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Name errors in census...how to cite?

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#1 texas_nightowl

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 08:18 PM

I was wondering how y'all handle citing census entries that were entered by the enumerator incorrectly. Or possibly just transcribed wrong in the indexes. Specifically, names.

 

1. On the German side of my family, one of my greats is named Charles Kahre. In one of the censuses, the only way we found him was viewing the whole township until found.  He was entered as Carl Carl. Really.  So, when citing the census, do I say "household of Charles Kahre" or "household of Carl Carl"?

 

2. In another instance, my ancestor was found again by viewing the township records and found that indexers had transcribed his name as Wandell instead of Wardell. Viewing the original image I can see where people might see it as Wandell. Do I cite it as hh of "Wandell" or "Wardell"?

 

3. Another enumerator error...he entered "Adams" instead of "Adamson". But based on names, ages, place of birth, location, and 2 other members of the household, I know they are mine. Correct way to cite?

 

My citations will otherwise have all the other data....township and/or P.O., page, line, dwelling, family. Just wondering how to handle these in the "household of" part.



#2 zhangrau

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 12:04 AM

I list an Alternate Name fact, with citation, for every person and all of the various spellings. Sometimes a short explanation is added to the Alternate Name Note. That means a typical male has 3 or more:
Given Middle Surname
Given MI Surname
Given Surname
 
And a typical female will have 7 or more:
Given Middle Maiden

Given MI Maiden
Given Maiden

Given (Maiden) Married

Given Middle Married

Given MI Married
Given Married

 

Because of alternate spellings in census, marriage, city directory, etc., etc. I have some individuals with 15 or 20 different Alternate Name facts. Some of those instances have a single Source citation, and others have many citations. This provides some evidence as to how the individual was most commonly known.



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 08:47 AM

The way I handle Master Sources and citations for census, a person's name does not appear anywhere in the footnote sentence. The footnote sentence just gets you to the census page. For example, U.S. Federal Census: Knox County, Tennessee, 1940, Dist. 13, Enumeration Dist. 47-33, page 622a, viewed at ancestry.com (1940 U.S. Census) on 9 December 2014. I really don't try to keep track of NARA reel number and that sort of thing that often appear in citations for census entries. I also don't try to keep track of "long" URL's because I think they are unlikely to be meaningful for very long any way. I simply cite the Web site, and for Web sites with multiple databases, the name of the database.

 

I use census both as a source and as a fact (aka event). As a source, I enter a transcription of the census entry into the Source Text field for the Master Source. I am a source splitter. The equivalent procedure for a source lumper would be to enter a transcription of the census entry into Research Notes field for the Detail Text for the citation. I also attach (tagging, in RM parlance) an image of the census page to the Master Source (and to follow the same procedure a source lumper could attach an image of the census page to the citation). Nobody ever sees these transcriptions except for me because I do not print them in reports.

 

I copy and paste my census transactions into the census facts (aka events) themselves. These transcription do appear in reports, and they do reflect the way the name actually appeared in the census.  For the most part, I don't put any additional narrative about the name into the census note. I figure that variations like Thomas and Tom and Tommy and Thos. are sufficiently self-evident not to need further explanation.  I also assume that surname variations such as Bryan, Bryant, Brian, and Briant are usually sufficiently self-evident not to need further explanation. But I do provide additional explanation in exceptional cases.

 

For example, I have recorded a census entry for Arrie Scarbrough. The man's name was Robert Earl Scarbrough, and he was always known by his initials as R. E.  I'm sure that what happened was that the census enumerator said "what is your name?". In his southern Appalachian dialect, R. E. said his name as "R. E." but the census enumerator heard it as "Arrie". That is just a theory and it can never be proven, but I'm sure it's correct. In any case, I included my theory as a narrative in the note for the census fact (aka event).

