both of these screens because we already have the Repository created. Now we are back on the Select Source for… screen, where we will select the Census US 1940 Source.


This Source is found at Finding it is a whole other lesson. Once it is found, it looks like this:


This is an Indexed Census Record. The URL for this page, highlighted in blue at the top of this image, is saved as the second Description field in the Census US 1940 Event. The first Description field in the Event is for the Line number and other identifiable facts about the individual. The dark box at the upper right of the image is a link to the image of the census page containing Arley and his family. Right click this image to open that census page image in another tab. The large box to the left of this link contains the information typed by the person who indexed this census page. It is the information for my grandfather, Arley George. The list of names below this box contains links to the index records for the people who lived in the household where Arley George was Head. His name is bold because the information on this indexed record is his. As you continue to add census Events to the members of this household, you will click on each name in blue, to get the indexed record for each person. The information for each goes on that person’s census Event record. The information on the indexed census record is specific to the individual, not the census page, so it belongs in the Event, not the Citation. Below the list of names is the citation created by FamilySearch for this record about Arley George.


I copy and paste this citation into the Actual Text of Citation field.


This is the Citation record before fields are entered. On the right of the Citation record is a box labeled Citation Image. To the right of this box are three buttons labeled Attach, View and Remove. The View and Remove buttons are inactive. If you click the Attach button, AQ will present the Add Scrapbook Item for… screen. This is a guppy with all the people pointing to it.


It has a drop-down window in the upper left corner. The default value for this field is Photo. In order to get AQ to expect a URL instead of a photo, change the value to Other. Go back to the image of the census page, and copy part of  the URL from the address line at the top. Copy everything starting with the letters http until, but not including the first question mark. Paste it into the Filename or URL field, and click OK.


This is how it looks when it is completed. The former Attach button now reads Edit, and the box it refers to is now labeled Attachment. Instead of a photo, the box shows the URL to the census page image. This Citation record now describes the census page, and can be used for every name appearing on that page. To make this possible, click the Memorize button on the bottom line of the screen. AQ will tell you that the Citation must be saved first, and ask if this is what you want to do. Click the Yes button. All of the other names in this household, or any names on this census page can now be entered, and will point to this Citation, if you click the Use Memorized button instead of creating a new Citation to look exactly like this one. It is already built, so use it.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment. I would like to hear from you!



1 Comment

  1. N L Vardell

    Amazing! Thank you for the step by step detail.

I would like to hear from you!

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