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The "Census Candidates" Report

I was recently contacted by a TMG user asking about a report that could be taken to the library and used to search Ancestry's 1930 census index. Once upon a time, many years ago, I know I had an equivalent of this report, but for some reason, I haven't used it in a long time. The following report procedure works, but some people might find it cumbersome. It does include some important TMG tactics, however; and many users might find it helpful.

This report should be simple: list everyone in the database, or subset thereof, that doesn't have a census tag for a given census. As far as I can tell, though, it's really a multi-step procedure.

The "Temporary" Flag

One of my most valuable flags is one I call the Temporary Flag. This flag is used to temporarily identify individuals in multi-step reports. Although this was originally a flag with only two values: Y (On) and N (the default, or Off), I've changed the default to ? and added another value, X, for some additional filter manipulation. If you don't have an equivalent flag, I recommend you create one. You will need one if you plan to recreate this report. The procedure for creating a custom flag is described in Creating and Customizing a New Flag.

There is one important point to remember about this Temporary flag. It must be reset to the default value before running a new report. I reset the flag before I run a new report. You might prefer resetting it after running a report. My reset procedure is simple: run a List of People report in which the secondary output option restores the Temporary flag value for every person in the data set.

Step One: Run a List of People report as follows:


Report Definition Screen


Report Filter


Report Options: Secondary Output
  • The filter used to determine all people alive on a given day consists of (Birth (or Birth Group) -- Date -- <= [Does not come after] -- [?] [I use the official census enumeration date].
  • AND of course, they must have died after the official census enumeration day: Death -- Date -- >= [Does not come before] -- [?]) [Again, I use the official census enumeration date]. Note the parentheses! They will be important.
  • All census responses were supposed to reflect the household on the official census enumeration date. Despite the fact that this was not always the case, using this date will probably not result in missing many people.
  • This filter excludes anyone for whom no birth date or death date is known. I usually enter at least a say date of birth when entering a new person, so my people all have birth dates. This filter does need to be corrected to include anyone for whom a death date is unknown. Start with the statement (Birth (or Birth Group -- Date -- <= [Does not come after] -- [?]. Now determine an appropriate life span, say 80 years: Birth (or Birth Group -- Date -- >= [Does not come before] -- [?] and select a date 80 years before the census enumeration date. Add an important statement: Death Group -- # of tags -- = [Equals] -- 0). Remember, if a person has a death date, they are either included or excluded by your first set of criteria.
  • Connect these two filters with an OR connector. The screen shot to the left shows what this filter looks like. To be included in this list, a person's birth date must come before the census enumeration date. If the person's record includes a death date, that date must come after the census enumeration date. If the person's record does not include a death date, his or her age must be less than 80 years at the time the census was taken. The final list will include some false positives and some false negatives, but it should make a good approximation of all the people in your data base living on the census enumeration date.
  • This report is run to change the value of the Temporary Flag from the default to Y. Therefore, the only Report Options of interest are found under the Secondary Output tab. Check the Change Flag option, select the Temporary flag, select the value Y, and I check Suppress output to screen, file, and printer.
  • Select Print & Save on the Report Definition screen, enter the census enumeration date when prompted, and go on to Step Two.

Step Two:


Report Definition Screen


Report Filter


Report Options: Secondary Output
  • Next, eliminate all those living on the selected date who already have a census tag for that year. This can now be done in two ways: a List of People report or a List of Events report. (The latter possibility was probably introduced with TMG 5.x, but I missed it.)
  • Run a List of People report and filter for all people with a Census Tag -- Year -- is exactly -- [?]
  • OR anyone with a Witnessed Census Tag -- Year -- is exactly -- [?].
  • This report is run to change the value of the Temporary Flag from Y to another value. Mine changes the value to X, just in case I want to see a list of people for whom I have found a certain census. Again, the only Report Options of interest are found under the Secondary Output tab. Check the Change Flag option, select the Temporary flag, select the value X (or N), and I check Suppress output to screen, file, and printer.
    Alternate method:
    • Run a List of Events report and filter for Tag Type -- Label -- Begins with -- Cens AND Date - Year -- = [Equals] -- [?] -- END.
    • As above, you're changing the value of the Temporary Flag from Y to another value. The only Report Options of interest are found under the Secondary Output tab. Check the Change Flag option; under "For whom:" select All Witnesses; and select the value X (or N) under "Flag:" I check Suppress output to screen, file, and printer.
  • Select Print & Save on the Report Definition screen and enter the census year when prompted. Everyone left with a Temporary Flag value of Y is someone probably living on the census date for whom no census has been found. You can now go on to Step Three.

Step Three:


Report Definition Screen


Report Filter


Report Options: Secondary Output


Census Candidates: Report Page
  • All you need to do now is print out your report of choice. I think a List of People report works best, but you might prefer an Individual Detail report.
  • Filter for all people with a Temporary flag value -- Equals -- [?].
    • I ran this report and got some huge number of 1930 census candidates. If you find the number depressing, now is the time to think about searching for census candidates among one family you're researching, rather than try to find all the census candidates in your database. Add these lines to your filter:
    • (ID number -- = Equals -- [?] OR Is a descendant of -- ID# -- [?]) END. Note the parentheses!
  • Get creative in the Report Options. I suggest the following columns to help you identify the appropriate individuals in a census index.
    • Column One (and Sort Order One): Last, Given Names. The list will now be printed in alphabetical order.
    • Column Two: Spouse's Name: Last, Given Names. This will help identify married women. Note that the spouse appearing here will be the last viewed spouse.
    • Column Three: Father's Name: Last, Given Names. Again, this is good for uniquely identifying a person.
    • Column Four: Birth Group: Year.
    • Column Five: Death Group: Year.
  • On the Report Definition screen, print the report to a file or to the printer.
  • Select Print & Save and enter the correct flag value when prompted. Now take your list to the library and get to work.

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