FreeCEN Scotland

Putting 19th century Scottish census transcriptions online
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Transcriber FAQs

Remember that columns H, K, P, S & V are designated for queries. If there is an entry you are questioning or can not read, please enter an X in the closest query column to the right of the column in question.

If there is something you think should be added to these FAQs, please contact one of the Scotland Coordinators, Rena Mitchell and David Robertson.

Contents

These Transcriber FAQs are organised according to the columns in the spreadsheet.

There is also a section for general questions. If you cannot find what you are looking for in the column questions, please look there.

A — Civil Parish

Please enter the parish name your coordinator gave you. It may be the whole parish or part of a parish.

B — Enumeration district

Q1 - I have two Forfar ED 1–5’s. How do I differentiate between them? Scotland does not use folio numbers so that will not help with differentiating between them.

A1 - Are you sure that they are not duplicates? That does happen. If not, please see below for the appropriate year.

  • 1841: The book numbers, entered in the folio column, will solve this. (See Column C)
  • 1851: You will find a unique printed letter on the first page of the district records to use in conjunction with the ED number.
  • 1861-1871: Please use an a/b designation in conjunction with the ED number.

Q2 - I have just come across the Homeopathic Hospital on Easy Row, Birmingham. This place has got a “normal” schedule number. Do I enter 0#4 or shall I leave it as it is? Also the previous entry was written as 12 Easy Row and all entries were as previous entries but it has got Instit written over the occupation area in different writing so this has not been written by my enumerator. Should I put in a special situation number for this one too?

A2 - Please use the “normal” Enumerator Number with #4 added. Since the Hospital has a “normal” Schedule Number then use that number. If the “clerk” has defined 12 Easy Row as “Inst” then use this method there also.

Q3 - I'm checking my last institution! (please note, dear coordinator!) And have a small problem. It is a convalescent school - so which suffix do I put in the ED?

A3 - “Convalescence” is related primarily to medical matters - please use #4.

Q4 - A church is classed as what?

A4 - Enter it as an address; Schedule = zero if necessary and flag it as “Unoccupied”. This information may be useful to folk trying to visualise the layout of the census district.

Q5 - The institution is very large… consisting of a few hundred names (Regiments residing in the Tower of London).

A5 - Don't forget to use the supplement code for a Barracks. If the page has 25 numbered lines (instead of the usual 31 lines) - do not type those numbers. Everything will be entered against a “single big household” for each distinct regiment with schedule = zero if nothing else is noted. DO NOT start a new schedule every time someone is described as “Head” - even if it looks like a family (married quarters) because often this represents an NCO with a number of “common soldiers” under him.

C — Folio Number

Scotland did not use Folio Numbers. We have found alternate organisational methods in 1841 and 1851, which were added after the census was taken:

  • 1841: There is a book number at the bottom of the GROS page. This is a circled number under the ED number. If there isn't a circled number, please look at the index card, filmed prior to the GROS page, for a number at the top right corner.
  • 1851: There is a volume number listed on an index card prior to the start of the parish. Please use this number.
  • 1861-1871: Most of the pages that contain the book number are either missing or to dark to read. If you find the GROS page, you will see “Book B containing XXX number of people”. Please enter the letter in the folio column. If the page is missing or unreadable, please enter zero.

D — Page Number

Q1 - I have a page 8 followed by pages 11 and 12 and then followed by pages 9 and 10. I assume I type them in this strange order with a note in column Y or my text. Then someone else checks to see if the original pages were in the correct sequence and if this is merely a filming mistake and fix it later if necessary. Right?

A1 - Correct - please type them in the sequence as on the fiche.

Q2 - How do I treat missing pages?

A2 - We can only transcribe that data which is there for us to transcribe. There is no provision in the FreeCEN system(s) to record whether specific page numbers have been left blank (by the Enumerator) or are missing (from the filming). As a parallel: when pages have been filmed twice (fairly common event) we only type the data once.

Also, contact your coordinator so they may order the alternate filming of the census. The pages can be added at a later stage, if they exist.

