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USGenWeb Free Census Project Help, 1840 Census Help

Remember, please sign up with a State Census Coordinator before beginning a transcription.


The following following are available to our volunteer transcribers so that our file managers can convert them to the standardized text output to meet the goals of the project.

Before you begin transcribing, you may want to look at Old Handwriting to see examples of old writing styles.

Most columns of the census from 1790 - 1840 used a "fence post tally". The census had anywhere from 7 to 32 questions, but the census taker used only the ones he needed. Do not be alarmed if the census you are working on does not have all of the categories.

VERY IMPORTANT

If a date is unreadable, you should replace the unreadable numbers with an asterisk(*). For example, "18*9". Make a note of it in the remarks column.

If a text field is unreadable, enter the letter "U" in the smaller fields and the word "Unreadable" in the larger fields. Make a note of it in the remarks column.

Enter exactly what you see in each field unless noted below. Avoid the urge to correct the census taker's errors.

Never use ditto(") marks in any fields. The search engine will not understand them. Replace the ditto(") marks with the word they were used for.

If any of the fields in the census have a checkmark or some other non-letter mark, you may replace it with an "X".

Census Year: You need to type in the year you are working on. This will only need to be done once per template.

Reel/Microfilm #: Enter the reel # or microfilm # of the census you are working on.

State: Enter the state you are working on.

County: Enter the county listed.

District: At the top of the census page, it may read "Inhabitants of _________, county of" or it may read "by the Marshall of _________ Division (or Territory)". The word after "Inhabitants of" or "Marshall of" is what you need to enter.

Enumerator: At the top you the census page, it may say "Schedule of the whole number of persons within the division allotted to _________." This is the enumerator.

Page #: After the census was finished, the pages were bound into books with two pages facing each other and a page number was stamped on the upper right hand corner, leaving the other page blank. The pages are now known as A and B pages (for example: 17A and 17B). When the census was microfilmed, the photographers wrote numbers in pencil, which are often out of order. In the field for page numbers, you will enter the STAMPED number including the A or the B after the number AND in the remarks section for the first person you enter on each page, note what the handwritten page number is. An example would "Handwritten page # 1". For more on page numbers, see the FAQs.

Line #: With a template, you will need to enter each line number as you enter each new person. Many of the 1790 - 1840 census pages did not have line numbers. If the census you are working on does not have line numbers, you should make your own starting with #1 for each page.

Name of Head of Family: You are going to separate the name into two columns on the template: "Surname" (last name) and "Given name" (first and middle names). These must be entered EXACTLY as you see them. Even if it is your own family and the name is misspelled, avoid the urge to change it. If there are ditto(") marks or a dash(-) indicating the same last name as the previous person, enter the name that the ditto(") marks or dash(-) are referring to. If any of the letters are unreadable, use an asterisk(*) instead of the letter. For example, Jo*nso*. If you do this, you should put a note in the remarks section that some letters were unreadable. Place titles, such as Jr., Sr., Dr., etc. at the end of the person's first name(s) - Doe, John Sr. If the given name is abbreviated, such as "Geo." or "Wm", please enter exactly as it appears.

VERY IMPORTANT - The ONLY time you will enter "NS" (No Surname) is if they are listed as these examples: "Brother Ignatius"; "Sister Mary"; Native American names such as "Running Doe"; or servants, such as "John, a man of color".

Free White Males: Thirteen columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 5 years, of 5 and under 10, of 10 and under 15, of 15 and under 20, of 20 and under 30, of 30 and under 40, of 40 and under 50, of 50 and under 60, of 60 and under 70, of 70 and under 80, of 80 and under 90, of 90 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Free White Females: Thirteen columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 5 years, of 5 and under 10, of 10 and under 15, of 15 and under 20, of 20 and under 30, of 30 and under 40, of 40 and under 50, of 50 and under 60, of 60 and under 70, of 70 and under 80, of 80 and under 90, of 90 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Free Colored Males: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 10 years, of 10 and under 24, of 24 and under 36, of 36 and under 55, of 55 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Free Colored Females: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 10 years, of 10 and under 24, of 24 and under 36, of 36 and under 55, of 55 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Male Slaves: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 10 years, of 10 and under 24, of 24 and under 36, of 36 and under 55, of 55 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Female Slaves: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: under 10 years, of 10 and under 24, of 24 and under 36, of 36 and under 55, of 55 and under 100, of 100 and upwards)

Total # of Persons in Family Employed In: Seven columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: Mining, Agriculture, Commerce, Manufacturing and Trades, Navigation of the Ocean, Navigation of Canals, Lakes, and Rivers, Learned Professors and Engineers)

Pensioners for Revolutionary or Miliary Service: If the household had a pensioner, there will be a name listed here. Enter the name exactly as it appears. If there is no entry, leave this column empty.

Pensioners Age: Enter what is listed. If there is no entry, leave it empty.

White Persons Included in the Forgoing: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: Deaf and Dumb of under 14, Deaf and Dumb of 14 and under 25, Deaf and Dumb 25 and older, Blind, Insane and Idoitus at Public Charge, Insane and Idoitus at Private Charge)

Colored Persons Included in the Forgoing: Six columns. If a column is empty, please enter a "0"(zero). (Names of Columns: Deaf and Dumb of under 14, Deaf and Dumb of 14 and under 25, Deaf and Dumb 25 and older, Blind, Insane and Idoitus at Public Charge, Insane and Idoitus at Private Charge)

University or College: Enter what is listed. If there is no entry, leave it empty.

Number of Students: Enter what is listed. If there is no entry, leave it empty.

Acadamic and Grammar Schools: Enter what is listed. If there is no entry, leave it empty.

Number of Students: Enter what is listed. If there is no entry, leave it empty.

Remarks/Reference: This is for your remarks about unreadable dates, text, etc. You may need to make comments about the entries, note what the handwritten page number is or anything else you feel is important.

 

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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