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LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Transcription Tuesday – Census Extract

Transcriptions are needed in all genealogical research. Transcribing Skills are included in the basic level courses for our students at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  All researchers must strive to acquire this core skill. There is no way around it. There are no shortcuts. We all must develop these skills and increase our effectiveness as researchers.

In last week’s post, we looked at finding Census Names with a few transcription tips. This week, we are continuing to look at transcribing census records by making a Census Extraction.

Extraction Definition: An Extract is when you pull out only parts of the information in an original document. The extracting process is normally used for listings, such as censuses, inventories, tax or voters’ lists, etc., where there could be information about one person or family amongst many others.

When making an extraction, always start with the full source citation for the original document. This is especially imperative when you are removing any information from its source as it is so easy to lose track of where you found it. How many times have you photocopied a page from a book without the reference and later could not remember where you found it? Be sure to include all of the details, such as page number, household number, etc., so that information can be located again at a later time. 

Remember – Extractions are still a Transcription, and therefore, they must be a true and accurate reproduction of the written original. Always include all of the column headings. To make this process easier, you can use a pre-printed form to record all of the entries. This will ensure that you have not skipped any information. Record any remarks or notations added to the entry. 

Make sure you include all of the information for the whole household. There can be more than one family living in that house, as well as other people. Examples of others could be boarders or lodgers, teachers, clergy, servants, etc. Include all of them in your extraction. There could be a connection that you discover at a later time. They will be part of their FAN Club.

Watch for Relationships. These are always related to the person listed as the Head of Household at the top of the list. You may glean clues to maiden names by noting a mother-in-law or brother-in-law. A sister with a different surname will reveal her married name. A widow listed as the Head indicates that her husband has died and you should look for a death record since the last census where he was listed. Sometimes a son will be listed as the new Head of Household with mother listed further down. Be careful to identify his children and his siblings accurately. Step-children may be mixed in with the other children; this indicates a second marriage. Make note of all relationships wherever possible.

Census household information may be split between pages. If the entry starts at the bottom of the page, always look on the next page; if it starts at the top of the page, look on the previous page. Find the Head of Household and continue until the next Head is listed. Include both page numbers in your source citation, but record your census extraction as one complete household entry. Each household should be recorded on their own census form.

Remember – Census Extractions are Transcriptions – an exact copy of one Household. They aren’t difficult, but you need to be thorough. Use census forms – they are useful tools and help you to record all of the information without going back to access the full census record for the whole community. By making a census extraction a household for each census year, you can then use them to document that family group every ten years, and analyze them over a certain time period.

Transcriptions are a valuable research tool, which every genealogist and family historian should be using regularly. You don’t need to be totally dependent on other transcribers. Learn to make your own transcriptions. PRACTICE transcribing your own documents. It is the only way to become more familiar with handwriting. And the Bonus is – you will become more familiar with the documents you are working with. You will see things you overlooked before, because it forces you to write out every single word. To further build your transcribing skills, check out our courses below.
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As researchers, we have found that there are many skills we need to employ in order to achieve success in our future research projects. Transcription Tuesday will share guidelines and practical suggestions to help our readers to develop the skills for making effective transcriptions, abstracts, and extractions.
Transcription Tuesday previous blog post
Transcription Tuesday Index
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These three core courses demonstrate Transcription principles. They are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month: Register today!
Methodology-Part 2: Organizing and Skill-Building (Basic Level)
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (Basic Level)
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)
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Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com 
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

Transcription Tuesday – Census Errors

Transcriptions are needed in all genealogical research. Transcribing Skills are included in the basic level courses for our students at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  All researchers must strive to acquire this core skill. There is no way around it. 

Transcriptions are extremely important for census record databases. Transcribers must be precise. However, they are usually not from the area being transcribed, so they could be unfamiliar with the names on the documents, although these may be very common to the ones researching them. For some transcribers, English may not be their first language. This means that they are transcribing letter by letter, plus trying to decipher the handwriting of different enumerators for each district. They do their best, but some entries are just their best guess.

Transcription errors are not always totally their fault alone, Sometimes, it is the enumerator who misspelled the name by mistake, or guessed the spelling when the person giving the information was illiterate. With this in mind, we need to use a few strategies when searching databases. Remember, a true transcription is exactly as it is written – not editing the original text. The transcriber is entering what was written on the document – whether it is correct or not.

When searching names in any database, remember to use your list of variable spellings. Record every variation that you find. Nicknames may be used as children, but then changed when they become adults. Some may use a middle name as their given name. Surnames may have gone through spelling variations in different time periods. Make note of these in your research notes and add them to your list. Example: The German surname Götz became Gaetz and later became further anglicized to Gates. 

When searching, use the most unique name in the family. For this Gates family, sons Osborne and Owen were the most uncommon. When searching the Canadian Census databases for Owen Gates in Nova Scotia for the years 1891, 1901, and 1911, there was only one result. However, he did not show up in the search results for the 1921 census. 

We can expand our search by using the first letter and a wildcard (O*). 

This time it returned 6 results for the first names beginning with O. One of these was for Orven Gates. 

