Casefile Clues

02 September 2011

Archives.com and Their Census

Regular readers know that I'm not a "copy and paste" sort of person.

I've been reading about Archives.com and decided to take a look at their new materials--particularly their census indexes and images. I'm always on the lookout for new indexes or different ones that may "find" a person I have been unable to locate elsewhere. There census offerings have generated a fair amount of press, but I'm not certain people will want to give up their other memberships just yet--although Archives.com is a alternative for those who don't need access to some of the other databases. Note that as of this writing all images did not appear to be up (we'll update this if changes to this post are needed).

I did a little searching. My search was for James Rampley--mainly because they are not many of them and I know who most of them are and where they should be. I found the ones I should, in the places where they should be.


The images do allow users to manipulate the image right in the browser--zoom/contrast/brightness controls are included.


At the time this post was written, there were not active links to 1920 and 1930 images--although there were index entries for those years in my search results.

In my searches, I noted links to actual images for the census years as indicated below. ALL CENSUS YEARS WERE INDEXED.


  • 1790-no image
  • 1800-no image
  • 1810-no image
  • 1820-no image
  • 1830-no image
  • 1840-no image
  • 1850-image
  • 1860-no image link on some--some were linked to Footnote.com[sic]
  • 1870-image
  • 1880-no image link
  • 1900-image
  • 1910-no image link
  • 1920-no image link
  • 1930--linked to Footnote.com[sic] images


I was pleased with the ones that had image links---and liked the images. The one below is from 1870:

I noted on the 1870 results that the specific residence was not listed. For the John Habben who appears in the next image, there was not a location more specific than Illinois, but with the film numbers, it would be possible to determine the location if the image were not available. It would be preferable to have the location on all search results pages.

It's worth a free trial at Archives.com to see if there are references you've not found anywhere else. That's what I'm hoping for in my own research. We'll post updates here as I look more into Archives.com and what it has to offer--there's always hope I find Anna Apgar in 1920.

That will be the real test of Archives.com for me...whether I can use it to find those hard to find people.

I also did not appear to be able to narrow searches by county--only by state. This is a limitation that's somewhat serious.