I’ve had this little tip in the back of my mind for quite sometime, but I can never seem to find a good example. Just moments ago, I found the perfect example.
While working on my Parks family in Michigan, I came across the 1870 census for one of the family members. Below is a partial copy of the image found on Ancestry.
Boy, sure can’t read that faded handwriting, can you?
Wondering if it was the image itself, I headed over to HeritageQuest (through my library subscription) and found the exact same document, however a more readable version (below).
That’s much better, don’t you think?
The point is, some records exist in several formats/media and if the reproduced image is poor, try finding it somewhere else. This is also relevant to indexes. When I can’t find what I am looking for on Ancestry (my primary census source), I head over to HeritageQuest hoping their index is slightly different helping me to find what I am looking for. In the case of censuses, there are now two additional sources with indexes to use (FamilySearch and Footnote; completeness varies).