Ancestors Tree


Students will:

Identify and compare information from a Census record.



Census: a count of the population in a specific place (e.g., a state or country); a record made of the count.





Episode Overview

This episode presents two major American records that are commonly used in your family history research. Part one introduces Gary Bryant. He was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Instead of feeling patriotic towards his service, he was depressed and ashamed. Later, through family history, he discovered 27 ancestors who were American soldiers. As he learned of their sacrifices to serve, his image of his country and himself were forever changed. In part two, expert Curt Witcher will explain the type of information that can be found in Census and military records.

Before Viewing the Episode

  • Duplicate the student handout on the next page.
  • Have each student find their copy of the Family Group Record they created in Episode 4, for the family of William Henry Whitaker and Mary Jane Wyatt.
  • Read aloud the EPISODE OVERVIEW and OBJECTIVE.

After Viewing the Episode

Identify and compare valuable information from a census record

  • Review with your students the information they have recorded on their copy of the Family Group Record they created in episode four, for the family of William Henry Whitaker. Have them read each name, date and place.
    note: See episode four, activity one for a description of the information that should be written on the family group record.
  • Remind your students that in episode four, they used a compiled record to learn about William Henry Whitaker’s wife (Mary Jane Wyatt) and children. In this episode, they will use information from an original record, the 1870 Census Record of Manatee County, Florida to compare what they know and to add new information.
  • Distribute the student handout on the next page.
  • Point out to them that:
    --Information on this census record is over 125 years old.
    --The second line from the top reads "Schedule 1. Inhabitants in Township Thirty Four (34), in the county of Manatee, State of Florida, enumerated by me on the 23 day of July, 1870."
  • Have the students compare the census information with the information on the family group record they created in episode four. Use the following questions to stimulate discussion. They are the same questions as on the student handout.
  1. What do you suppose the real given name of Nannie is? (Nancy Catherine Stewart WHITAKER)
  2. If Emiel was only nine months old on July 23, 1870 (the day the census was taken), about what month and year was he born? (About October, 1869)
  3. The name of child number three on the family group record is spelled "Furman," and on the census record it is spelled "Fernion." Which spelling do you suppose is probably correct? (Fernion) Why? (Because the name Fernion is in an original record. It was written by the census taker based on information most likely supplied at that time by Mary Jane Whitaker. The name Furman is in a compiled record. The source of the information in the compiled record about the spelling is unknown.)
  4. Which family members are listed on the family group record, but do not appear on the census record? (Edward, Flora Winnefred and Grace)
  5. What possible reasons can you think of as to why Edward does not appear on the census record? (He probably died at or near birth or from a childhood disease; or he may possibly have been visiting with a relative.)
  6. Why do you suppose the names of Flora Winnefred and Grace (children # 10 and #11 on the family group record) do not appear on the census record? (They most likely were not yet born.)
  7. What should Mary Jane’s age be listed as on the census record if her birth year on the family group record is correct? (Age 39)
  8. What reasons can you give to explain why the compiled record was created after the census record was created? (Presumably, all of the children are listed on the family group record and not on the census record. Also, Nancy, Louise, Fernion, Hamlin and Charles have spouses listed on the family group record, and appear as children ranging from Charles at age 5 to Nancy at age 18.)

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