As I was catching up on some reading in the genealogy blogosphere, I came across an awesome article that was also a fun read. The In-Depth Genealogist blog site had an article that caught my attention and shed some light on the census records that we all use as genealogists, but just may have overlooked a certain part of the form. The article was titled, “Fun With Land and Property” by Michelle Goodrum.
In this article, she talks about the column with the dollar amounts listed under your ancestor’s real estate or personal property by utilizing an inflation calculator to determine what the value was, but in today’s dollar! I remember seeing this column on one of my own ancestors but didn’t give it much thought. Now I want to go back and check all my census records I have and use this inflation calculator to determine their wealth or lack there of. I never even thought to use this calculator but this could be of great use to the family historian and a wonderful tool.
What a great way to find out just a little bit more about your ancestry. It would give me better insight into how they lived, the value of their land, home, or personal belongings. Maybe they owned a farm, this would hopefully tell me what that property value was worth, say back in the year 1900. Comparing that value with today’s dollar amount, I could probably figure out more about their standing in the community, their lifestyle and even what their cost of living may have been during those times. It’s a wonderful approach to a side of genealogy research that I hadn’t previously thought of before. But in regards to their economic standing and the value of our dollar today, given our economic recession, I would have to take that into consideration as well. Here is the link to the article I read: http://www.theindepthgenealogist.com/?p=2158
Below are a couple of links to different inflation calculators where you can try the one you like best. Compare it to your census records and find out all you can about your ancestors! This is just the tip of the iceberg! Maybe now we can figure out what those numbers really mean!!