E — Schedule number

Q1 - Four schedule number's missing on a page i.e. 29, 31, 32 & 35

A1 - Dwelling Status Flag = n. This method confirms that you (the transcriber) are not responsible for missing the schedules out.

Q2 - I have several cases where the enumerator has written 2 schedule numbers in Column E (e.g. 22 & 23), with then only one household entry relating to both these schedule numbers I assume that one household lived in two, combined, adjacent properties. The instructions state that all schedule numbers must be accounted for but the transcription column E will not allow more than 3 numerals. I suppose the family information could be repeated for both schedule numbers but this might erroneously suggest 2 different families with the same name, ages, etc.

A2 - Check and see whether someone else (down the “family” is defined as “Head”). If so, then use Sched 23 for this lower section. If nothing of this kind is apparent: put the household under Sched 22 and then enter Sched 23 with the “n” flag - schedule not used.

Q3 - Enumerator just writes how many unoccupied dwellings with no schedule number or house number. e.g. 2U, 4U, 6U

A3 - Simply enter the necessary number of “Unocc” on separate lines. Each Unocc will be using “Sched No = zero”

Q4 - Schedule number: 14, Address: Jaunceys. In the uninhabited column our enumerator has written ‘2B’. The next schedule number 15 is an occupied house. How do we enter the '2B' on one schedule number?

A4 -

Sched #13: normal
Sched #14: Jaunceys; (first) Building
Sched #0:  Jaunceys; (second) Building
Sched #15: normal

Q5 - Some of my pages are torn along the left hand side, where the schedule & house numbers are. I know we're not supposed to guess, but I've had a good look & all the schedule numbers work out as they should. So - do I carry on or do I put 0 for all the unseen numbers?

A5 - Please use the “zero” for Schedule numbers and nothing for missing house numbers

Q6 - The 1 under the inhabited column (with the double oblique line before the name), I have represented with a 0 for schedule number (i.e. a different dwelling). Whereas 1u on the same line is in fact an additional unoccupied dwelling. It gets its own line in SS transcription, 0 as a schedule number and a u code for unoccupied with no other columns filled in. Right?

A6 - Looks good to me.

Q7 - Household continues from bottom of Page 1 to top of Page 2. Top 4 lines of Page 2 have no Sched No or Address details. Line 5 of Page 2 starts new household, (Sched and address shown, and new family details) I know that an address is only entered where and when the Enumerator has shown it, so Lines 1 to 4 of the new Page have the address cells left blank (or with only hyphens). What should be done about the missing Sched No in Lines 1 to 4 of Page 2?
Leave blank?
Enter hyphen?
Enter 0 (zero)?
Enter same Sched No as was used for the first part of the household on Page 1?

A7 - Since it sounds here as though the top of Page 2 is a continuation from Page 4 then we simply leave the Header Data as it was typed for the Page 4 schedule. In SSCENS it is important that you DO NOT use Sched = 0 just because you are at the top of a new page: NOR should you re-enter the schedule number again on this line as that will (at the conversion) trigger the start of a new household, as explained in the STRUCTUR.HTM page that downloads with SSCENS.

Q8 - When I have a continuation of the previous household on a new page, I have typed in all the headers, district, folio, page, NOT schedule, but I have put the house name. Is this OK?

A8 - Great! Save some keying - no need to repeat house name

Q9 - Changing page when the household isn't finished - advice needed please

A9 - Just keep on entering data. If using SSCENS DO NOT repeat the Schedule Number if the page change comes in the middle of a household

Q10 - The enumerator has given it a sched no but drawn a line right across the entry

A10 - If the Schedule number is not used at all then it must be flagged as “n”. If it's for the Church - ignore the crossing out; and flag as unoccupied.

Q11 - The enumerator has taken to mentioning “gardens”

Sched: # 52 - 101 High St.
 -     --   - Large Garden
Sched: # 53 - 4 Comyn Cotts.
Sched: # 54 - 3 Comyn Cotts.
 -     --   - Garden
Sched: # 55 - 121 High St.
  						

The “garden” is written on the last line of the previous household, almost as an afterthought. I suppose they could be considered as small parks, which they do have a couple of at this present time, and which would take up a lot of the plots. Hence the jump in the High St numbers. As they have not been given a plot number as per the previous vacant ground, i.e. (b), 0 sched # and “garden” in the address panel?

