Through my years of family history research I've had three favorite sources of finding census records: FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Heritage Quest. Each was indexed differently and the presentation of results was different in all three. When I couldn't find an ancestor in one it was possible to search in another and see the ancestor in a list of results.
I especially liked Heritage Quest for its straight-forward list that included name, age, occupation, and county, all on the same line. It was a tidy, concise list. I didn't need to scroll through multiple pages with extraneous informaiton.
Sometimes, when I knew where the ancestor should be -- was most
likely to be -- I was able to search the location for a first name, a last name, or
even an age and see a list of all possible candidates. You know how the handwriting is so individual and the
transcriptions vary depending on what the indexer thinks is written.
Seeing the list of all men named Paul in a specific county could be
helpful. Seeing them all on the same screen was even better. But no more.
Heritage Quest has become a mini-Ancestry. Yes, I like Ancestry, but even more I liked having Heritage Quest as a third option for searches of census records. We don't need another variation of Ancestry. We need -- I need -- the old Heritage Quest.
I knew Ancestry and Heritage Quest began working together in March of this year but since I haven't had the need to use it I didn't realize how much its presentation of census results had changed.
Farewell, dear old Heritage Quest. I miss you.
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