This was a transcription error. The entry was confirmed as Owen by viewing the original image. His family members and neighbours matched the previous entries. You can see where the “W” was mis-transcribed as “RV” making it Orven instead of Owen.

If you find a transcription error in a database, and there is a way to submit a correction, please do so whenever possible. This helps future researchers as the alternate name will be entered into the database for future searches. For Ancestry, it will look like this: 

Always, Always check the original image whenever possible to confirm the information entered into the databases has been transcribed correctly. Errors are always possible, especially when the handwriting on the document is a challenge. Compare similar letters written by the same person on the same page to become familiar with his style. And always transcribe everything exactly as it is written. 

If you are still not finding the entry you are seeking in the database, you can browse the pages before and after where you are expecting it to be. You should also check all the other websites where that census is recorded. Search in their databases. The person you are looking for may be transcribed correctly there. Check the original images – you may find a clearer copy of that census page. 

Census Databases used (Adjust for your research project):
Library and Archives Canada: Censuses
Ancestry.ca: Canadian Census Collection
FamilySearch: Canada Census
Automated Genealogy

Next week we will continue with transcribing census records. In the meantime, review some census entries from your own past research. Check each name and surname on the original image. Did you find any transcription errors? If you did, please report the error.
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As researchers, we have found that there are many skills we need to employ in order to achieve success in our future research projects. Transcription Tuesday will share guidelines and practical suggestions to help our readers to develop the skills for making effective transcriptions, abstracts, and extractions.

Transcription Tuesday previous blog post
Transcription Tuesday Index
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
These three core courses demonstrate Transcription principles. They are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month: Register today!
Methodology-Part 2: Organizing and Skill-Building (Basic Level)
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (Basic Level)
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)—————————————————-
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com 
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

Transcription Tuesday: Census Names

Whether you are just beginning your family history journey, you are a professional genealogist, or somewhere in between, learning the importance of Transcribing every document we discover in our research will greatly influence your success. Census records are one of those documents not to be skimmed through too quickly.  

One of the first things we look for in a census record is the names. We want to find that family group listing everyone in the household. Sometimes this is easy. We search in our favourite database and there they are – just where we expected them to be. But what if they aren’t? 

Maybe the census was taken before the birth of some of the children we expected to see. Some family members who were on the previous census are absent because they have died. Sadly, some children were born and died in the years between the last census and the next. Perhaps an older child has left the family home to seek employment opportunities, or they were married and have started their own family, either nearby in the same community or elsewhere. 

A common reason for those elusive missing entries is not knowing how to find them. The biggest tip is to search for the most unique name in the family. Pricilla is going to be easier to find than Mary or Ann. Once found, check to see if her family members match your list of her siblings and parents. However, with unique names comes some creative spelling variations, so watch for those and try searching for a phonetic spelling.

A more challenging reason is that they were indexed incorrectly, due to the indexer being unable to decipher the correct name. Sometimes the handwriting is difficult to read, or the digital image is blurred, or too dark or too light. That’s when Transcriptions are truly useful. Looking at the original Image helps us to correctly interpret what was written.

Here is a recent example on Ancestry where the indexer’s interpretation of the name was completely incorrect. This name was entered into the 1921 Census of Canada database as “Farah Lestage” for the Head of Household. This meant that his wife was listed as Lucinda Lestage. They were an older couple, so all of their children had already left home. This made them difficult to find. Luckily, they resided in a small community with only 12 pages. Because it was known to be the correct location, they were discovered by reviewing each household until found on page 4.

The first clue was that “Farah” was listed as male, but if the indexer was unfamiliar with male names common to a location, you can see how the interpretation looks reasonable. However, this is Jacob and not Farah. Searching for Jacob Seaboyer never found his entry. Once it was confirmed that this was indeed my “Jacob Seaboyer,” a correction was submitted to update the record. 

Click the “Add or update information” link. A pop-up will allow you to enter the alternate information and the reason for your request for changes. Once reviewed, the record will then display the alternate name below, so other researchers can also find it. Tip: the person who submitted the correction may also be researching your family, so always note who had submitted additional information. (Note: the user name for this example has been blocked for privacy.)

Citation: 1921 Census of Canada, Province: Nova Scotia; District: 61 – Lunenburg; Enumeration Sub-District: 41 – Blandford par Chester Municipality; Page: 4; Family:39; Line:13; Head of Household: Jacob Seaboyer; wife: Lucinda. Ancestry.com [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013. [accessed : 19 Sep 2021] 

By looking at the original image of the document, the name was deciphered correctly and then, it could be transcribed accurately with the proper surname. Learning to recognize problem letters is a key element in building your Transcription Skills. We will explore this aspect in next week’s Transcription Tuesday.

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Remember: Transcribing takes practice and patience. Check back next week for more skill-building tips.

Previous Transcription Tuesday blog posts:
Transcription Definition
Transcription Tuesday Index
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~           
These three core courses demonstrate Transcription principles. They are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month: Register today!
Methodology-Part 2: Organizing and Skill-Building (Basic Level)
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (Basic Level)
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)

—————————————————-
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com 
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

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