Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Randy - What are the Extraneous Marks on this Census Record?

Reader Linda asked this question in email yesterday, sending along this 1900 census image which includes one of her ancestral families:



There is a set of handwritten marks for each family, noted in the head of household's Name field.  The notations have two lines, like "6-1 / of 6"   The first and last numbers seem to be the number of persons in each household.  There is also notations in the Relation field (e.g. 4C), which I think is the number of children in the household.

I remembered that there was a discussion of these marks in my extensive readings.  I searched the Ancestry Article Archives and didn't find one that addressed this.  I checked the reference books I have available on my bookshelf and didn't see anything.

I Googled [1900 census extraneous marks] today and found the discussion thread on the APG mailing list from June 2009 - Drew Smith's post title 1910 census help...

Drew noted:

"You may be thinking of this article:http://www.archives.gov/publications/microfilm-catalogs/census/1920/part-01.html

"It includes the following text:

"The microfilm may also show code numbers or letters in some of the columns. Clerks added these codes in red ink (which cannot be distinguished on the microfilm) after the census, to be punched into the cards used to tabulate the census results. The codes usually represent household composition, occupation and class of worker, or simply marks made in the coding, punching, or tabulating operations themselves and should be ignored."


Linda's example had only the single set of extraneous marks on the census.  The census page for my Austin Carringer family in the 1900 census has several more sets of extraneous marks:




This image has extraneous marks in three columns - in the Name column for the head of household (e.g., "4-1/of 4"), the Relation column (e.g., "1C.1R") and in the Occupation column (e.g., "0.0.3").   The "1C.1R" in the Relation column probably denotes one Child, one Roomer (or Relative?).  The Occupation field numbers are some sort of census department code for the particular occupation, and the list is probably available somewhere on the National archives site.

There are extraneous marks on the 1910 census pages also (different from the 1900 marks), but are not on the 1920 and 1930 Census pages (at least on the ones I checked).

Thank you to Linda for the question, and to Drew Smith for providing enough keywords in his APG mailing list post so I could find it.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Randy, you are wonderful. I searched and searched for this information and couldn't find anything, so, I appreciate very much your digging into this for me.