FamilySearch Indexing: US—1940 Federal Census TEST, FAQ

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Click Wiki Presentation to learn about making submissions. Use this page to ask all questions about this project. Please include a share batch number, if possible, for clarification.  Hold the batch as long as possible before submitting it. Comments will be removed after review.

  This is a test project and most comments will be left on the page for reference.  All material will be reviewed to help improve the the upcoming 1940 Census experience but may not receive a reply.

.Observations while arbitrating this new test project:

1.  Both indexers often do not enter the words "Same Place" or "Same House" (when written) as instructed in the City Field.  The either "blank" the city field or enter a previous town.  Is there some way to make those instructions in bold (or better still, move them up in the field helps as new indexers don't seem to know that they should scroll down in the field helps).

  A.  When following instructions and entering "Same Place" or "Same House" into the City/Town Field, it turns pink because it is not in the look-up list.

2.  Some indexers are entering County names when none are written. Thank you for your observations.

3.  The title of Stepgranddaughter is written as such.  Is it proper to have a hyphen, a space, or no space in titles such as Stepdaughter or Stepgranddaughter? (Step-Granddaughter or Step Granddaughter, for instance).  However, it is supposed to be written, the field turns pink. If it is not in the lookup list, type what you see.

I'd like to think that this test stage is the ideal time to flag up possible omissions in the lookup lists, so that they can be refined and improved before the project goes live. The better these lists are, the more comprehensive they are, the less room there is for individual interpretation on the part of indexers and arbitrators, making for a smoother, less frustrating experience for those involved, and helping to achieve greater consistency in the data that is indexed. This is particularly important in a project of this size and significance, and where many new and inexperienced indexers are being encouraged to get involved. -- Dms246 23:46, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

4.  Title Field:  Documents has the roman numeral V (for 5th) as the title.  Is there a rule about typing V or 5th or Fifth?  (you cannot put the underscore and upperscore line on the V). ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

What is the correct way to enter the roman numeral V?  Do we use 5th or V?  Thank you.

I'm arbitrating Test 2nd 005248646-216.  On line 9, the place of birth was written as Wuttemberg Germany.  The census heading asks for the name of the country if foreign born, so the enumerator should have written only Germany.   The field help reads,"Type the place of birth according to what was written in column 15."  I think some clarification would be helpful. The field help seems to allow whatever was written in the column and does not restrict the entry to only a country.  We are taking all questions and observations to the those who oversee this project for their review.

Thank you.

The presentation has been updated.  Thank you.

LINE NUMBER - Field Help

Might be useful to indicate in the field help that the line number should not be recorded for blank lines. Although the project instructions state that blank lines should be marked blank using CTRL-SHIFT-B, it would be worth semi-repeating that in the line number field help. It currently says "Type the line number that was written or stamped on each entry line" (my emphasis), and I suspect some may be reading that to indicate the line number should be entered for all lines, regardless of whether there is data on that line or not. In the batch I arbitrated, both indexers had entered a line number for each of the blank lines.

Dms246 03:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)


Ref lines 14 & 15, US-1940 Federal Census Preliminary Test (1st)

Would be helpful to new indexers to clarify how one would judge that the household has changed, for the purpose of determining if the lack of a household number indicates one should copy the last number given above, or mark the field blank. Most records have no household number entered, so simply saying "If the number was not recorded.....mark the field blank" is potentially confusing, since the field help text has already indicated that most of the time one should use the last number recorded above the record being indexed.

Something along the following lines might help:

"If it looks like a new household is being recorded (different property number, different surname, new "Head" of household), but no household number has been entered, mark the field blank. If you are unsure, continue using the previous household number - an arbitrator will correct it if required."

Dms246 03:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

CITY/TOWN - Lookup List

Ref line 1, US-1940 Federal Census Preliminary Test (1st)

"Provo" is not in the City/Town lookup list (although Wikipedia states it's the 3rd largest city in Utah, so would have expected it to be on the list).

Dms246 03:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

IMAGE TYPE - Field Help

I'd recommend clarifying the issue of "Duplicate Image". My understanding is that, where there is only one image per batch, no image should ever be marked as a duplicate. If an indexer downloads several batches in one go, it sometimes happens that they come across what is, in fact, a duplicate image. However because they are in separate batches, and therefore there is no way of guaranteeing that such duplications will be spotted, I believe the correct procedure is to go ahead and index each image, and ignore the fact that they are duplicates. It would be extremely useful to have that clarified in the field help text, to avoid the situation where one indexer indexes the batch and another indexer marks it as a duplicate, and the arbitrator then has to return the batch for re-indexing.

Dms246 08:09, 26 February 2012 (UTC)


Might be good to clarify the difference between "House Number" and "Household Number" (cols 2 and 3 on the original forms). Both batches I've arbitrated (one each from 1st and 2nd test projects) have had one indexer using the House number instead of the Household number. Perhaps something along the lines of:

"Be careful not to index column 2 (the house/property number) by mistake - you should be indexing column 3, the household number."

Dms246 09:11, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

RESIDENCE 1935 - Field Help

Further to the suggestion made above, I'd recommend the following change to the field help for the County and State columns:


"If 'Same house' or 'Same place' was recorded in this column, mark this field as blank."


"If 'Same house' or 'Same place' was recorded in this column, or in the City/Town column to the left of this column, mark this field as blank."

In both test projects, the entry "Same place"/"Same house" is given only in the City/Town column, and not repeated in the County or State columns. This may be why some indexers are entering the actual county and state in these fields.

Dms246 09:11, 26 February 2012 (UTC)