A11 - From your description “SCHED = 0” method. At least then no-one can accuse us of missing out census information, and I would regard this much the same as (say) the name of a church being listed in the middle of the schedule sequence.

Q12 - There are hundreds of entries for Katherine Bld. They must be quite small quarters because when there is a family of five or more they are allotted two addresses and that seems to be the time they are given two Sched. Nos. It seems odd that I should make just one household for the Head and a second household for the Wife and children.

A12 - Follow the Enumerators' enthusiasm and quote all schedule numbers.

Q13 - I have an entry under name column for “Midland Bank”. There is no schedule no. and no “unoccupied” reference.

A13 - Use schedule number = zero and flag as “u”.

Q14 - How do you enter households that are in a tenement? There are several single slashes between the double slashes. (1841 Scotland Census)

A14 - In 1841 clearly defining households can be a little tricky. Servants, lodgers, etc. are not put in a separate household. Be careful of such things as outhouses. These are separate houses on the same property, such as a farm, and it will be enumerated as “outhouse” in the address column on the census sheet making it appear as a new household. Outhouse should be specified in the notes with the same address and household kept or else when people do a search in the database they'll come up with a household that makes no sense.

First, if it's a small parish double slashes // signify that a new household begins with the single slash / separating the non-related person from the members of the family. So you would have a list of family members and then a single slash with servants, apprentices, ag lab's, etc. listed under them before the next double slash. The servants do not get separated out to a new household.

In a large parish the double slashes could indicate a new building and the single slashes indicating the families in it. If you have several single slashes between double slashes and the servants aren't separated from the family then use the single slashes as new households.

F — House number

Q1 - I have a house number “114 & 116”.

A1 - Put the “House Number” as “114”
Put the Address as “114 & 116 Some St”

Q2 - In the column above some house names the enumerator has written “Chapel” and later above another set of house/farm names “Church” but with no additional information added across the other columns. Are these words to be entered as it is written in the column and/or noted in the “Y” column?

A2 - I believe these will be found to be “markers” along his collection route. Please enter them in the relevant places, Schedule = zero, and flag as “Unoccupied”.

Q3 - We have several pages of entries like this:
Back 122 No.1 Court 17 Gt Hampton St, or 122 Gt Hampton St Court 17 No.3.
Do you want these entered as is or like you said, e.g. “Put 118 in the No. space, Type the whole lot into the street field,”

118   118/2B Gt Hampton Row
  						

A3 –
House number = 122
Address: “122/1B Ct17, Gt Hampton St”

(The comma is acceptable in an address and serves to separate the “street” from the “detail”.)

Q4 - Could someone please remind me of the protocol decided for multiple house numbers I've several instances of things like:
1 & 2 High Street
3 High Street
4 & 5 High Street

A4 - House Number = 1
Street Address = 1 & 2 High Street

Q5 - Have just started a new piece (using InCens) and note that the enumerator has listed and numbered vacant ground.

Sched# 23     47 High St. (occupied as normal)
(no Sched #)  49 Vacant Ground
Sched# 24     51 High St. (occupied as normal)
  						

Could you please advise how to deal with this?

A5 - The best “option” open to us is to flag these as “b” - this, at least, defines an address.

Q6 - Can I enter a half by using Alt 171 or other combinations?

A6 - DO NOT use “special Characters” (<ALT + whatever>) in any transcriptions

G — Street / Road address

Q1A - The enumerator wrote in the village in the header of the census page and the enumeration district description states that this part comprises the village. But there are no addresses written.

A1A- Enter the village in the address column. There is enough information given that this is not an assumption. Please read the Enumerator Instructions.

Q1 - Road, Street or Name of House at the top of each page and then not ditto

A1 - First, please read the Enumerator's instructions for the year you are working on.
1841: Standard practice to fill down the address.
1851: Look at the line the Enumerator drew between the households. If it does not go all the way across then it is the same address as previously written. If it does, then type a hyphen in the address. If the Enumerator did not write in full nor “ditto” then neither should we assume the address is the same - leave the assumption for the future researchers. If the Enumerator did “Ditto” by word or sign, then we spell out in full.