 

Another situation that's worthy of comment is when the census enumerator reverses a couple of names, such as reversing the name of the wife with the name of the first child. For example, I have a Rebecca Frances George who married Thomas Fielden Slaton and their first child was Francis Marion (Frank) Slaton, This situation is a little complicated by the fact that the mother's middle name was Frances and her son's first name was Francis. But in any case, the mother was always known as Rebecca and never as Frances. In 1850, the enumerator listed the mother as Francis age 33 female and the oldest son as Rebecca age 7 male. I thought that situation rose to the level of needing explanation in the census note. At the same time, the family's surname was enumerated in 1850 as Slayton. But those kind of spelling variations for this particular family are an overarching issue that need to be explained just once and not repeated in every census entry for every family member over many generations.

 

I don't use RM's Alternate Name fact at all because I don't really like the way it appears in reports. I very much prefer to include a narrative about a person's name or names in RM's birth fact (aka event). I use the birth fact for this purpose because it appears first for a person in a narrative report. Putting a narrative about a person's name into their general note makes the narrative about their name appear too late in the report for my satisfaction.

 

Obviously, your mileage may vary. I suspect that I am very much in the minority in the way I handle these issues.

 

Jerry



#4 Nettie

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 09:18 AM

I do not use Alternate Name for spellings found on census records or certificates.  They are typed as found on a record no matter which kind of record in the Citation/Source for the fact.  I use the Detail Text in the Source Citation to do the spellings and in square brackets [  ]  the spelling of record for the person in RM. Have in the past used the Note to document this part, but since the Detail Text in the Citation Manager can be part of the Narrative Report I switched from Notes to Detail Text.


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#5 Renee Zamora

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 10:13 AM

I am similar to what Nellie said. I will enter the name just like the record says on the source citation. You want to cite exactly what the records says so the person can find that record again.

 

On the Detail Text tab under "Research Notes" I then transcribe what the record said.

 

In the Detail Text tab - Comments section I will then clarify what the record says, my impressions, etc.  

 

Seeing the wrong name in the citation will make people actually read your findings if they are a good genealogist.

 

If you print our a Research Notes report on the person they will see how those conclusions came about with all the sources, citations, transcriptions and comments laid out for them.


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#6 texas_nightowl

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 12:50 AM

Thank you all for the responses! All good information!

 

So it sounds like the concensus in terms of the citation is to use the name as it appears in the census. So the citation would be: 1870 U.S. Census....household of Carl Carl.  And then, in the Research Notes area, along with the transcription of the lines for the household I should add or note the "correct" spelling or in some cases explain why I know it is the same family (in the cases of really aggregious misspellings!). (Or alternately put just the transcription in the Research Notes area and in the Comments area, explain the name or how I know it is the "right" family.)

 

I have used the alternate name fact in some cases, but it did not seem quite right for some of these cases. For example, the "Carl Carl" example comes from an enumerator working in a *heavily* German area and writing what he "heard." I could certainly use an alternate name fact for "Charles Kahre" vs "Carl Kahre", but "Carl Carl" is not an actual alternate name he used.

 

Jerry...I too do use Census as both a fact and a source to other facts. But I am definitely more a lumper. I am in process of setting up just one census source per census year using freeform (as per an earlier topic of mine). I have cut and pasted the transcription from the Research Notes of the source into the Census fact note, but I need to be more diligent about doing it consistently. I do like your idea of writing a Narrative in the birth fact about alternate names instead of using the alt name fact.

 

 

In a related question (maybe I should do this as a new topic), how does everyone handle attaching the census (fact) to all the members of the household. As I am setting up my new freeform lumper scheme, I am currently just adding the Census fact with the source to the head of household. I need to determine how I want to handle other members of the household. For example, just memorize the source and add the normal Census fact to each person and paste the source? Or, create additional roles in the Census fact and share the fact?

 

I believe if I share the fact, then the shared facts will not attach to the people when exporting to gedcom? (Though TomH has a tool for this I believe?)



