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1800 Census Transcribing Help
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You will use a spreadsheet template to transcribe the 1800 Census. Excel or MSWorks templates are available for IBM compatible PCs, and Excel or Clarisworks/Appleworks are available for MAC users. Your Census Project State Coordinator will need to know what spreadsheet software and which version you have and whether you have an IBM-type PC or a MAC. Email your Census Project State Coordinator if you did not receive a spreadsheet template with your assignment notification. Alternate email for templates: Transcriber@US-Census.org

You MUST use the correct census year template for the year you are transcribing because the columns vary for each census year. The 1800 template columns should match the columns on the census page from which you are transcribing.

You will need to copy EVERYTHING that is on your census.


1800 Census Data
(not all questions may appear on your census)
Head of Household
Names may appear on the census as "John Doe", but you will enter
the last name (Doe) in the "Last Name" column of your spreadsheet and
the first name (John) will be entered into the "First Name" column.

Free White Males Free White Females
under
10
years
10-16 years 16-26 years 26-45 years over 45 years under
10
years
10-16 years 16-26 years 26-45 years over 45 years
Five columns are under each heading. Enter the number seen.

All other Free persons
(except Indians not taxed)
Slaves Total
(not always included on every census)
Enter the number seen in each column. Totals might be at the bottom of the columns on some of the pages, but not all of the 1800 censuses have the column totals.  NOTE: Some of the enumerators used two little marks that look like "ditto" marks in the number-columns in each category when there was no number for that category to signify they had not missed that column - just ignore these marks.



How to Enter the Census Data into the 1800 Spreadsheet Template

1st PART OF YOUR SPREADSHEET TEMPLATE (Common Information Fill-in Block)
Enter the specific census information in the fill-in block.  The fill-in block will be either at the top of your spreadsheet, or on the far right of the columned census headers, or on a separate worksheet.

  • Census Year
  • Microfilm Reel # Microfilm Reel # - The 1800 Microfilm Reel numbers all start with M32- followed by another number. Check the Assignment Web Pages to verify the film number of your transcription.
  • State
  • County or Parish
  • District, City, Town, or any other named area division
  • Enumerator's Name
  • Your name/email as the transcriber
  • Your proofreader's name/email
  • The source of your census material (CD, microfilm, etc.)

2nd PART OF YOUR SPREADSHEET TEMPLATE
The 2nd part of your spreadsheet will have abbreviated column headings for each of the columns in the 1800 census plus a Page#,  Line#, and Remarks column.

All the information is to be entered exactly as recorded by the enumerator, except when the enumerator used "ditto", ditto marks ( " ), or the word "do". In this case, please enter the information that the ditto mark represents.   NOTE: Some of the Enumerators used two little marks that look like "ditto" marks in the number-columns in each category when there was no number for that category to signify they had not missed that column, just ignore these.

PAGE NUMBERS
There may be more than one number on each census page. The numbers may be stamped or handwritten. If there is a stamped number, enter it in the Page# column of the first name on the page.

If you find two stamped page numbers on a census, (1) check the State/Year Index to see which number was used, or (2) if transcribing from the SK Publication book or CD, follow the numbering used in the SK Publication Index or CD.

A handwritten page number, in addition to the stamped page number, may have been written on each census page by the photographers who microfilmed the census.  Do not be concerned if these handwritten page numbers are not in sequential order.  If your template does not have a separate column for H-W PG#'s, either insert a column for this purpose to the left of the REMARKS column or type the Handwritten Page# in the REMARKS column of the first name on the page that does not already have something in the Remarks column.

    Transcription Example:  Handwritten page # 45,   -or-   H-W Pg: 45

LINE NUMBERS
Many early censuses do not have line numbers, but you will enter line numbers on the spreadsheet template as if they did. The enumerator may have put anywhere from 20-50 names on a page, it just depends on how many he wanted on a page or how many he could fit onto a page. Begin each new page with Line# 1  if no line numbers are written on the census. Line numbering will help you keep track of your transcription progress and will help when a proofreader needs to refer to one of the names when contacting you.  Later on it will help researchers looking up your transcription on a census.

ENUMERATION DATES
Many of the earlier census years do not have an Enumeration Date.  If your census does, and if your template does not have a separate column for Enum/Date, either insert a column for this purpose to the left of the REMARKS column or type the Enum-Date in the REMARKS column of the first name on the page that does not already have something in the Remarks column.

