Skip to main content

1940 Census Indexing Insights

I've been bugging encouraging you for weeks now to try your hand at indexing the 1940 census.  If you haven't signed up yet, I understand.  I'm sometimes hesitant to sign up for something that I'm unfamiliar with, and hesitant to commit myself to something that I'm not sure I really will enjoy.  However, indexing is a risk-free endeavor.  Wait, I take that back.  If you do start indexing, you might find yourself indexing much more than you originally intended!  It really is that much fun.  (Either that, or my idea of fun is off.  Maybe both.) Anyway, go follow the above link and see what you think!

Today, I'm going to attempt to share some of the "tricks-of-the-trade" that have proved helpful to me in indexing the 1940 census. 

After signing in, I click on "Download Batch" and a list of various indexing opportunities pops up.  For today's post, I click on the Washington state 1940 census.  Soon, this is the image I see:


I quickly check to see that the page actually has writing on it; I have had a blank page appear before.  Most of the time, though, I select "Normal" for image type.  Under image type, I am asked for sheet number and sheet letter.  I've marked where to find and enter that information:


Next, I click "View" on the upper-left-hand side, and select "Show Highlights" and "Adjust Highlights". 


Showing and adjusting the highlights takes just a minute to do, but makes indexing go so much quicker!  Once you have checked "Show Highlights" and "Adjust Highlights", you will be able to move the highlights on the census so that they line up with the information you need.  You can click and drag the red line (emphasized in these photos with a red marker) to meet the corners.  You will want to line up all four corners.








Now you're ready to begin.  I've found that if you select "Form Entry", the indexing seems to go faster.


You will notice that the field you are being asked to index will be highlighted on the census.  Just type what you see into the entry form, and hit "enter" to move between fields.  Use control-b to enter a field that is blank (except for the "Title" field--if it is blank, just hit "enter" to move to the next field).




As you continue to index, you will find that many of the fields will be pre-filled for you.  For example, the surname field will automatically show what you typed on the previous line.  If the surname does not need to be changed, just hit enter to go to the next field.  Or, on the relationship line, if you have already entered a head of household for a previous family, once you type "h", "Head" will appear.  So you can just type "h" and enter to move on to the next field. 

Another help I use frequently is found under the "Edit" tab on the upper-left-hand-side, and is called "Lookup". 


I find it especially helpful if I am having difficulty deciphering handwriting, and I can't tell exactly how something is spelled.  It doesn't always have every name variation, but it is helpful.  You can look up words/names using "Starts with", "Contains", and/or "Ends with" fields, and possible suggestions will pop up. 


Simply scroll down until you find the right name, then hit "Accept Selected."

When you have completed the 40 lines of the census page, you will see this pop-up box:


Then, you will see entries that the program doesn't quite recognize.  It doesn't mean you transcribed them incorrectly, but you'll have a chance to review what you transcribed, just to verify. 

Then your work is submitted, and you will receive a congratulatory message:


That's all there is to it!  It took me much longer to blog about this batch than it did to actually index it.  I should also mention that there are project instructions and field instructions that are very clear, and do a good job of answering the "What do I put in this field?" questions. 

So, what are you waiting for?  As the old commercial said, "Try it; you'll like it!"

Fine legal print (that actually was useful last week:  last week's blog post was a random drawing winner!):  As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for google!  I learned today how to take a screen shot of my computer, which made writing this post a whole lot easier. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Dad's Influence Edition

Infant-me, sitting on the wood floor, looks up at my dad, who is sitting on a brown sofa and smiling down to me Here in the United States, it is Father's Day weekend. I did not realize until recently that Father's Day was not officially made a holiday until 1972. 1972! Now, while I realize that many people consider 1972 eons ago, I do not. I'm glad that fathers have a day of recognition now, because they surely deserve acknowledgement.  I thought for this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, I would list ten lessons I'm thankful my dad taught me. My dad is a teacher. Not only did he impart his knowledge to countless junior high aged kids throughout his career, he taught--and still teaches--my siblings and me. He is not a preachy teacher; he's a humble man whose lessons I feel like I learned through osmosis. When he would get home from work, we'd all sit down as a family for supper. Often, our phone would ring, and on the other end of the line would be a paren

Ten Things of Thankful: Summer Strawberries and Procrastinated Projects

A brilliantly-colored dark pink and purple fuchsia blossom You would think that by the time a person reaches my age, she would not be surprised by the passing of time, yet I find myself nearly constantly amazed that a certain amount of time has passed--whether that be a week, month, year, or couple of decades. Earlier this year, I planted a garden. Yesterday I harvested my first strawberry. Earlier this year, I also planted fuchsia starts, and now the flowers are blooming. How is that possible? (And why am I surprised?) Sometime around the turn of the century (and it still seems strange to use that phrase about the year 2000), we bought a circa 1935 dresser. It needed some TLC, but had a cool curvy front. This past week, I finally got around to applying some Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax, and now the dresser still looks old, but not dilapidated. I still need to apply some hide glue to some loose pieces, but I'm counting progress as a win. For as long as I can remember, I've be

Ten Things of Thankful: From Sunrise to Moonset

Cars and trucks on a highway travel toward the rising sun                                    John and I made a quick, task-oriented trip to California last week. We wore our masks and stayed at an acceptable social distance from others (which is hard for grandchildren to understand, but we mostly succeeded.) We're now home, and at the "I need a vacation to recover from my 'vacation' " stage, which makes sitting down to compose a TToT post a bit of a challenge. However, I know that I will feel better by the end of this post, so bear with me if you will.  1. I'm thankful that we had no problems with traffic going there or coming home. We left our hotel at about quarter to four on Friday morning. The early start, fewer families traveling this year, or, most likely, a combination of the two, made for an easy drive.  2. I'm thankful for books to help pass the time. We haven't actually finished yet (as I was reading aloud, and my voice can only last for so l