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USGenWeb Free Census Project Help - Transcribing Help Index

Welcome to the Help section of the USGW Census Project! Thank you for volunteering for our work to bring the census online.

Remember that "transcribing," means to make an exact copy, so that everything recorded is performed as much as possible in a manner faithful with the original record.

If you have any questions about transcribing the census, you've come to the right place. Please read through the tutorial that covers the year you are interested in transcribing.

Tutorial By Year

(These pages contain links to templates and programs to use during transcription. Just click on the year you are interested in transcribing and read the information provided.)
| 1790 | 1800 | 1810 | 1820 | 1830 | 1840 | 1850 | 1860 |
| 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930 |

Where to obtain records to transcribe

Visit our Census Location Page(s).
Free & Inexpensive Sources
Commercial Sources
National Archives

Database program(s)/template(s)

CART (only for years 1850, 1860, and 1870) PC Only
CENTRANS (currently for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930) MAC & PC [The programmer is writing updates which will eventually include all years.]
TEMPLATES for all years and some specialty census schedules. [These are available by request from Maggie Stewart. Please use "templates" as the subject of your email and include what year and type of template that you need.]

Helpful Transcription Information

Subdistricts and Enumeration Districts.
Page and sheet numbering system.
About the header on each page.
About the columns on each page.
Notes for you to keep while working on your transcription.
Census Transcribing FAQs
Examples of how names appear on the census.
Examples of Old Handwriting styles.
Blank census forms that you can print out.

Where to look for additional help.

Contact your State Census Coordinator (SCC).
Join the CART mailing list for questions about the CART Database Program.
Join the CENTRANS mailing list for questions about the CenTrans Database Program.
RootsWeb Census FAQs Message Board

Miscellaneous Information

A basic overview of the census and its history.
History of the Federal Census, 1790-1920.
Leave a Legacy for Genealogists in 1/2 to 1 hour/day!
What does being a "transcriber" mean?

If you haven't signed up...

Go to the Sign Up page and choose the year you wish to transcribe.
Follow the directions and submit your choice.
If you have a forms-challenged browser, contact the Census Project Coordinator, Maggie Stewart at

Information on Second Transcription (Proofreading)

When your census is finished, you will need to read the Completion Instructions. This page should answer all of your questions about submitting your transcription.


When transcribing the census, MAKE A BACKUP COPY!

Census Project since 1997

A Gift of the Past for the Future! Started in February, 1997, The USGenWeb Free Census Project is an all-volunteer project to transcribe census records in a standard format in order to make them available to genealogical researchers on the Internet.

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