the database analyst discovers genealogy
Before going back to school in 2015 to pursue a career change in broadcast television, I was a database analyst for Sheridan Nurseries. The database analyst typically maintains data storage, assesses company information and suggests a custom database design for tracking purposes. One aspect of this job involves determining how information is stored to retrieve individual records. Even before I worked for Sheridan, I have long used these skills wherever possible to improve efficiencies in the workplace.
Over the years I made a bunch of online connections and it was fascinating to realize how much information was available online with more and more being added all the time. Around the same time, I was learning about coding in Visual Basic and I built a very simple, yet very useful tool to help me research and I called it The Census Calculator.
The census calculator
Having to cover a period of sixty years, it became a little complicated trying to figure out who you were looking for. Different sites had different ways of searching and you either had to remember the year they were born or their age based on the census you were searching through.
With over fifteen years of research, I had compiled almost ten thousand individuals and over two thousand different families. Not all of these people are related to me, but I decided early on to enter the names of extended family members. In England, the census returns are allowed to released to the public after a hundred years have passed. 2022 was the year they released the 1921 UK census and it gave me a new subset of data to research and... a new project.
I wanted the first tab to display the family unit and I would enter each name from my genealogy software, then go through each census year by year.
The main form has two different sections. The top section represents the "Main Family" (parents with children) and the bottom section displays whether that individual was married and had children. The bottom section changes as each child from the top section is selected and shows related information. This allowed me to track another generation within the census returns at the same time.
With the 1841 tab selected, I entered the address information into the top section along with the occupation and some notes. The bottom section displays only the family members I was unable to find thus flagging records to track down why they were missing from the census. Reasons for missing are usually a death, a name change or they emigrated to a new country. Sometimes it can be a simple transcription error.