#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 07:03 AM


In a related question (maybe I should do this as a new topic), how does everyone handle attaching the census (fact) to all the members of the household. As I am setting up my new freeform lumper scheme, I am currently just adding the Census fact with the source to the head of household. I need to determine how I want to handle other members of the household. For example, just memorize the source and add the normal Census fact to each person and paste the source? Or, create additional roles in the Census fact and share the fact?

 

I do not use shared facts and I do not use family facts except for the most basic ones such as marriage and divorce. Therefore, each individual gets their own census fact for every census in which they appear. The census note for the head of household includes a complete transcription of the household's census entry. For everybody else in the household, the census note includes a transcription of just their one line of the household's census entry plus a brief narrative of the relationship of the person to the head of household. For example, here is the way the real census note appears for the 1850 census for William Allen Bryan: "William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan." (without the quotes)

 

My total process for recording census information is a little more complicated than that - probably much more complicated than any rational person would undertake. My first step is to transcribe the census entry onto my personal Web site where the census entries are organized by state, county, and year. That is you start with a list of states and pick a state. You see a list of counties and pick a county. You see a list of years and pick a year. E.g., North Carolina -> Surry County -> 1800. My transcriptions on my Web page are tabular in appearance using a fixed width font. It drives me crazy that I can't get the same effect from within RM. My transcriptions on my Web page also include a little narrative about the family - when the couple got married, who their respective parents were, often the full names and correctly spelled names of the people, and how I'm related to them. The little narrative is done in a nice proportional font. All this census data is in HTML, which obviously is very portable and which I hope will serve as one legacy of my research. A couple of years ago, I started adding census images to all my transcriptions. Previous to that, I didn't have enough space for the census images on my personal Web site.

 

Having completed that first step, the next step then is to create census facts (aka events) in RM wherein I copy and paste from my Web page into RM. In the process of copying and pasting, I lose my nice tabular format. As a source splitter, I create a Master Source in RM for each census image that I use. The image for the page is attached to (tagged to) the Master Source, and I copy and paste my census transcriptions to the Master Text -> Source Text field of each Master Source for census data in addition to copying and pasting the transcriptions to the note for the census fact.

 

I have considered having my census transcriptions appear in reports as part of what appears in footnotes rather than having them appear in the body of my reports. Narrative reports, Family Group Sheets, and the Individual Summary report each support this feature. Because I'm an extreme source splitter, I would have to write an SQLite script to populate the Detail Text -> Research Notes field of each citation from the Master Text -> Source Text field of the associated Master Source. Source lumpers would not have this problem. If I decide to take this approach, I would still record the census transcriptions in the Master Text -> Source Text field and run my script periodically to update the Detail Text -> Research Notes field.

 

Jerry



#8 Renee Zamora

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 01:07 PM

Jerry, under Tools>Program Options>Display change the Note Editor fonts to a fixed width font (like Consolas) to keep the spacing. 


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#9 texas_nightowl

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 03:48 PM

Thanks again Jerry for being so detailed about your process!

 

 

I do not use shared facts and I do not use family facts except for the most basic ones such as marriage and divorce. Therefore, each individual gets their own census fact for every census in which they appear. The census note for the head of household includes a complete transcription of the household's census entry. For everybody else in the household, the census note includes a transcription of just their one line of the household's census entry plus a brief narrative of the relationship of the person to the head of household. For example, here is the way the real census note appears for the 1850 census for William Allen Bryan: "William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan." (without the quotes)

 

Jerry

 

So just to be clear, that sentence "William 1 m w TN..." you put in the fact note? Do you not use the customize sentence then or do you have both populated?  I guess I need to go run another test and verify what is printed where re: sentence/fact note.



#10 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 09:08 PM

Jerry, under Tools>Program Options>Display change the Note Editor fonts to a fixed width font (like Consolas) to keep the spacing. 

 

I know about that feature, but it only works when you are working in RM. I need it to work for reports.

 

Jerry



#11 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 09:22 PM

Thanks again Jerry for being so detailed about your process!