Q2 - I have just started a new enumerator who has abbreviated the first street name. Reading the Description of Enumerator District synopsis, It starts by saying comprising that part etc known as Horninglow Road N. In his sheets he has used Horn Road N.

A2 - The fact that we have the full street name in the Enumerator “introduction” is grounds enough to SPELL OUT in full in the body of the work - certainly we should not reduce the address to anything less than “Horninglow Rd N” (There might be a “Horn St” in the area!)

Q3 - If there is a property with two heads of household but two schedule numbers, the second one not listing an address or dittos what do I do? There are usually two small lines separating one household from another but this only has one small line, e.g.

>Sched 1,  10 Smith Street,  Fred Bloggs Head, Married, etc.
>/
>Sched 2                     Edward Smith, Head, Married, etc
>//
>Sched 3   11 Smith Street,  Steven Jones, Head, Single
  						

A3 - Please read the Enumerator Instructions for the year you are working on. See Question 1. A double slash indicates a new physical building. Therefore, Schedule 2 would be the same address as Schedule 1.

Q4 - The enumerator has suddenly decided to add the word (Cottage) or (House) or even (Caravan) after the street address

A4 - Please include it all where there is sufficient space

Q5 - How often should you repeat the address information?

A5 - It is only recommended that the full “header details” should be entered at each new page <quote> to show that you have checked the details (end quote>. So, since the address should not have changed in the middle of the household, there is no need to type it just because it is written at the top of the next page. Note that an address, if provided by the Enumerator or “dittoed”, should be typed at the start of each household - otherwise the conversion programme will record it as an “address not provided”.

Q6 - How do I treat “back of” in an address?

A6 - I understand that the “back of” goes into the address column. i.e. 26 back of 23 high St should be done as follows:
26 (in the house number column) back of 23 High St (in the address column.)

H — Query or special use

Q1 - Have come to a halt as my latest Enumerator has marked the next property: “house unoccupied Sunday 5th April”. As previous unoccupied properties haven't been marked in this way, do I mark as unoccupied or Absent/Visiting.

A1 - Since the Enumerator does not mention “visiting” - neither should we. Enter a U in column H.

Q2 - Please explain how to use these b. n. u. etc codes

A2 - Processing Uninhabited
Enter the following in Column H.
b - if it is a building under construction
u - if it is an uninhabited building
v - if the family is marked on the Census sheet as visiting or absent
n - if schedule numbers are missing from the logical sequence.

The entries may be located with the people or may be at the bottom of the page. Please check in both places.

Q3 - I've got “Head of house absent” written right across the name, surname & relation to head columns of the fiche. The rest of the family - wife, 2 daughters & 3 sons, plus a boarder - are at home. I've entered *V* in column H & put a note in column *Y* saying “Head of house absent-rest of family at home” & I've entered the wife etc. as it's entered on the fiche. Is this OK, or should I do something else?

A3 - At conversion, anything in the record beyond the “v” status flag is ignored (Except the Notes column)- this makes problems since the programme will expect the wife to be signalled as the start of a new household!

Do not use “v” in this instance: enter the man in the normal way AND include in the Notes column “Absent at census”.

This note will carry through to the database and we get the best of both worlds: the names of the whole family, and the mystery of what the head might have been doing on census night :-)

Q4 - When no schedule numbers are recorded and are uninhabited but are buildings e.g. mission hall, post office do you use u or n?

A4 -
Uninhabited buildings such as Hall, Church, etc use “U”
Buildings in progress (i.e. not completed) use “B”
If the Enumerator tells us that a family was “not at home” on census night, then use “V” (visiting)

The flag “N” is only used if there are Schedule Numbers missing from the logical sequence.

I — Surname

Q1 - I've got 2 people whose names are given as nk. Should I enter this as UNK in the surname column and then enter the rest of the details as given?

A1 - “UNK” MUST NOT be used except for an unknown County.
You may enter (Unknown) or simply a hyphen.
No need to set the Query flag for the surname; but put a NOTE “no names recorded”.

