FamilySearch Indexing: US—1940 Federal Census TEST, FAQ

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Error: image is invalid or non-existent


In helping others with indexing questions we are getting questions on the instructions for the Place Name fields if "Same House" or "Same Place" is written. I am being asked by some people if that means they should go to the Previous Image to type what they see (especially on Record Number 1) In other words, are they to treat the words "Same House" and "Same Place" as if they were dittos. They also refer to the Presentation under the Additional Helps as having one slide showing those words. (I find reference to using the previous image for help with the house number and surname only). I have referred them to the last slide in the presentation and the Field Helps because I interpret the instructions of typing what you see to refer to actually typing "Same House" or "Same Place". Perhaps this needs to be spelled out more clearly. These same people are thinking they need to treat the place names of "Same House" and "Same Place" that are written below an actual city field as a ditto. (I haven't been doing that).

I am confused by the Project Update reference to "Waypointing".  Am I correct in assuming that this project is an example of Waypointing or is this a misplaced reference that does not apply to the project?

I am arbitrating Simulation Batch #182463901.  There is and entry on line 9 which should be indexed as Wurttemburg Germany, but is listed as "Wurttemburg" by one indexer and "Germany" by another.  Following the guidelines for this project, both names should be listed, but I cannot find any way to accomplish that as I arbitrate.  

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.

My understanding is that this is one example of "type what you see". See page 10 of the presentation on how to index this project (linked to via the "Additional Helps" page here) - it shows it indexed as "V". -- Dms246 17:43, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

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)

The image link identifying blank lines could be more helpful if an image of correct indexing entries for the blank lines could be added below the current information.  This would help diminish the confusion.


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)

Just a factual correction to 1940 Census, Simulation I:   Line 7,  Samuel A Nelson, Lodger.  Listed have having resided in Oakland, Contra Costa County in 1935..     Oakland has been in Alameda County since 1853.

The current message on the Indexing work page regarding frequently seen errors on the simulation project needs to be repeated somewhere it can be seen by new indexers as the project gets started--and on the Project Updates in an obvious spot. It is not easy to find answers when there are longs lists of things to go through like this one I'm adding to.