 

 

So just to be clear, that sentence "William 1 m w TN..." you put in the fact note? Do you not use the customize sentence then or do you have both populated?  I guess I need to go run another test and verify what is printed where re: sentence/fact note.

 

I have always put the sentence transcription itself into the census fact note - and similarly for other facts where transcriptions are appropriate - court house marriage record transcriptions for marriage facts, tombstone transcriptions for burial facts, death certificate and obituary transcriptions for death facts, etc.

 

Where my strategy has changed a bit through the years is for any additional data that is not a part of the literal census transcription. I started out putting the part about " enumerated in the household of his father John Doe" or " enumerated along with his parents in the household of his grandfather John Doe" at the tail end of the note for the census fact, after the transcription of the census entry for the person. Then I decided to move such data into a customized sentence template for each census fact because I could make the sentences read so much better that way in reports.

 

But recently I have reluctantly returned to my original strategy. One practical reason for returning to my original strategy is that information from sentence templates simply doesn't export to any third party software. A second practical reason for returning to my original strategy is that information in sentence templates is essentially unmanageable. You can't search for it, you can't color code based on it, you can't make Named Groups based on it, you can't put the data into columns in RM's People View, etc. The only way to get at the data is to go to the specific person and open up the specific fact (or to write an SQLite script). And the philosophical reason for returning to my original strategy is that I consider information in sentence templates to be metadata, and I think it's a very unwise data design to store real data as metadata.

 

Jerry



#12 texas_nightowl

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 09:54 AM

Always good information to think about in your posts Jerry even if I am avoiding splitting like you do!  Specifically, the bit about sentence templates not exporting to 3rd party software. I'd love to just use RM and forget about the possible need for good gedcom output/import to other programs...however...I just can't make my mind forget about that. What if I need good gedcom to share? What if I need to switch programs? I need good output for the tablet app. etc. That is why I have struggled for so long on how to handle sources (which I am still working on) and such. 

 

Anyway, if I understand things correctly...and I may not!...how are you handling narrative reports where you have the default (or custom) sentence for the fact followed by your note which contains the sentence. Do you live with having both sentences? Or is there someway to turn off the default sentences? (Delete the sentence template in the fact?) Or am I still misunderstanding something about what you described?

 

For example, in your narrative reports, does it have: "He lived in xyz place in the 1900 census." followed by the note "William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father xyz." Or do you suppress the default sentence somehow? Can you suppress the default sentence and still get the fact note?

 

Forgive me if I am making this more complicated than it really is!!!



#13 Renee Zamora

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 11:24 AM

 

I know about that feature, but it only works when you are working in RM. I need it to work for reports.

 

Jerry

 

Print the report using the same font.


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#14 TomH

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 01:42 PM

That means using an ugly fixed width font for the entire report...


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#15 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 04:59 PM

That means using an ugly fixed width font for the entire report...

 

Correct, which is why I have tried for years (and without success) to figure out an automated way to have just census transcriptions to appear in reports in a fixed width font and for the rest of the report to appear in an attractive, proportional font. Actually, there are a few other types of transcriptions that have the same issue, but census is the main one.

 

Jerry



#16 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:31 PM

For example, in your narrative reports, does it have: "He lived in xyz place in the 1900 census." followed by the note "William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father xyz." Or do you suppress the default sentence somehow? Can you suppress the default sentence and still get the fact note?

 

 

The sentence plus note appears as follows.

 

He appeared in the census in 1850 in Sevier County, Tennessee.6 William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan.

 

An additional problem is the placement is the superscript for the citation, which is after the fact sentence and not after the note. Actually, I would like to be able to have citations both places.

 

It would be easy without storing any data as metadata to change the default census sentence template to something like the following to clarify which  part of the narrative is the census transcription.

 

He appeared in the census in 1850 in Sevier County, Tennessee. Census transcription:6 William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan.

 

Or the words "census transcription" (or words to that effect) could be in the note itself instead of in the sentence. Again, there is awkwardness about where the superscript appears.

