Ancestry: Who do you think you are?

Largest Ancestry: 2000

Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County 2

This is one of my favorite demographic maps. It was produced by the Census Bureau to show the most commonly reported ancestry for each county in the United States in 2000. Even though the data is over 13 years old, the map remains very popular.

Since a follow-up map for 2010 has not been produced yet, I thought it would be more than worthwhile to create this map using Census American Community Survey data.

Largest Ancestry: 2010

Including Unreported

The methodologies used in making the 2000 and 2010 ancestry maps are similar, but there is one important alteration in the 2010 map. Ancestries that can be logically grouped together were combined so they might be better represented on the map. For example, Scandinavian ancestries: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Finnish, are very common in the Upper Midwest. Individually, they are the most popular ancestries in only a few counties, but when grouped together, Scandinavian is the most common ancestry in over 70 Upper Midwest counties.

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Casual genealogy

Several weeks ago, I posted an article on the importance of humanizing data so that people better understand the stories that lie behind the numbers.  Sometimes these data can help us uncover profound truths about ourselves as well as provide insights into society as a whole.

The internet has been all a buzz about the recent release of the 1940 Census data. After 72 years, the confidentiality of the 1940 Census has been lifted, and all of the information within it is now available to the public.  What makes this decade’s release of past census data special is that all of it is online for free, in JPEG image format, for our viewing pleasure.  Everything from people’s names, income, and what they did for a living 72 years ago is available for any pajama-wearing internet surfer.  No more dealing with microfilm, magnetic tape, or online genealogy subscriptions, things that can be annoying and require effort to glean any insights from.  For the casual genealogist, like myself, this was good news. Continue reading