    Transcription Example:  Enum-Date: August 4, 1800

CITY, TOWN, TOWNSHIP, OR OTHER NAMED AREA DIVISION
Many of the earlier census years do not have named areas.  If your census does, and if your template does not have a separate column for this, either insert a column for this purpose to the left of the REMARKS column, or type the named area in the REMARKS column where it occurs.

When you complete the transcription of a division, we recommend that you send it to your proofreader so the proofreading can be started while you continue to work on the rest of your census.  That way, it can be placed online as "partial" while the transcription is still in progress. 

If you haven't found a proofreader yet, please read the Proofreading Decisions, and then visit the Proofreaders Exchange and sign up now.

When your transcription has been proofread,
follow the Submission Instructions.

HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD NAMES
Names must be entered EXACTLY as you see them recorded on the census.

  • Do not abbreviate a name if the enumerator wrote out the entire name and do not spell out the full name when he abbreviated it. If you see Wm, enter Wm. If you see William, enter William.

  • Do not correct the enumerator's spelling errors. Even if it is your own family and the name is terribly misspelled, enter it exactly as it appears on the census.
  • When the enumerator used "ditto", ditto marks ( " ), or the word "do", please enter the name that the ditto mark represents. See example dittos marks the enumerator may have used.
  • If a name was abbreviated, and the final letter is a little raised, add an apostrophe in place of the omitted letters in the name.

      Transcription Example:  Thos -  you would enter: Tho's
  • Questionable letters in a name should be indicated by an asterisk * and you may want to put a note in the Remarks field of that line to note that some letters are hard to read or unreadable.

      Transcription Example - LAST NAME: D*e     FIRST NAME: Jo*n
  • Titles (ie: Jr., Sr., Dr.) are to be entered at the end of the person's first name.

      Transcription Example - LAST NAME: Doe     FIRST NAME: John Sr.
  • Enter NS (no surname) *ONLY* for names such as:
    • Brother Ignatius
    • Sister Mary
    • American Indian Names (Running Doe)
    • Servants (John A man of color)
    * Look closely for surname ditto marks before you use NS. See these examples.


Template Tips

The Remarks column
It is the right-most column on your template. Please use the remarks field to enter everything on the census that needs to be brought to the attention of a researcher or any other information you feel is important. (ie: any additional writing on the census; if a name is hard to read or unreadable; a disruption in the numbering sequence; etc.) If the comment you want to make is too long for the Remarks field, type your information on a separate worksheet if your software has multiple worksheets, or in a separate file and reference the page and line number so researchers will know what line you are referring to. When you submit your census transcription to the Census Project, you can include the extra comments file at that same time. If you do not have a Remarks column on your template, you may insert one on the right of the other columns.

How to Freeze the Template Column Headers
Using Excel, you can freeze the column headings of the first page, and several of the left columns. The frozen areas will remain visible while the entered data scrolls underneath the headers and off the screen. It is much easier to enter the census information when you can see the column header and row name for the line you are entering.

  • To freeze the top horizontal header rows, select the row below where you want the split to occur.

  • To freeze the left vertical columns, select the column to the right of where you want the split to occur.

  • To freeze both the horizontal headers, and the vertical columns click the cell below and to the right of where you want the split to appear.

    Note: If you move the top census information block off the screen before you do step 2, it will leave more screen room for the rows you are entering. To do this, use the horizontal scroll bar and the up/down triangle pointer buttons at the top and bottom of the scroll bar and scroll so that you see only the column header at the top of the screen and not the 6 or 7 rows that contain the census info.

  • On the menu-bar, click "Window".
    On the "Window" drop-down menu list, click "Freeze Panes".

  • Later if you want to undo the frozen panes:
    On the menu-bar, click "Window".
    On the "Window" drop-down menu list, click "Unfreeze Panes".

MAKE A BACKUP COPY!
To make a backup copy of your census file, after finishing for the day and saving the file to your hard drive, do a "File, SAVE AS" and save it somewhere else on your computer OR on a diskette. If the file gets too big for a diskette, use a ZIP Program to zip it so that it will fit onto the disk. Better to be safe than to lose all of your hard work from a computer problem.


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