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About these records
The greatest source of this data is the U. S. Census. The genealogical website FamilySearch.org helpfully supplies thousand of census page images and transcribes the basics: names, relationships, gender, age, and birthplace. We have added street addresses, household groupings, and work occupations. By following the links to the original documents, you will find even more information; a free FamilySearch account is required for access, although they are not the only source of census images.
The data was imported into a custom database to faciltiate its presentation and to identify and correlate people (and addresses) from census to census, a huge effort given the many spelling, abbreviations, handwriting and transcription inconsistency; complete accuracy is never assured! Even a town as small as Narberth has over 11,000 census records between 1900 and 1930.
Some explanation of the results:
Most birth years are calculated
The census did not record dates of birth. Rather, it includes "age at last birthday". Census dates:
- 1900: June 1
- 1910: April 15
- 1920: January 1
- 1930: April 1
- 1940: April 1
- 1950: April 1
Subtracting the age from the year before the census year gives us only 75% accuracy, with two exceptions. The 1900 census uniquely recorded the month and year of birth, so that record supercedes others in case of conflict. And subtracting the age from January 1, 1920 will be consistent, so it received second priority.
But… people may estimate or guess when they reported their own or someone else's age. You will see in these pages many, many examples of people who aged 5 or 6, or 14 or 15 years between censuses. And we have been informed that people may even lie about their age. The best hedge is to cross-reference birth dates across documents, giving more credence to records personally submitted by the individual or a family member or acquaintance, for example, the Narberth Roll of Honor, marriage, birth, draft, or death registrations, and tombstones. We invite any corrections (with evidence) you can share!
Searching by name
By default, this search will return any family name that matches or starts with your search term. For example, "John" will also return "Johnson" and "Johnston". You could search for "Jo" and get these names, along with "Jones", "Joslyn" and others. An auto-suggest list appears after typing at least two letters, offerring names from the database that start with (or, in some browsers, contains) the letters you've typed. In addition, autocomplete will suggest previous searches you've made.
Searching by “sounds like”
Soundex, patented in 1918, tries to match similar-sounding names, despite spelling differences. It seems ideally suited to the census, where spelling inconsistencies are common. However, soundex does have limitations. It works best with English names, less accurately with names derived from other cultures. It is based entirely on the consonants in a name. Vowels are ignored for the purposes of "sounds like" except insofar as they separate consonants. And because it preserves the initial letter, it may ignore first-letter sound-alikes.
Two Narberth examples: "Metzger" and "Juliani" are listed as appearing in a 1916 photo, but neither name appears in our Narberth people database. "Metzger" sounds like "Metzgar", so we find Cynthia Metzgar. Juliani sounds like "Juliano" and even "Joslyn" (it ignores vowels and the first of double consonants, so sees J L N in both). But it misses "Giuliani", which most of us would pronounce exactly the same, because it starts with a different letter.
When your search term does not turn up any matches, we automatically repeat it as a soundex search, in the hope that the suggestions must be more useful than zero results.
Soundex on Wikipedia
Soundex in the U.S. census