It’s Now Easier Than Ever to Track Your Ancestors in the U.S. Census Records

March 4, 2014  - by 

TreeSeek, a FamilySearch Affiliate, introduces a new tracking feature that is now available for FamilySearch’s Family Tree. This feature is called the Source Tracker. It allows you to see which ancestors from the Family Tree have U.S. census records attached. It also shows you which census records are missing for an ancestor and helps you locate them within the census data sets.




To get to the Source Tracker:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the Login now to create your chart button
  3. Log in using your FamilySearch account information.
  4. Click the button for the Source Tracker option
  5. Click Create Charts button

Source Tracker Button













Source Tracker will pull individuals from your Family Tree who lived from 1790 to 1940. These are the years for which the United States Federal Census records are available, with the exception of the 1890 census, which was destroyed in 1921.

Source Tracker Name Page 2

  • If you click on the blue name (1)  on the left of the screen, you will be taken to the individual’s personal page on Family Tree.
  • The magnifying glass (2) indicates that the person does not have a census record for that specific year attached to his/her sources. Click on the magnifying glass and FamilySearch will display the census records with the closest match to the information from your ancestor’s personal page.
  • The check mark (3) indicates that this person has a census record for that specific year attached to his or her sources. If you click on the arrow, you will see the image of the census record in which your ancestor appears.


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  1. This is really awesome, Thank you! I showed this to my sunday school family history class today, and they all were very excited and immediately went to work on getting more blue check marks onto their family trees. Now if only someone would come up with a chart like this that you can make that shows what temple ordinances have/have not been done, I will be a happy girl!

  2. My initial search for my grandfather brought up an number of people with the same name but no one with correct address. after filling in more search information it popped up and was easily added.

  3. Do you plan some thing like this for the England Census’s when they are available on find my past becomes available to the LDS community in the fall? That would be very nice. Thank you for this item. That too might need to go through a third party. That will be fine with me.

  4. I’ve attached over 6,400 sources to Family Tree, including thousands of census records, almost all from FS.

    I tried out CreateFan with the following results:

    1) It shows my ancestors missing most of their census records, when in fact they are properly attached to their Family Tree records.

    2) One individual who has a standardized birth date of April 1828 is shown as missing census records for 1790 to 1820.

    I’m sure you will be able to work out the bugs, and the idea is good.


    a) In addition to direct ancestors, include those individuals whom the patron is Watching.

    b) I realize this isn’t the place to mention this, but for 2 years I have repeated brought up the fact that what is greatly needed in respect to Sourcing is that the FS historical records need to show which FT records they have been attached to. I am a retired systems analyst. I could go to great lengths to explain why this is important, but I won’t do so here.


  5. My genealogy program (The Master Genealogist) contains all my sources, along with notes and memos wherever possible. It would be a huge chore to add them all manually. Will it be possible someday to replace my present tree with a new Gedcom that does include everything I have recorded? I can’t imagine repeating all the census work and other research I’ve done over 30 years.

  6. How can I use “Source Tracker” if I already created a Fan Chart a couple years ago?
    Do I create another Fan Chart ??
    Help please 🙂 Thanks

  7. I tried to install this source tracker and ended up with all kinds of PC cleaners and no genealogy. What’s up with that?

      1. I really don’t understand what you guys could possibly be talking about. It’s just a simple website. THERE IS NOTHING TO INSTALL. It works fine for me & I didn’t have to “install” anything.

        Sounds to me like you guys had some viruses and/or trojans on your system before you went there.

    1. Check the URL. Looks like you are going to a different website than I think you might have forgotten the second E in create.

  8. Highly useful tool. Not only have I added missing census records, but in trying to determine why a person does not have a census record, I have added missing death dates; standardized dates; and discovered legitimate reasons why a person might not be in a particular census.

    Yes, like some people, I do have a few quibbles, however I think my quibbles are more for the FS side of things rather than for the software itself. It is a bit disconcerting to be asked for a 1940 census record for someone born in 1698, but for whom I have no death date. Perhaps I should add a death date of something like “before 1798”, as it is probably true, although is it proper to do so? And then, there is the issue of census records for women before 1850. If they were not indexed as the head of a household, you can infer their presence in a census, but is it proper to add a census record for them under their father’s or husband’s name?

    1. Terry, Good feedback. I’m glad Source Tracker has been so useful to you.

      The search icons were meant to be used as a guide to help you identify what census records you might want to search. It wasn’t intended to be a strict thing. However it’s clear users would like it to more more precise and accurate. We’ll have to work on that. Thanks.

  9. I found a couple things I had not realized from the article. First, I did not know you could change the starting person PID. This was helpful for sourcing people other than direct ancestors.
    Second I did not realize there was a second tab for Vital events (birth, death etc) I had originally only seen the US census tab. Thanks

  10. looking for my grandmother,father her mother name is Martha M MCCarney
    don’t give her father just gives Martha
    as head of house hold, widow.
    the children are—–Della, Ida, Eifa
    and Viola, MCCarney. 1900 usa census-KelleysCreek,StClair,Alabama
    Any help thank you ——–

  11. Can you help me out I am new to this. I added my father but I did not do it right.
    Pleases help me out Bye Betty

  12. I tried two different PID’s and neither worked. The last one K4GD-5ZK had no sources attached. I recieved an error message “Trouble getting tree data from FamilySearch. No Transport ”
    I am not sure what that means but it did not work for me. I was going to use this
    feature as a training lesson at the Family History Library I work at.

    1. Gwen, When you get that error it means there was a problem communicating with FamilySearch. If you try again it should work.

      I was able to get K4GD-5ZK (James Edward Fenton) to work. It shows 7 total sources and 5 are tied to a census record.

  13. I don’t understand why some of my family members who were never in the U.S. have a magnifying glass next to their names indicating they can be found in U.S. Census records????
    Finding my ancestors in the US through this site is very helpful.

    1. Janice, Source Tracker is simply a guide to help you find U.S. Census records.

      Looking at the person’s birth and death location to make it smarter is something I’d like to do.

  14. Is there a way to save the chart produced, or does it have to be regenerated every time you enter the site?

    1. Elaine, Currently there is no way to save the Source Tracker report. You could print it to a PDF if you have PDF printer setup.