The census tree: Economist Kasey Buckles links historical data to boost research and genealogy

Kasey Buckles is more of an economist than a family genealogist. Most of her past work explores the economics of the family, demography, and child health.

But she decided to try the genealogy website FamilySearch because she was working with Brigham Young University economist Joseph Price on a study of intergenerational mobility. Buckles knew how difficult it can be to track and link the historical records of one person over time, especially women who change names when they marry.

She decided to look up her great-grandmother, and was surprised to see that some of her U.S. census records were already attached to her profile on FamilySearch. In 1910, the 2-year-old was listed as Mary L. Gaddie. A decade later, she went by her middle name of Lettie. And by 1940, she was a married woman: M. Lettie Caswell.

Buckles knew traditional research methods that attempt to trace a person by following the same name over time would have failed to make the connections.

Read the story

Originally published by Office of Strategic Content at on August 14, 2023.