Transcription Notes
for the
1860 Letcher County, KY, Census

Transcription by: Brian K. Caudill (Copyright ©2002)

Proofreading by: Norma Combs Tyree and Brian K. Caudill

Original Document Source: The original document source used for this transcription was obtained on CD-ROM from ALLCENSUS. The images contained on this CD were acquired from the microfilmed census records located at the National Archives. In particular, for Letcher County, KY, the source is Microcopy No. 653, Roll 381 (ie. M653-381).

Enumeration: The 1860 Letcher County, KY, Census was enumerated by 29 year-old J. E. Brashears between June 6th and July 31st, 1860, and consisted of only one district (Whitesburg P.O.) which contained 610 dwellings or households (3796 individuals). Mr. Brashears and his family can be found listed in household #610. His occupation was listed as a Tavern Keeper which may help to explain some of the inconsistencies in his handwriting and methods of recording found throughout the schedules.

There was a couple of interesting entries made on the schedules by Mr. Brashears that are somewhat noteworthy. On line 10 of page 687 for Martin V. Bates (the Kentucky Giant), Mr. Brashears indicates that Martin "Ways 342 lb". Also, the usual notation used for listing ages of children under 1 was to write the child's age in months over 12 (ie. 7/12 for 7 months). However, on line 11 of page 670 he entered 14/365 for Elizabeth Caudill; on line 30 of page 729 he entered 2/365 for "Babe" Smith; on line 35 of page 730 he entered 2/52 for "Babe" Halcum; and on line 18 of page 734 he entered 1/52 for George Frazier.

On the schedules, Mr. Brashears used, for the most part, what appears to be a backslash '/' (or possibly a one '1') to mark column 13 (ie. "Married within the year"), column 14 (ie. "Attended School within the year") and column 15 (ie. "Persons over 21 yrs of age who cannot read & write"). However, for some unknown reason, Mr. Brashears quite often used checkmarks in column 13, but they do not appear to indicate "Married within the year". Only when he used a backslash in column 13 did it appear to indicate "Married within the year". In the transcription, an 'X' is used to indicate that there was a 'mark' in a particular column (ie. 13, 14 or 15). If a backslash was used in column 13 it will be denoted as such in the transcription.

Beginning with line 1 on page 727 and continuing throughout the rest of the schedules (ie. through page 762), the Household and Family Number fields were crossed out and different numbers were inserted above the crossed out numbers. Beginning with line 1 on page 727, the original Household and Family Numbers were both 208 which were then crossed out and the number 387 was inserted above them. Therefore, there is a difference of 179 between the original numbers entered on the schedules and the corrected number, that is, until page 743. Beginning with line 23 on page 743 there is only a difference of 178 throughout the rest of the schedules. The original Household and Family Number of 303 was skipped (ie. on line 14, 302 was crossed out and replaced by 481 and then on line 23, 304 was crossed out and replaced by 482).

For some unknown reason, Mr. Brashears started using a ditto mark (") in some of the property Value columns only on pages 699, 700 and 701. As noted in the transcription, it has been determined that these ditto marks represent a $0 amount.

Page Numbering: The page numbers listed in this transcription refer to the handwritten page numbers located in the upper right-hand corner of the census schedule. There are a total of 96 pages beginning with page 665 and ending with page 762 (pages 707 and 708 were blank). There is also a "Page No. ____" field in the upper left-hand corner (for odd numbered pages) and upper right-hand corner (for even numbered pages). It begins with page #1 and ends with page #96.

General Transcription Notes: For the most part, the microfilm quality was pretty good and fairly easy to read. Mr. Brashears' handwriting was fairly easy to read once familiarized with it. However, it seemed to change slightly throughout the schedules. Sometimes his handwriting was light, sometimes dark, sometimes sloppy and sometimes relatively neat. When light and sloppy coincided, it was sometimes difficult to make out certain numbers and letters.

Occupations were generally spelled out only once and then abbreviated throughout the rest of the schedules. For an example, "Farm Labor" was spelled out on the first page (665) and then abbreviated as "F L", or in some cases as "Do" (ditto), throughout the rest of the schedules. There were a few occupations that were only abbreviated and never spelled out in the schedules. These occupations were "B M" (on page 686), "S T" (on pages 696 and 724) and "W" (on page 729). Also, beginning on page 730, and continuing throughout the rest of the schedules, Mr. Brashears began to use the abbreviation "F" quite frequently but never noted what this occupation was. It most likely stands for "Farming" or "Farmer". All occupations were transcribed as they appeared in the schedules except where "F L" and "Do" (ditto) were used. Since "Farm Labor" represented the bulk of occupations in this census, it was spelled out. Also, where "Do" (ditto) was used for "Place of Birth" the previous state abbreviation was continued down instead.

Every attempt has been made to transcribe the 1860 Letcher County, KY, Census Schedules "exactly" as they appear in the source document, including some obvious errors and misspellings. Known errors are noted within the transcription; however, many other errors were most likely overlooked and some were no doubt introduced during the transcription process. Therefore, this transcription should only be used as a guideline in your research and not taken as 'gospel'. It is highly recommended that you refer to the actual census records for your own interpretation. All names have been indexed as they appear on the census schedules. So, if you can not find a particular individual, try looking under a different spelling variation.

Brian K. Caudill
Malabar, FL