transcribing census records

Are there guidelines for transcribing census records?  Examples?  

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  • Transcribing records for Citizens Archivists here.  1940 Census.  Just looking for guidelines of examples.  Tabbing between columns, etc.?  

  • Thank you for your question.  We do not recommend trying to replicate the format of the Census, it would be too difficult and would vary from screen to screen for each researcher.  The most helpful contribution is to add each name on a page as a tag.  This would increase searchability.

    In this case you could add each name (or as many names as you want) as a tag:

    Norman Merves

    Janet Merves

    We recommend adding them as First Name Last Name

    If you prefer to transcribe all text I the page I recommend you do the following:

    Transcribe each line by starting with the line number found at the far left and divide each column using |


    Line 1:  1 | 2453 | 174 | no | no |   | Merves, Norman | son in law | 4 | w | m | 34 |        [and so on....]

    Line 2:  |  |  |  |  | |  |  --, Janet | daughter |  | w | f | 25 |  [and so on....]

    As you can see from this example adding a tag allows you to identify Janet with her last name, by just transcribing her line in the Census she is not identified in the same way.

    Please let us know if you have any additional questions.


    Community Manager, National Archives Catalog