By Barry J. Ewell
Much of the research we are able to do on census records are done online. The information we see are what is referred to as transcripts, meaning that someone has looked at the original record has interpreted what has been written and provided it to you in an abbreviated format. Looking at the original record is a must. Take time to find the original digital image or photocopy microfilm of full page. Look for census taker notes. See if there are any errors in transcription. I have found an average of 10% errors in the transcripts from the original records. Look for other information is not in the transcription.
- Make a alphabet “sampler” from actual census entries
- Copy the way in which the census taker forms each letter
- Search every line of the census district
- Look carefully at other people with same surnames