Digging Deeper into Local and Family History with Census Data

Monday, 11/1/2021
  • 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Pacific)

PLA Census Data Literacy logoThe Census is an essential source for discovering and reconstructing local and family history. Rich data about communities, neighborhoods, and families document local demographics, immigration and naturalization information, ancestral family names, relationships, birth years, and birthplaces. Although the U.S. government has conducted a Census every ten years since 1790, the categories of data collected and the details provided in the Census records vary. Learn how categories for race, ethnicity, and other demographics have changed over time and how that impacts research. Discover public library programming and strategies to engage your community in a deeper understanding of local and family history. Census sources important to local history research and family genealogy will be discussed.

This webinar—the fourth of six—is presented as part of the Census Data Literacy project, an initiative of PLA in partnership with ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office, which aims to build data literacy skills among library staff with the overall goal of promoting awareness and use of Census data in their communities. These webinars will be facilitated by Karen Brown, adjunct consultant, ACRL Consulting Services.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Discover how U.S. Census data and records can contribute to local and family history research;
  • Understand the history of the U.S. Census and its impact;
  • Develop ideas for building local history and genealogy programs around the Census; and
  • Leverage Census records to enhance understanding of diverse local histories and family genealogy.

Who Should Attend

This webinar is intended for public service librarians and local history staff.


Allison DePrey SingletonAllison DePrey Singleton is a senior librarian in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, IN. In that capacity she provides research consultations, serves on the center’s programming team, and leads its family history webinars and educational initiatives. Singleton presented at the 2020 RootsTech Conference, the 2018 Indiana Genealogical Society Conference, and was slated to speak at the 2020 National Genealogical Society’s Librarians’ Day. She is also a northeast regional co-coordinator for the National History Day in Indiana. While Singleton’s specialties include researching in the regions of Indiana, France, and Germany, and fields of social media, the federal Census, teaching beginners, and genealogy programming, she loves learning new areas of genealogy. She views genealogy as lifelong education and continues to strive to learn more while keeping up with ever changing technology.

Elizabeth HodgesElizabeth Hodges is a historian, educator, genealogist, and librarian. While pursuing her Master’s in Irish and Irish American Studies at New York University (NYU), she became an educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City. Hodges’ love and fascination with genealogy and family history grew exponentially through sharing the stories of immigrants, migrants, and refugees who once resided in a historic tenement in lower Manhattan with visitors. Upon graduating from NYU, she began working for the New York Public Library in the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division. While her specialties and interests lie in Irish migration/immigration, New York genealogy, the experiences of immigrant women, archival management, and Louisiana genealogy and local history, she is always eager to learn and explore other aspects of genealogy research.

Sharon Tosi LaceySharon Tosi Lacey has served as the chief historian for the U.S. Census Bureau since June 2015. Previously, she spent twenty-five years as an officer in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves before retiring in 2015 as a Lieutenant Colonel. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Psychology from the United States Military Academy, an M.S. in Education from Long Island University, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Leeds.

Gabrielle 'Gabby' WomackGabrielle “Gabby” Womack is a reference/access librarian, archivist, and historian at the McQuade Library, Merrimack College (North Andover, MA), specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American history. Womack’s work analyzes personal and societal racial identities, particularly among descendants of the African diaspora, and their effects on policy in the United States. Her research interests include the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, immigration, eugenics/race science, inequity, and policy in the United States. Womack loves inspiring folks to read diverse books by underrepresented populations on her Instagram (@Bookish_AfroLatina) and Facebook pages.



THIS WEBINAR IS FREE, BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND SPACE IS LIMITED. You can register for this webinar until it begins, or until space is no longer available, whichever comes first. Please do not register unless you are sincere about attending the live webinar. Space is limited, and signing up and not attending may deprive someone else of the opportunity. Thank you for your cooperation.

PLA members make it possible for us to provide continuing education opportunities like this webinar at no cost. We thank our members for their continuous dedication to the advancement of the public library field and our association.

How to Register


On the next screen please scroll down to continue the online registration process.

NOTE: Due to high demand, we are accepting up to 1,500 registrations for this event, but only the first 1,000 viewers will be able to attend live. The webinar room will open about 15 minutes before the start of the event, and we recommend you arrive early. The archived recording will be available on the PLA On-Demand Webinars page, typically within 1–3 business days.


This live webinar will be captioned.

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your participation in this webinar, please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) at least two weeks prior to the webinar. Without sufficient prior notification of need, we may not be able to provide appropriate accommodations for the live event.

Personal Data Notification

As a webinar registrant, you will receive follow-up correspondence from PLA specifically related to this webinar (including, but not limited to, instructions for accessing both the live webinar and its archived recording) as well as information about other PLA programs and resources. You may also receive relevant messages from our webinar partner or sponsor (if any). PLA will not sell this webinar’s registration list to any other outside parties. If a webinar sponsor chooses to communicate with you by e-mail, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future e-mails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

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For more information, review ALA’S PRIVACY POLICY at https://www.ala.org/privacypolicy.

Archived Recording

If you're unable to register for this webinar, an archived recording will be freely available typically within 1–3 business of the live event. Visit PLA On-Demand Webinars for more information. Access to closed captions will be provided in the webinar recording.

Tech Requirements

This webinar will be presented using the Zoom platform. Please review Zoom technical requirements and support information, and test your connection.

Once you've joined the webinar, there are two ways to connect your audio: via computer (VoIP) or via telephone. No microphone is required. PLA works with its webinar platform provider to assure the highest quality audio is being delivered to attendees. However, variables over which PLA has no control—such as the speed of your Internet connection or traffic on your local network—can affect the end quality of the webinar audio delivered by your computer. Each webinar’s audio is also available by telephone via a toll number, so we recommend you have access to a long-distance enabled phone as a backup in case you experience audio issues with VoIP. If you do encounter any problems during the webinar, you will receive a link to its archived recording within a week of the live event and can review anything you missed.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, but will provide a boilerplate certificate of completion for this webinar, which registrants can personalize as needed.


Questions about this webinar? Please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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