Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow has written a useful article, “Using the 1890 Civil War Veterans’ Census,” which can be read at Since most of the 1890 U.S. Population Census was destroyed, it is important to locate other sources that can provide helpful data for the time period of 1880 to 1900, and this special Veterans’ Census does that. Crow’s article, as well as readers’ comments, provide helpful clues for researchers.

1870 Census unique

Researchers should also be familiar with some of the distinctive features of the 1870 US Population Census. has posted “an in-depth look” of this tabulation at

Census records 1790-1840

Beginning researchers may have a tendency to rely on information found only in census records beginning in 1850, when all the residents of a household are named. However, the censuses before1850 (every ten years beginning in 1790) can be helpful. The National Archives has posted an important article dealing with the clues found in those early censuses (1790-1840), which can be read at

'Double dating' explained

Double dating for genealogists is a term that has nothing to do with social relationships. It’s a calendar condition — and needs some clarification.

Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter has posted a most comprehensive explanation of these calendar conditions at Be sure to read readers’ comments that include information on Quakers, who did not use the names of months “but rather used their numbers.”

Also, visit Steve Morse’s website ( for links to additional calendar information.

First name abbreviations

Many old city directories, as well as some historic documents, had abbreviated first names — sometimes leading to incorrect translations. GenealogyInTimeMagazine has posted a helpful reference list of meanings of those abbreviated names at Also, according to the article, “our ancestors were taught how to abbreviate common first names using superscripts and/or strike lines.”

Be sure to scroll down to the end of the article for links to Further Resources, such as City Directory Abbreviations and Occupation Abbreviations.

Copyright-free explained

Copyright can be confusing! Judy G. Russell (“The Legal Genealogist”) has posted some “non-legal advice” on the definition of copyright-free at She advises that anyone who wants “legal advice should consult an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the person resides.”

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has published an excellent guide, "Carmack’s Guide to Copyright and Contracts: A Primer for Genealogists, Writers and Researchers," 119 pages, published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. in 2005, reprinted in 2007, ISBN 9780806317588.

As described by the publisher at, “Each chapter lays out a specific principle of copyright or contracts and then addresses the topic with situations specifically applicable to genealogists.” The book costs $19.50 plus shipping — a real bargain for the information it contains. Perhaps a local library has a copy. Visit the publisher’s website at for more information.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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