Q2 - Not sure about where to type upper or lower case

A2 - It is a matter of personal preference. FreeCEN software will sort it out

Q3 - At the bottom of a page after four members of a family have been written down the enumerator has written “one omitted see page 46” Looking at page 46 there is an entry noting the missing member of the family. Do I enter the missing member into the family entry or leave it as it is?

A3 - Policy is that we keep all person entries in the order in which they appear on the census pages - that way a researcher will be able to find the ancestors on the film. By all means include a Note against one of the family, “See Folio #x page #p” (don't forget we are restricted to 44 characters for Notes!) but the “stray” should be entered in the sequence as found on the census pages.

Q4 - It is still as valid for a Scotswoman to use her maiden name as her married one, and court cases etc cite female defendants as “Jean Brown or Smith” or even in some cases “Jean Brown or Smith or Green.” How should this be entered?

A4 - The Database Search will accept surname entries of “BROWN / SMITH” or even of “BROWN / SMITH / GREEN”. If known, please enter the married name first.

Note the spaces which will enable the search to detect any one of the entered surnames.

Q5 - How do I enter Scottish names such as Mc H.., or MACK. Or Mac K or M'D?

A5 - MAC and MC should not be followed by a space, but joined to the rest of the surname

Upper and lower case issues should not matter as genealogical conventions put all letters in a last name in capitals

Q6 - How would you like such luminaries as the Right Honourable Lady Charlotte Hay entered?

A6 - Hay, Charlotte (Rt Hon.Lady)

J — Forename

Q1 - I know that abbreviated forenames should not be expanded e.g. Thos to Thomas, but my numerator puts Will then a very small m at the top of the l for William. Likewise Frederick is entered as Fred with a small k next to the top of the d. Do I enter it as Willm and Fredk?

A1 - Yes, do NOT use “special characters” for the small letters.

Q2 - Could you advise the correct way of showing forename of female when given as Mrs Wm … I know the Mrs is to be bracketed, should the Wm be left as forename, or included in brackets?

A2 - Enter her forename as “ - (Mrs Wm.)” the hyphen because her entitled name is not listed, and then the bracket titles according to the standards

Q3 - At Yarrow Manse, the Minister is listed as Robert Russell D.D. Should I put the D.D. which is presumably Doctor of Divinity, with his occupation of Minister rather than beside his name?

A3 - Titles and honours come after forenames, and in brackets
e.g.
Robert (D.D.)
RUSSELL
Minister (or whatever)

Q4 - I have come across a house run by Sisters e.g.

Str Anna de St Marie  rel..Sister..Occ..Little Sister of the Poor
Str Alice de St Jean         "                    "
Str St Emmelie …             "                    "
  						

I'm in the process of checking using CHECK-CENS & questioning name & surname. Do I leave as complete forename or break it up?

A4 - I believe that the Sisters would have given up their “worldly surnames” on taking their vows. With our policy for “titles” to follow the forename and enclosed in () brackets I favour:-
“Anna de St Marie (Str)” with no surname (i.e. a hyphen/dash)

Q5 - I've come across a 3 month old baby with no first name given

A5 - Personally I favour a bracketed (unnamed) as the entry but just a hyphen can also be used.

K — Surname and Forename Query Column

L — Relationship to head

Q1 - How do we enter “relationship to head” adopted?

A1 - Use “ad-son” or “ad-dau” if we can be sure that that either of these applies. Otherwise use “adopt”.

Q2 - I have a chap whose relationship to head of household is given as “farm servant” - do I just enter “servnt” or put the full thing? His occupation is given as “agricultural labourer”?

A2 - Enter Relationship as “Servnt”
Enter Occupation as “Ag Lab (farm Serv)”

Q3 - I have a household with a Head and then a male Lodger. Under that is “wife of lodger”. If I enter her as “Lodger” how do I indicate that she is the wife of the man above?

A3 - Her “relationship to head” is merely “lodger”
Put “lodger's wife” in the Notes field.

