Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


As this first week seems to be mostly about preparation, here’s a census helper:

Rather than transcribe a census sheet by hand to an empty census form than can be downloaded for free from FamilySearch and many other sites, wouldn’t it be easier to be able to transcribe the data into a blank pdf census form and then quickly save it to your database?

Here’s how:

  1. Download the free census forms from FamilySearch
  2. Download the free program PDF-XChange Viewer
  3. Open the census form in PDF-XChange Viewer
  4. Select Tools>Comment and Markup Tools>Typewriter Tool
  5. Type the data into the pdf census form
  6. If the census form needs to be rotated to be able to type the data: select Document>Rotate Pages (as needed)

I have used PDF-XChange Viewer for years. It is a wonderful tool to work with pdf’s. You can also save a pdf as an image file if you want. I do this frequently with newspaper clippings downloaded from GenealogyBank and other such sites.

The program is completely free and can be downloaded safely from, a very reputable site. For downloads, you will be moved over to, which is a site. I have also used for many years. It is safe and trustworthy.


4 thoughts on “Genealogy Do-Over 2015 Week 1: An important prep item

  1. wendylittrell says:

    Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t heard about this tool. Will be downloading it soon.


    1. Ruth Stephens says:

      You are most welcome, ma’am!


  2. Sue McCormick says:

    Sounds like an excellent tool — ALAS, it is Windows only — Not for us Mac users!


    1. Ruth Stephens says:

      Hi Sue, yes unfortunately it’s only Windows, but I’ll bet Mac has something similar. Contact Denise Olson at
      She’s the closest I know to being a Mac expert. Good luck!


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