Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Copy & Paste Census Data


  Here’s a nifty process to extract full page(s) of US Census Data from Ancestry (or FamilySearch) and paste it into Google Sheets to make a table of the data.

To copy the Census Data into Google Sheets you will be using the commands Select, Copy, and Paste Special – Values Only. Below I’ll describe the basic process using Ancestry and Google Sheets. If you prefer to use Excel instead of Google Sheets, you will use the commands Select, Copy, and Paste Special as text; nearly an identical process.

Step one is to search and find the US Census record you want to collect data from and use View Image to open the actual image. In Ancestry, located at the center bottom of your screen next to the image number, you will see an icon resembling a person. It’s called the “Index Button”. Click on it. Notice a transcription of the Census page is now displayed in the lower portion of the screen. Place your cursor anywhere in that area of the lower portion of your screen and click. Now you’ll use the shortcuts:    Ctrl + A               to select all data; data will now be highlighted    Ctrl + C              to copy all data you selected above    Ctrl + Shift + V  to paste special that copied data into Google Sheets
Move forward or backward to the next Census record image, repeating the 3 command steps shown above , until you have copied all the data from the Census you want, and you have pasted that data into your Google Sheets table. Now you can filter and analysis the data you have collected.

For more detail on filtering, table formatting, practical applications, and suggestions, take the time to watch one or two of these videos by Connie Knox of GenealogyTV :

  • Find More Ancestors By Extracting Census Data Into Google Sheets  
  • #1 Way to Breakdown Brick Walls – Updated 2020 

Connie uses this process for FAN Club or Cluster research. Here are the links for those videos.