Have you ever looked at a census and found the names alphabetized?  One must be careful when searching for a name in the alphabetized list.

Yes, the information is handwritten.  And, no, the census taker did not visit the residents in alphabetical order!  For many early censuses, the census information was written down by the census taker.  Then, the information was transcribed into the census books.  And, this was done with the names in alphabetical order.

Have you ever edited information that you have transcribed?  And, after reading a few times, have decided that all of the mistakes were found?  I have done this before.  And, I have included the information in a report that has been sent to a client.  The client has decided to continue with research, so more research has been done.  Upon adding the new information to the report, I have found more mistakes in the transcription! How could this be – I read, reread, and read backwards!

So, next time when you are looking for an ancestor, don’t assume that there were no mistakes made when the information was copied into a census book!

Maggie

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