The last three columns in the 1910 US Census (columns 30, 31 and 32) have four numbers in them. Column 30 is supposedly about survivors of the Union or Confederate army, 31 is if you’re blind and 32 is labeled deaf and dumb.

I found the directions for the 1910 census - but I find nothing that indicates why they filled in those columns with numbers.

My example is from Chicago 1910 - and the columns show "17-5-8-0"

I don't see a pattern at all on what the numbers mean.

Below is a graphic/example of these annotations, taken from a random page of the 1910 US census.

enter image description here

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    Hi :) Can you share a link to the page image? It would help. – Canadian Girl Scout Mar 10 '13 at 4:43
  • @CanadianGirlScout New users need a little rep before the system allows them to upload an image. If he/she provides the 1910 census details, perhaps one of us will upload the image for user699. – GeneJ Mar 10 '13 at 10:06
  • @GeneJ, the fixes you're suggesting can only improve the question and not run counter to anything that user699 has asked. I see no problem with stepping in if user699 is unable. – user104 Mar 10 '13 at 13:15
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    If the image I have is from Ancestry.com I assume I can't link to it. I downloaded the file at the library, but I don't see an option to attach a .jpg. – Kthompso Mar 11 '13 at 1:41
  • In the add question or edit window, there are a series of icons across the top--formatting, links, etc. One looks like the front of a monitor or window, it's actually the icon for a "picture" (graphic). Click that icon and it will walk you through the steps to upload an image from your computer. – GeneJ Mar 11 '13 at 21:51
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The four numbers you see to the right on the 1910 US census are annotations made during the post-enumeration processing. The codes were placed on the census to support and speed up the keypunch process/system.

I've added a reference or two below. I'm sure there are more authoritative references that could be added.

These annotations were made often over entries in the last series of census columns, sometimes rendering the enumerator's entry unreadable. About those last several enumerator's entries, johnmcgrew1 (reference below) comments that, "... the civil war column was not populated (in 1910) by many enumerators and those results were never used. Also, the farm schedules were lost, so that number is meaningless today." (I did not otherwise verify mcgrew1's information.)

References:

  1. Connie Burkett, "Re: [Census-Chat] Codes? On the 1910 Census?" RootsWeb listserve message dated 2 June 2007.
  2. johnmcgrew1, "Re # Codes for 1910 US Census"; Ancestry.com message board posting of 8 March 2011.
  3. Douglas W. Jones, "Punched Cards: A brief illustrated technical history"; electronic version ("Translated to Serbo-Croation, Oct. 23, 2012").
  • thank you, that solves the puzzle, this was my first post on stackexchange and I wasn't sure if I could attach an image or just link to an image, but this explains the numbers. I didn't want to miss additional information from these columns if there was something there. – Kthompso Mar 10 '13 at 12:42
  • @user699 Welcome to Genealogy.SE. Thank you for posting a great question. As to the graphic, users need about 15 reputation points to post an image. Now that you have the rep, you'll find the add image process to be pretty straight forward. Will add another comment above. Welcome again! – GeneJ Mar 10 '13 at 12:51
  • I see how to add an image to a new question, I'm guessing I can't add an image to a comment @GeneJ In this case I don't think I need additional information because the numbers do appear to be post editing and that makes sense. I wasn't sure if I should add the image just to clarify for others what I was seeing. thank you. – Kthompso Mar 12 '13 at 20:19
  • YVW, Kthompso You are correct that we can't add images to comments (at least to my knowledge). We can add them to questions and answers. Your question was really nice--it just deserved an image. I picked one that showed how odd these annotations really are (and how easily they can sometimes be mistaken for an enumerator's entry). – GeneJ Mar 12 '13 at 20:52

To the best of my knowledge, the "standard" 1910 Census Form had only 32 columns and the headings you list apply to 30-32 (not 31-33). Refer to http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vadennison/graphics/1910_headings.jpg

The Indian Population Schedules (an additional form) began at Col 33 where "Tribe of this Indian"(sic) was to be entered. See http://dgmweb.net/Census/General/WhatCensusNumbersMean.html#1910 for more details.

Can I suggest that you are looking at data for office use only that was generated from the written responses to aid data entry. It is unlikely that anyone who participated in that data processing exercise will still be around to explain what it meant.

  • Caveat - I'm no expert in US censuses. But I'd agree with @Fortiter here. All my instincts when looking at 1910 forms are that the characters referred to are "office use only". Mine cover the last 4 cols, and don't always align with the cell boundaries, often straying over the vertical and horizontal lines. I'm also seeing ticks by the side that suggest some processing related to this area of the form. The hyphens also suggest something separate from the columns below - why hyphens if you're writing in the columns? – AdrianB38 Mar 10 '13 at 10:12
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    Interesting - in the 1910 we see these (presumed) code numbers written over the last columns of the schedule. In the 1920, we have code numbers in the right hand margin. In the 1930 we have definite code numbers "for office use only" in column "D" under Occupation. In the 1940 the Code numbers are in column "F", again under occupation. I would therefore speculate that these are all the same sort of thing and these 1910 codes relate to (possibly among other things) occupation. All this is based on logic not knowledge. – AdrianB38 Mar 10 '13 at 10:19

Took some research but i found the codes. They're in ~pg.200/214 on this link https://usa.ipums.org/usa/resources/codebooks/1910_PUMS_codebook.pdf

USER'S GUIDE
PUBLIC USE SAMPLE
1910 UNITED STATES CENSUS OF POPULATION

BY
MICHAEL A . STRONG

AND

SAMUEL H . PRESTON
ANN R . MILLER
MARK HEREWARD
HAROLD R . LENTZNER
JEFFREY R . SEAMAN
HENRY C . WILLIAMS

POPULATION STUDIES CENTER
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

JANUARY, 1989

Those numbers are a real mystery, and nothing I've read here explains them, but I CAN enlighten all as to what the actual instructions from the census bureau instruct as to the completion of columns 30, 31, and 32 - which read thus:

SURVIVORS OF THE CIVIL WAR. 192. Column 80. Whether a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy.—This question should be asked as to all males over 50 years of age who were born in the United States and all foreign born males who immigrated to this country before 1865. Write "UA" if a survivor of the Union Army; "UN" if a survivor of the Union Navy; "CA" if a survivor of the Confederate Army; and "CN" if a survivor of the Confederate Navy. For all other persons leave the column blank. BLIND AND DEAF AND DUMB PEBSONS. 193 Column 31. Whether blind (both eyes). —If a person is either totally or partially blind, in both eyes, so as not to be able to read even with the help of glasses, write "Bl." For all other persons leave the column blank. 194. Column 82. Whether deaf and dumb. —If a person is both deaf and dumb, write "DD." For all other persons leave the column blank. Persons who are deaf but not dumb, or persons who are dumb but not deaf, are not to be reported.

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