Relationship Definitions

Nurse Child:
  • A foster child
  • A child in the care of a nurse
  • A child caring for younger siblings or children
Lodger:
A person that is only sleeping at the premises
Boarder:
A person who also takes meals, as well as sleeps, at the premises

M — Marital Condition

Please enter only
M = Married
W = Widowed
U = Unmarried
If there is no entry, please leave this blank.

N — Sex

Transcribe as enumerated. If you think the entry was enumerated incorrectly, you may query it in column P and enter a note, “Enumerated as XXX”.

O — Age

Q1 - An enumerator who has decided to enter children's ages in months. - i.e. a 2& a half year old. Should I have just entered 2yrs?

A1 - The specification defines limits (e.g. no more than “24m”) and also that we IGNORE fractions. So enter “2” (the conversion will put in “y” = years. Optionally, you may put the “30 months old” as a note in Column Y

P — Relationship, Marital Status, Sex and Age Query Column

Q — Occupation

Q1 - If the enumerator has left the occupation entry blank should I put a hyphen to show I didn't miss something? The field description notes show column Q (occupation) as no default whereas most other columns are default hyphen.

A1 - The Occupation field is quite optional: blank or hyphen, which makes things start looking complicated. In practice, SSCENS conversion will try to fill in any blank space with a hyphen, so what's the difference?

Every person must have some answers completed; thus name, gender, age, and birthplace. A “relationship to head” and “marital status” should have been given for all adults but we know these details are often omitted. Many people, especially wives and young children have no occupation. The hyphen is therefore only an aid to transcription, making it easier to spot any missed fields

Q2 - Should occupation names be expanded? i.e. fs written as female servant; ind written as independent means etc

A2 - The instructions require expansion of such abbreviations, WHERE WE ARE QUITE SURE WHAT THE FULL MEANING IS. IND can sometimes mean “indigent”. See this table of occupations for a list of official abbreviations.

Q3 - I had yesterday “Hide & Bark Merchant Liverpool Timber co, employer”. I was unable to fit all this in, I did add employer (F6), and the rest I marked and put in notes, IS THIS OK only I see I have some even longer occupations to come and have had some before but what is the RULE PLEASE?

A3 - Fit what you can in the Occupation field, residue into “Notes”.
“Hide & Bark Merchant, (Em'er)” in Occupation
“Liverpool Timber co” in Notes

Q4 - The 45 year old father of a family of six is described as a vagrant beggar, then ditto for the rest of the family. Is this an accurate description for the children including a one year old? Should I be repeating vagrant beggar six times?

A4 - Please repeat “vagrant beggar”.

Q5 - Do we correct spelling for occupations?

A5 - If you are absolutely certain that it is a spelling error, then correct. However beware many obscure occupations have died out in the years since these census records.

Q6 - “Crossed out” Occupations?

A6 - The “cross out” was done by the enumerator's supervisor because the enumerator did not follow the prescribed format. Always enter anything as written by the original enumerator as it is likely to be correct. If the supervisor put down a second occupation, you can also include that information. Wife, subtenant, nursling, border, visiting niece, and any other random thing written in the occupation column on the census should be entered in the occupation column on the spreadsheet.

R — Employment category

**Not Applicable to 1841–1871.

Q1 - I've been typing “e” in column R for employed people, but not sure what to do re self-employed?

A1 - “e” please, since they are “employed”

S — Occupation and Employment Query Column

T — Where born county

Q1 - You may enter a county where it absolutely clear that there could be no other place with the same name in a different county!!! Unfortunately, in England this is often not the case, so be careful! If you are not sure, please enter a hyphen for the county.

A1 - No! The county must be given a three-letter “Chapman Code” - or, if all else fails, the code “UNK”

The Birthplace is more tolerant and may be satisfied with a hyphen.

Q2 - New enumerator has just written down the counties and countries in some instances, with no towns. e.g. Wales, Gloucestershire, Salop, Worcester, America

A2 - Then this is all we can enter for the county except for the America one who will be “OVF America”. Remember Gloucester (for example) may be the city or anywhere in the county.

Q3 - Birthplace shown as “London Midx” or “Midx London” How should these be entered?

