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Dear Mr. Harnly,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the depository of the permanently valuable non-current records of the Federal Government. Our mission is to preserve the records and make them available to the public. When this file was transferred to the legal custody of the National Archives, we may not add to, subtract from, or change in any way the contents of official records of the U.S. government.
If you have found a name error in the 1940 U.S. Census, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about what to do next.
We hope this is helpful.
Where exactly were you when you found the error? While on ancestry, I've found errors for my family, Toomey, also. On the page I found the transcription error, Toorney, I paged down to the bottom and sent a message relaying the incorrect info. I haven't heard back.
Sorry for the delayed response. Too many holiday parties!
Regarding your question, I believe I was using Ancestry to search for my grandfather in the 1940 census. As my note indicates, I ended up manually paging thru the appropriate census section when I found him. I did the same thing you did, I sent a note using the link provided - 1940Census@nara.gov - but I have never heard back from them. The response from LIsha Penn suggested I send a note to - email@example.com - so I'll give that a try.
John - are you looking for Earl Harnly or Earl Enright? Earl Enright was from Nebraska and was the father in law of Harold Harnly.
I was looking for Earl Harnly. Don't know of Earl Enright or Harold Harnly but finding out that there are more Harnlys out there than I had expected!
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If you found the transcription error on Ancestry, you can submit alternate information. Ancestry is responsible for the transcriptions on their site; the National Archives has no control over that. There is a place on Ancestry to submit your "correction." It is on the census transcription page for each person's entry. To the left of the full transcription, and below the thumbnail image of the census page, there are three options: (see image)
- View blank form
- Add alternate information
- Report issue
Choose the second one, next to the pencil icon - Add alternate information. There you will be given some choices as to what you want to provide, and the reason as to why. Select "name" from the dropdown choices, and choose "transcription error" under the reason dropdown. From there you can enter the correct transcription. You will get an immediate, generic "thank you." You will later see your correction show up in brackets as alternate information under the transcribed name. You won't get any personal correspondence or acknowledgement later from Ancestry - it just shows up in the record transcription. The original transcription will always remain, but user-submitted alternate information will allow the record to show up in search results for the correct spelling. Your alternate submission will be publicly visible.
Now if the census record itself - as entered by the census taker - is wrong for some reason, the transcription cannot be changed. It must remain as written, no matter what. But if the transcriber misread a J for an F, or an "a" for an "o," etc., then certainly the transcription error can be noted, with your alternate information provided.
My own example of an error by the census-taker was for my great-grandfather, Brown Judge. Brown is his first name. I could not find him in the 1880 census. I knew where he was living at that time, and it would have been the first census he appeared in after coming to America that same year. Like you, I ended up searching every page in that town. I found him as Judge Brown! The census-taker had reversed his name. There was nothing I could do about it, because the transcription has to be of the record as it was created, even though I know for a fact that his name is Brown Judge.
Hoping this helps. I have used this feature for many years, and it's very helpful to all researchers.
Kathy Judge Blacklock
Thanks so much for your response to my issue. I was at a loss as to how to correct the error and your instructions have solved my dilemma. Already submitted the information!