The goal of this assignment is to track changes in the city of Holyoke over time from before 1900 to the present. Each group will pick a specific city neighborhood designated by an intersection.
Historical Census Research
I. Identifying enumeration districts
Contemporary census information is gathered according to census tracts, but in the past the geography of data collection has varied quite a bit. Before searching Ancestry Library, you will need to identify the ward and/or enumeration district (ED) for your intersection. Note: These EDs aren't available for Holyoke before 1900 and will likely be different from year to year, so you have to go through these steps for each year.*
*This site doesn't seem to work for 1920. Use the following enumeration districts for 1920:
High/Cabot Street: Ward 6, District 62; Lyman/Bridge Street: Ward 1, District 31; Maple/Lyman Street: Ward 4, District 51; Pleasant/Lincoln Street: Ward 7, District 71
II. Browsing historical census surveys
Having identified the relevant enumeration districts, you'll now need to browse the U.S. Federal Census surveys for each year to see what information is available for your street. You might not find your exact intersection. Rather, you will be looking in generally the same neighborhood from decade to decade. The enumeration districts ensure that you are able to find the same neighborhood.
Contemporary Census Data
III. Identifying Census Tracts and Comparing Aggregate Data
Your street intersections will fall inside (usually one) census tract. It can be useful to know what tracts are of interest for a given analysis of census data. (Here is a handy reference diagram that shows levels of census geography.) Demographic variables that were measured in the decennial census have changed over time. Race is one example.
Now let’s look at some topics and how they relate to your selected street intersections in Holyoke:
1. Go to Social Explorer
2. Click on "Maps and Tables"
3. Under "Explore US Demography", click on "Start Here"
4. In the upper right hand side of the screen, you will see a search box for "address city town or place": Search for Holyoke, MA—once you get a map view, you can use the zoom tools to see individual streets and get to your intersection
5. In the left-hand menu you will see "Data selection 2010". You can click on this to reveal a menu for changing the census year and browsing the demographic variables (like population and race, etc) that are available for that year.
6. You can change the census year and compare (using tracts) different variables for the same geographies to see how things have changed. There are tract divisions from 1940 through the present