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  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Census drops term "Negro"

    The Census Bureau is finally dropping its century-old reference to black Americans as “Negros,” and adopting more modern-day lingo — “black” or “African American.”The change goes into effect next year, The Associated Press reports. That’s when the next American Community Survey is due for distribution to an estimated 3.5 million homes, AP reported.The use of Negro stems from 1900, when it replaced the term “colored,” AP reports. In the 1960s, blacks then began identifying themselves as “blacks,” or “African Americans.” Few nowadays use the term Negro at all, and many find it offensive, said Nicholas Jones, chief of the racial statistics branch at the Census Bureau, according to AP....

  • Originally published 02/14/2013

    How Do I Decode Slave Records?

    For many African Americans the paper trail back to your ancestral origins hits a wall once you reach the slavery era. During the hunt for information about my great-great grandmother, Jane Gates, who was born into slavery in 1819, we were able to find her in the 1870 census, the oldest census to list all African Americans by name. Before then, few counties listed slaves by name, so we shifted gears and searched the "slave schedules" for the 1860 and 1850 census information for slave owners named Gates. However, we weren't able to find anyone under that name who owned a slave that was around her age. This means that she was owned by someone with a surname other than Gates, and the only way to find her by using records would be to undertake a systematic search of the estate papers, wills and tax records, and other documents of every slave holder in Allegany County, Md....