A3 - “MDX” is a county - and only a county.
“LND” can be treated as a county if the “parish” is (generally) within the “City of London”.
Thus you may have
“MDX London” or
“LND London” or
“LND - ”
But NEVER “LND Midx”

Q4 -The enumerator only entered Aberdeen, Inverness, etc., giving no indication whether he meant the city of the county.

A4 - Enter the Chapman code for the county and a hyphen for the place of birth. We know the city is in the county but we don't know if the enumerator meant the county or city.

Q5 - The person was born in the West Indies. Do I enter OVB, OVF or UNK?

A5 - Enter OVB as the West Indies was a British colony at this time. The OVB does NOT specifically mean that the person was a British Subject, but that they were born in one of the British Empire Countries of the time.
britishlibrary.net history
britishempire.co.uk maproom

A5a - See The British Empire in the 19th century — a list of British territories grouped by region, with qualifying dates.

  1. OVB =
    1. Where the person is stated to be a British Subject
    2. Naturalised Briton (Sometimes shown as B.S)
    3. One born in a British Empire Country
  2. OVF = Foreign birth-places
  3. UNK = A last resort if the Transcriber does not known which way to go or not enough information is given

U — Where born place

Q1 - I am about to meet an entry where the place of birth is “Spalding Lancashire”. I live in Doncaster & know full well that Spalding is not that far from me in Lincolnshire. I can't find another Spalding.

A1 - Remember (for example) that sometimes county boundaries have been changed.We do not know all such instances and therefore the Transcriber and Checker are asked to enter “AS IS”.

When the work reaches the Validators, they have the option to add an “alternative birthplace” which may be a modern spelling, a corrected county, or even a different interpretation of the script. This “alternative” will also be put onto the database for search purposes.

Q2 - Column T requests “Where born County” I inserted here as required i.e. CON; SCT or IRL etc.
Now - Column U requests “Where born place” The 1841 never indicated where born. Just Y or N for county. I see the default is - ? What do I put in this column? “-” or - or (-) or nothing?

A2 - You can leave this blank when using SSCENS for the 1841 transcripts; a hyphen will be added as necessary during the conversion to FreeCEN format. All other years require a hyphen entered during transcription.

Q3 - Where born: Switzerland (Naturalised British Subject). Is this OVF or OVB?

A3 - Please use “OVB”, with “Switzerland” in column U and “Naturalised” in the Notes column Y

Q4 - If the enumerator has used ditto marks for the place names do you put a place name for each person or just for each household? If there are no ditto marks then do you put in the place name just for the one marked?

A4 - Anywhere the Enumerator has provided “ditto marks” we should expand this to the appropriate information. If the Enumerator has left the space empty - then so do we

Q5 - What is the policy for Scotland regarding the use of traditional and modern place names?

A5 - Policy is to use the traditional names or the ones written by the enumerator. Descriptions of the district, time-appropriate maps, and modern day maps should be used primarily to clarify the spelling for a hard to read word. In general, the best policy is always “as is”.

V — County and Place of Birth Query Column

Please enter an X if you are questioning the place of birth or the county of birth.

W — Disability Column

Q1 - The disability is entered as Deaf & Dumb. How do I enter this to fit six characters?

A1 - Df&Db. Enter a note to expand it. “Deaf & Dumb”.

X — Language Column

Not applicable for 1841-1871.

W - Welsh
G - Gaelic

Y — Notes

Q1 - I have a number of examples where the enumerator has written a comment beside the schedule and street numbers. Sometimes there is 'u' code, sometimes not. Should the following be included in mynotes.txt? Occupied as shopping lock up manufactory. If I used the regular notes (spreadsheet col y), those entries with a 'u' would be ignored. Is the above info useful?

A1 - If you are using SSCENS (spreadsheet) then notes in column Y will be saved. This could be useful extra information and is worth including.

This sort of info is very useful to explain gaps in street numbering or occupancy, and may help someone to guess at where an ancestor may have worked. It’s always a source of frustration when you are looking for a particular street number, and the sequence seems to peter out before it gets to that number. Sometimes because the street ends in green fields, and sometimes because of industrial and other premises which are later demolished for redevelopment and new housing, but may have missed a mention in Enumerators pages or the transcription process. Old churches, chapels and school buildings are also of interest as part of the history of the locality, though not having overnight residents on Census night.

