Terry's TMG Tips

Census Source Types

This page updated 15 Apr 2014

Version Note: Applies to Versions 7 & 8

I have developed five custom Source Types which I use in citing US Census records. To see how these Source Types are used within the context of an overall plan for managing census data, see my article on Managing Census Information.

This article describes my overall approach to recording census records as Sources in TMG, and provides a means to download the Source Types I have developed for users who wish to import them into their own Projects. The each of my five Source Types are described in detail in separate articles, which can be found from the links below.

Topics Included in this Article
General Approach
An overview of my approach
Five Source Types
A description of the five different Source Types for different schedules
Downloading this Source Type
Where to download the Source Type

This article describes the method I currently use to record census sources. My previous method, which makes use of split CDs to reduce the total number of Sources defined in TMG while producing notes in the desired format, is described in my article on Census Source Types with Split CD.

General Approach

Elizabeth Shown Mills has authored two books that are widely used by genealogical researchers as guides in formatting source notes. Her long-standing work Evidence! is the basis for the "Mills" source types supplied with TMG. Her newer work, Evidence Explained, provides somewhat different guidance, and provides more specific recommendations for online sources, including online census images. I don't use TMG's standard Census Source Type because I find it confusing and generally unsatisfactory. While I find elements of Ms. Mills' guidance useful, I disagree with some of the details of her advice, so my approach has some similarities with her examples but differs in many details.

In my view the format recommended in her earlier work, which placed the name of the head of household first, is easier for readers to understand, and therefore I retain that format rather than the one suggested in the newer book.

I regard the National Archives microfilm "original" as my source, even if I actually view an image of that online. Thus my citation focuses on the original, as suggested in Evidence!, rather than the vendor who simply provides me with a copy and who would get more recognition under the suggestions in the newer guide (but I do note that I saw an image, e.g. "image viewed on Ancestry.com").

Finally, I think including the dwelling and family numbers but not the name of the head of household in the short footnote is exactly backwards. That seems to me to make the reader work much too hard to understand the notes, so I include the name of the head of household and exclude the dwelling and household details from the short footnote.

I don't put any of the household details in the Bibliography Template because I use the Bibliography format only for my "minimalist" website and don't want much detail there. If I were actually creating a conventional bibliography I'd probably add the household details to that template.

These examples were designed for the US census, but in the few cases where I've dealt with state censuses or those of other countries I've found they can be adapted with little difficulty.

The Source Types described here are designed to have one Source defined in TMG for each household or institution recorded the Population Schedules or slave owner in the Slave Schedules. For other types of schedules, which have a separate entry for each person, each entry is treated as a separate Source. With this method all the details are recorded in the Source Definition, and only comments specific to a given citation, such as the spelling of a name or recording the age of a household member, appear in the Citation Detail.

The Five Source Types

I use five different Source Types to accommodate the various formats used by US Census throughout the years.

Details about the structure of each of these Source Types is provided in separate articles for each one, which can be found clicking on the colored labels above, which are links to those articles. For those who prefer to download them and import them into their own Projects the following section describes how to do that.

Downloading The Census Source Types

You can create your own Source Types using the suggestions in the individual articles by copying the templates from those pages into new Source Types, editing them as you prefer, and creating the custom Source Elements. Or, you can download and install a copy of my Source Types using the Source Type Import function. When you do that all five custom Source Types and the associated custom Source Elements are created in your Project, ready to use. To do that:

  1. Down load my custom Source Type file here: Terry's Census Source Types

  2. You have a choice about where to save the file. You can save it in an easy-to-find location, such as on your desktop, and then locate it when you import it in Step 3 below. Or, you can save it in your TMG "Export" folder, which is were TMG first looks for it. I recommend that location if you might want to import the Source Type again into different Projects. The default location of the Export folder is shown below, but it may differ on your system if you have customized your file locations:
Default Folder Location
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
C:\Users\{user}\Documents\The Master Genealogist v9\Export
Windows XP
Windows 2000
C:\Documents and Settings\{user}\My Documents\The Master Genealogist v9\Export
In yet another misguided attempt by MicroSoft to be helpful, Internet Explorer insists on changing the file extension when you save the file, making it unusable. The best solution is to use a "real" browser, such as Opera or FireFox. But if you prefer to use Internet Explorer you can solve the problem by correcting the extension as you save the file. To do that, when the Save As dialog opens, change the "Save as type" drop-down at the bottom of the screen to "All Files." Then edit the File name just above, changing the ".zip" at the end to ".xst" (for eXchange Source Type).
  1. Open TMG, then use the Tools > Source Types menu command to open the Source Types screen. On that screen, click the Import Button, and on the Import screen that opens select the "terrys_census.xst" file. If you have saved it someplace other than the Export folder, you will have to navigate to that location to locate it. Click the Open button, and click OK on the dialog that opens. You should get a confirmation message that the new Source Types have been imported.

You are now ready to choose the new Source Types when you define new census Sources, or if you should want to change the Source Type of existing Sources to it.

ReigelRidge Home Terry's Tips Home Contact Terry


The Second Edition of my sell-out book, A Primer for The Master Genealogist, is now available.

Details are can be seen here.


Copyright 2000- by Terry Reigel