|Download Templates||Keep the Column
Headings in View
Where to get Spreadsheet Templates
Spreadsheet templates are available for download.
For IBM PCs:
Excel template-files for the "Linked Index"
If you are transcribing a census not mentioned above, contact the Census Project State Assignment Coordinator for the state you are doing or the Census Project's Template Coordinator to obtain the spreadsheet template-file you need. The Template Coordinator will need to know the spreadsheet software that you have, the census year, census schedule, the state and county so the proper template can be emailed to you. If you have a MAC with an older operating system that cannot open Excel templates, let the Template Coordinator know whether you have Excel, Clarisworks or Appleworks and which version number.
Using a template to transcribe your census:
The spreadsheet template is really just a spreadsheet file that has a fill-in block to identify the specific census (CommonINFO), and a header-row with a brief description for each column that gets transcribed in this specific census. Since the questions asked on the census differ from census-year to census-year and for the special census schedules -- there are separate template-files for each census-year and also for the special census schedules. You MUST use the correct census template-file for the census-year or special census you are transcribing because the columns vary for each census.
On the Excel template-files there are four separate worksheets: The first worksheet [CommonINFO] has a fill-in block to identify the census and an area where you can type comments about the entire file should you have something to comment about. The second worksheet [Census Year] is for typing the census data. There are "comments" in the header row with tips about the information that gets typed in the cells for that column – – when you are at the top of the file and hover the mouse over a commented cell, you will see the tip. The third worksheet [Help] has census project URLs and email addresses. The fourth worksheet [Waivers] has waivers that you can sign by typing your name if you are in agreement with the waivers.
On the MSWorks template-files, since MSWorks does not have the ability of multiple worksheets, the CommonINFO fill-in block, the census project URLs and email addresses, and the waivers are on the top right of the file after the REMARKS column.
Excel's Auto-Complete Feature:
Excel's Auto-Complete Feature is defaulted to be turned "on". With this feature "on", if the first few characters that you type in a cell match an existing entry in that column, Microsoft Excel fills in the remaining characters for you. This feature is really great for the BIRTHPLACE column because you only have to type a few letters and the rest will automatically appear -- but it is not so great in the FIRST-NAME column because it will add middle initials or endings of a name that you've previously typed in that column and if you don't notice that it's doing this, the name is incorrectly entered. It would be great if you could set Excel's options so this feature could be turned on for some of the columns and off for the rest of the columns, but alas, it can only be turned ON or turned OFF for all the columns.
To Turn AutoComplete ON or OFF: On the TOOLS menu, click "Options", and then click the [Edit] tab to bring it to the front. On the "Edit" tab -- you can toggle the feature ON or OFF by selecting it to add or remove the mark in the check-box.
If there are stamped pages numbers, type the stamped number in the PAGE# column. Sometimes only every other page has the stamped number, and in this case add an "a" immediately following the page number for the stamped page. Then on the following unstamped page, use the same page number as the previous stamped page except add a "b" immediately following the page number.
If the page has a handwritten page number in addition to the stamped page number -- for the 1880 and up census years there is a column in the template for the 2nd-PAGE# / SHEET#. For the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census years, the handwritten page number can be added in the REFERENCE column. For the 1790-1840 census years, sometimes there is more than one page number on the pages and if you feel the 2nd page number will be useful for the Researchers, you can insert an additional column in your template-file for the 2nd page number.
Keep the Column Headings in View
The newer template-files have the header-rows frozen in place,
and if using an older spreadsheet template-file that does not, you can freeze the column headings of the
first page, and several of the left columns. The frozen areas will remain
visible on the screen while the rest of the information scrolls underneath and
off the screen. It is much easier to type the census information when you
can see the column header and row name for the line you are typing.
To freeze the header-row on your older template, after your spreadsheet template is on the screen:
On the menu-bar, click "Window".
FOR MS WORKS:
On the menu-bar, click
Later if you want to undo the
You put a lot of hard work and time into typing the census information into your spreadsheet file, and you should get into the habit of making a backup copy after you are done typing for the day.
After you save the transcribed file on your hard drive, make a backup copy by saving the same file to an A: diskette. If your spreadsheet file has grown too large to save it on a single diskette, you might consider breaking the large census down into smaller parts such as making a separate file for each Enumeration District, township or division. If the file is still too large for a single diskette, consider getting a zip-type software so you can zip the large file to compress its size.
If your newer PC does not have a diskette drive, you can copy the file to a rewriteable CD (CD-RW), or if you have an alternate web-email address -- email the file to that web account for a temporary backup.
You can email a backup copy of your file to the census project's File-Manager at FileManager@US-Census.org. Please specify in the email with the attachment that the attached file is for temporary BACKUP so that it gets held rather than processed and placed online.
Information updated on November 25, 2012