Every American should have received the 2020 US Census questionnaire by now —either in the mail or left at your door. There may be individuals who have not received their questionnaire, but it is possible to be counted by going on the Internet and visiting https://my2020census.gov/login.

Do not be discouraged if you do not have a 12-digit Census ID when you are requested to log in. Click on the appropriate link at this website and proceed by answering all the questions. When completed you will receive a “thank you” and a confirmation number which you can save or print.

“If you receive other mail from the Census Bureau about the 2020 Census in the next few days, please disregard it.”

It is important that every American is counted!


Why not spend this “lockdown time” making a contribution to the genealogical community? BillionGraves, at https://tinyurl.com/y7r5ug35, lists a dozen ideas for volunteering and helping others. Also, be sure to click on the links to other helpful articles; for example, “What is the difference between BillionGraves and Find a Grave for Researchers?”


Genealogist George G. Morgan’s The Genealogy Guys Blog, at https://tinyurl.com/y7sj9ybz, has reported that “Family Tree Magazine is offering a free download of their March/April 2020 issue in light of the pandemic quarantine.” This 84-page issue, accessible directly at https://tinyurl.com/y9kwjnvn, includes many articles helpful to researchers. For example, 26 Research Tips for Census Research; Comparing “the fab four,” Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Find my past, and My Heritage; Research Guides for Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin; and Free Collections on Subscription Websites.

Genealogists are sure to appreciate the wealth of information in this issue — and free.


Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter recently reported that “the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners … (so) that people who cannot physically address their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis.”

Read Eastman’s article at https://tinyurl.com/ydh53qm7 (including readers’ comments for more information). A search in the National Emergency Library can be made at https://tinyurl.com/vqydjme.


Researching in newspapers for information about ancestors can be most rewarding. Knowing how to conduct such research does require some skill and beginners — as well as advanced — researchers might be helped by an article, “Newspapers for Genealogy: 8 Mistakes to Avoid,” found online at https://tinyurl.com/u675m5j.

For example, it should be remembered that the process used to mechanically convert images of typed, handwritten, or printed text to a searchable format uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Sometimes this process does make mistakes, such as when the original documents were faded or damaged. This article cites some common OCR mistakes and also suggests that researchers start an OCR error list of mistranscribed words and surnames, thus enabling future searches to include such misspellings.

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 JBGriffis@aol.com.

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