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Rhonda's Tips: Genealogy Questions Answered
by Rhonda R. McClure

March 01, 2001
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Looking for Jimtown

Q: My grandmother (Rachel Killian) was born in Jimtown in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) 30 November 1885. Where is present Jimtown and how do I find more information? -- RKi4222422

A: Whenever you are looking for the actual locality of a given town or city, there are three ways to do this. You can search postal code books, search a gazetteer or search a map or atlas.

Each of these options offers pros and cons. In most cases when dealing with a postal code book or a map or atlas, you run the risk of finding the city or town only in its current place. While that is certainly important so that you can visit the town or city, it is also misleading when working with the records.

It is important to remember that when you need to look for records generated at the time, that in most cases those records would be found in the county or state, under whose jurisdiction the town or city belonged.

Often to find a place under present-day divisions, the first place to start such a search is the GNIS (Geographic Names Information System). Such a database allows you to type in the city or town's name and see where it is presently located. In the case of Jimtown, it is now in Love County, Oklahoma.

In keeping with the methodology of learning where a place was at the time of a given event, a search of Gilbert S. Bahn's American Place Names of Long Ago, which is a directory of places names in 1890, shows that Jimtown was in the Chickasaw Nation of Indian Territory.

Looking for Census

Q: I have just recently started searching for my family back ground. I have bought some software and have thoroughly searched the Internet to no avail. I am looking for the 1910 New York State Census but have come up with nothing every time I search for it. Can you please help me. -- Tim

A: While there has been recent activity designed to bring the census online in a digitized format, at the present time, what is available does not include the census you are looking for. You will want to keep checking the Genealogy.com Web site as they announce the latest available census records.

In the mean time, the 1910 census is available on microfilm. You can request the pertinent rolls of microfilm through your local Family History Center.

Unlike some of the other states enumerated in the 1910 census and other census years, New York state has not been indexed for the 1910 census. This means you must have an idea of where your ancestor was living. If they were living in New York City, you will need to turn your attention to city directories in an effort to narrow the area you will need to search line-by-line.

Listed in the Census

Q: Do they have to be a U.S. citizen to be on the census of 1900? -- Bill

A: A portion of the United States Constitution describes the census and its purpose:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers... The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. (United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 2.)

The purpose of the census is to establish the population for the given states. The census is what determines how many seats in the House of Representatives a state will get, among other things.

Therefore, because of this, everyone who was living in a given area was to be enumerated when the census was being taken, including non-citizens. In fact, the 1900 census in addition to asking for the names, ages, and birth dates (well, month and year anyway), asked some specific questions about the citizenship of each individual enumerated.

The 1900 census asked the following citizenship information about each person enumerated.

  • The year of immigration.
  • How many years living in the United States.
  • Their naturalization status.

Genealogical Education

Q: Do you know of an at-home study class to become a certified genealogist? I appreciate any information you could supply me with on the subject or refer me to where I can learn of this. -- Charles

A: While there is no actual study class for becoming a certified genealogist, there are a couple of home-study courses that will help you acquire the necessary knowledge and some of the experience needed to apply to the certification program.

The National Genealogical Society offers two courses. The first is an online interactive course. NGS has included a web page with an overview of what the course covers.

NGS also offers a home study course. This course is done off-line. Each lesson exposes you to the different record types. The lessons have specific goals, and the feedback you will get from the evaluations will help you to progress as a researcher.

You will also want to investigate the online classes available through Genealogy.com. They offer classes on beginning genealogy, Internet genealogy, and Immigrant genealogy.

Once you have gathered additional experience through the different classes, you will want to visit the Board for Certification of Genealogists Web site. Here you can learn what is required for the different levels of certification.


Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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