 

Yet another variation that I've been thinking about is an idea suggested by TomH whereby the fact sentences become very brief. It's hard to make a smooth narrative anyway, so I'm considering something like the following.

 

William Allen (Will) Bryan. Born: 8 Sep 1849, Sevier County, Tennessee. Census: 1850, Sevier County, Tennessee -  William 1 m w TN, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan. Census: 1860, Sevier County, Tennessee - William 11 m w TN attended school, enumerated in the household of his father Peter H. Bryan. Etc.

 

By the way, I do include a pretty full-blown transcription of all the pertinent data for the transcription, such as District, date, dwelling number, family number, etc., but only with the head of household. For example,

 

He appeared in the census in 1900 in Sevier County, Tennessee.Dist. 8, Enumeration District 143, Sevier County, Tennessee, 6 Jun 1900, enumerated by James B. Douglass; page 119a, dwelling number 47, family number 48; Bryan William A. 50 head m m27 w Sep 1849 farmer TN TN TN; Malissa M. 45 wife f m27 w Nov 1854 TN TN TN 8 children, 6 living; Elmer A. 17 son m s w Dec 1882 farm laborer TN TN TN; Lola H. 13 dau f s w Sep 1886 TN TN TN; Charles M. 10 son m s w Nov 1889 farm laborer TN TN TN; Lena L. 7 dau f s w Oct 1892 TN TN TN.

 

Jerry



#17 Renee Zamora

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 11:52 AM

 

Correct, which is why I have tried for years (and without success) to figure out an automated way to have just census transcriptions to appear in reports in a fixed width font and for the rest of the report to appear in an attractive, proportional font. Actually, there are a few other types of transcriptions that have the same issue, but census is the main one.

 

Jerry

 

If your census transcriptions are in the source - detail text area you could just change the source fonts in the report. Then leave all the other fonts alone.  I know you are extreme splitting Jerry so I suspect you don't store your census transcripts in the detail text area.


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#18 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 01:13 PM

Renee, I'm looking for an "automated" solution, but your suggestion might be pretty easy to accomplish even thought it would not be "automated". That's because all the citations would appear together as endnotes, and I don't think I would mind if all the endnotes were rendered in Consolas.

 

What I have really wanted for years was to have the census transcriptions in the body of the report to appear in Consolas or other fixed width font while the rest of the report would remain in a proportional font. That would be a major editing manual editing job that I wouldn't want to have to do every time I produced a report. But I'm thinking about moving census transcriptions in reports to the citation area anyway.

 

You are correct that because of extreme splitting of sources, my census transcripts are not in the detail text area. Rather, they are in the Master Source area. But it would be quite easy to get the transcriptions into the detail text area with SQLite. Indeed, the transcriptions are better off being in the Master Source area because I can then correct a typo just one time and then run the same SQLite script again to re-populate the detail text area from the Master Source and all the typos would be fixed at the same time.

 

Jerry

 



#19 zhangrau

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 04:25 PM

I experimented with HTML4-style FONT tags in the Fact/Event Note section, but they were not interpreted by RM, so they displayed with the notes exactly as I typed them. That looked weird in the Narrative Report. I didn't try generating web pages. I'm still running RM6, so I don't know if RM7 would handle or display FONT tags differently, or not ....



#20 gerwally

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 08:59 AM

I have a couple questions/comments.  I use the name as it appears in the census in my citation but sometimes the name as it is written in the census is not what was indexed.  This happens frequently with Ancestry.com.  I put the name as it is written in the census in my citation but worry that someone looking at that citation will not then be able to find it in Ancestry.com since it is not how it was was indexed.  Any suggestions?

 

The second comment is for Roots Magic.  I have commented on this before but feel it deserves repeating again since it has not been addressed.  I put my transcriptions in the detail text but this does not print with the footnote in Publish Online.  Will the detail text ever print with the footnote in Publish Online?