July 20, 2017

I Solved A Census Transcription Mistake

Sometimes, you get a transcribed record for a census and you wonder how the transcriber came up with a completely different name than what it actually was.

For example, I have a transcribed census record with my ancestor’s surname spelled Aytes instead of Yates. It might look like a transposed letter error, but then I found an actual census image today that might present another reason for a transcription error: it wasn’t one.

Look at that loop in the Y , but the name in the 1840 census record where I found this lists him (correctly) as David Yates. Can you see how this could be misinterpreted by a transcriber though?  Heck, they could have thought it said “Gates” too.

None of this is a slam against transcribers or anything.  Genealogists owe them much gratitude for the hard work they’ve done. This just points out (again) the need to used every imaginable spelling combination to find your ancestors.

What’s your most memorable “name” story?



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