General questions

Q1 - Have encountered three different duplicated pages. Am I correct in filling in col BCD (sscens) x in col H with an explanation in col Y?
By entering these extra pages I am breaking up the continuation of a family, help!

A1 - Are they duplicated in the original book or were they just filmed twice? If it is the latter, I don't see any need to put them in. You would know because the page numbering would be the same and every ink blot would be in exactly the same place

Q2 - What is a CSV file?

A2 - The csv file is a format with no frills which can be picked up by any piece of software that can handle either spreadsheets or databases. The idea is that it retains the data only that you've entered on the spreadsheet, and a comma replaces the line at the edge of the cell. (All we are interested in is the raw data at this stage.) CSV files have the advantage that they may be generated by a number of different spreadsheet packages.

Q3 - I want to start live entries and have entered the Parish and enumeration district ok but on the New page/ Household I am unable to store the information

A3 - If you are using WINDOWS Office, Office, Office XP then it will not let you. You cannot use INCENS you have to use SSCENS

Q4 - I'm transcribing a dead man!! The enumerator has written a name and then crossed it out with a note saying “dead a week”. Do I transcribe this?

A4 - Yes. This is still useful information to the researcher but leave a note letting the researcher know that the entry was crossed out with the above note. Remember our goal is to reproduce the census in it's most original format so no entry should be left out.

Q5 - I've got three quarters way through my work, and have just realised I've been using Capitals in some of the columns. I just cannot get used to typing in all lower case. Will I have to amend my work?

A5 - Type the text items in just as you like. i.e. all capitals, all lower case, or with initial letters capitalised. The various conversion and checking procedures will automatically rewrite the items into a preferred form to suit the final format for publishing online.

Q6 - Can I insert an entry for every line I think the enumerator filled in, using a dash where a whole word is unreadable and the odd (?) if just a few of the letters have faded away

A6 - Please note that the query mark (?) is a NO! NO! anywhere in FreeCEN files except in the NOTES field

Q7 - How then should I transcribe an occupation, say, if I want to indicate that I can read the first letter and the last two, and am unsure of three in the middle?

A7 - I don't mind whether you use:
mu(--)a(-)ore or
mu(..)a(.)ore or
mu(…….)

Please use the ( ) around the dashes or periods so the conversion program will ignore whatever is within. Otherwise we get numerous warnings that really mean nothing. Set the query flag to “x” - which, if it is still unresolved on the database will highlight the name fields to indicate “Severe doubts about these names”.

But do not use the “?”

Q8 - I know the Welsh language. Should I translate the words back into English?

A8 - Any words written in Welsh (or any other non-English language) are to be entered as written. DO NOT attempt any translation!

Q9 - There is an entry written in a different hand, as if an addition was made. Do I transcribe this in addition to the original?

A9 - Sometimes the office clerk added information, or changed it, to what he thought it should be. If the information is important, such as a relationship in 1841, please enter it with a note that it is in a different handwriting. If it's simply a change, such as house servant to female servant, you can ignore it. If you choose to enter the additional information, always enter the original first and make sure to leave a note explaining the other.

Q10 - Splitting Screen and viewing images.

Viewing Software

The jpeg images can be viewed with a free program called Irfanview.

Splitting (viewing both image and spreadsheet)

  1. Minimise both screens (Image and Spreadsheet) and resize with the cursor until you can see both.
    WINCC — Minimize the image screen and fit to half the screen. Drag the WINCC window down until you can see the image.
  2. Use the ALT+TAB keys to move forward through the list of open screens. (This will be easier and faster than clicking back and forth with the mouse.)
  3. Use the ALT+TAB+SHIFT to move backwards through the list of open screens.

-- OR --

Open only the two screens — Image and Program. Right Click in the bottom tool bar, anywhere in the gray area, and choose “Tile Windows”. This works best for Transcription. WINCC will still have to be dragged down.

If there is something you think should be added to these FAQs, please contact one of the Scotland Coordinators, Rena Mitchell and David Robertson.