Terry's TMG Tips

Terry's Census Tag
for 1790 to 1840 U.S. Census

This page created 12 Dec 2011

Applies to Version 8 & 9

This article describes the Census Tag that I have developed for the 1790 to 1840 U.S. census - the years in which only the head of the household was named. I expect the techniques could be adapted to any other census that provides counts of household members by group rather than listing each member by name.

My article on Recording Census Information describes my approach to recording census information, which is aligned with the Census tag I describe here, and some important caveats about its application. Two companion articles describe my Census tag for 1850 and later, and a simplified version some users may prefer.

The U.S. Census for 1790 through 1840 produce special issues because only the head of the household is named, with others simply counted by sex, age bracket, and free or slave. Thus one cannot be sure who was actually in the household, other than the named head. But in many cases one can make an informed assumption, and my method allows recording those conclusions.

Some users get all fussy about including detailed warnings for their readers that we really don't know who the other members are, and are just guessing. I use a simpler format that I think adequately conveys the uncertainty, but users will have to decide for themselves how clear they feel they need to be on this point.

What It Does

The Census Tag described below records and provides narrative output with the following information:

For the head of household:

For others believed to have been counted as members of the household:

This provides as complete picture as possible of the household in the narratives about the head of household, as well as key information in the narratives about other members. This works well in narrative output to Second Site where each person's narrative stands on it's own, but at the price of some repetition in Journal narratives when the whole family may be listed together.

Dealing with Relationships Between Household Members

With members of the household not listed by name, one can only compare the numbers of males and females by age brackets with the known or estimated ages of the spouse, ages and marital status of children, and any others who might have been present in the household. I find in many cases at least some of the household members can be identified with reasonable assurance.

There is a virtually endless list of possible relationships of members of the household have to the head of household – daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, with or without their children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, grandchildren with or without their parents, uncles, aunts, and many more. But as a practical matter, I find that I can rarely make a sound judgment about about any but the spouse and children, and occasionally, an aging parent. When there is no reasonable basis for making an identification I declare them "unknown" or on rare occasions, include a guess as "possibly..."

Dealing with Groups Household Members by Age and Sex

The Tag deals automatically with:

This is done with the use of Roles. Probable household members are assigned Roles which reflect a combination of the believed relationship to the head of household and the age/sex bracket, for example:

Of course the actual age brackets differ by census years, as the various censuses used different brackets. Note that one could be more politically correct and call the "wife" Role "spouse." But I've never seen a female head of household in this period where I believed her husband was present in the household. And doing so requires creating both male and female sentences for this Role, which seems to me like a waste of effort, so I don't recommend it.

In order to produce the correct wording for the various members of the household the system must account for any given sex/age bracket containing only one or more than one person. I do this with "pseudo-plural" roles like these:

Note that this is not necessarily a real plural - that is, "wifes" does not mean we think there were really two wives. Rather, it means there are 2 or more people in that age/sex bracket, one of which is being identified as the wife. (I like the "incorrect" spelling "wifes" as a reminder that this doesn't really mean there were two wives.) Similarly, the role for "sons" may be used when only one son has been identified, with the others in that bracket not identified ("unknown"). Choosing the plural role rather than the non-plural one causes wording like "...was probably one of the two females age 25 to 30..." instead of the wording "Was probably the female age 25 to 30..." in the output. The details below may make this clearer.

Sentence Structures for 1800

Below are the Roles and corresponding Sentence Structures I use for the 1800 Census Tag. Those for 1790 and 1810 through 1840 are similar, but have somewhat different roles to accommodate the different age brackets used in those years, as listed at the end of this article.

This system requires custom Sentences for the standard Principal and Witness Roles, and the creation of the custom Roles listed below. If you are not familiar with modifying Sentence Structures, you may find my article on Modifying Tag Sentence Structures helpful. If you are not familiar with using Roles, my Tutorial on Creating and Applying Roles may be helpful.

Role used for the head of household:

Role                            Sentence
Principal [P] appeared on the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]> < [M]>

Use:

  • Enter the named Head of Household as a Principal, leaving the default Role "Principal."

Roles use for wife of the head of household:

Role                            Sentence
wife 16-25 She was probably the female age 16 to 25 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
wife 26-44 She was probably the female age 26 to 44 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
wife over 45 She was probably the female over age 45 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
wifes 16-25 She was probably one of the [WM1] females age 16 to 25 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
wifes 26-44 She was probably one of the [WM1] females age 26 to 44 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
wifes over 45 She was probably one of the [WM1] females over age 45 listed in the household of her husband, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census <of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>

Use:

  • Enter the wife of the Head of Household as a Witness.

  • Assign the age-appropriate "wife" Role when there is only one female listed in that age bracket.

  • Assign the age-appropriate "wifes" Role when there are two or more females in her age bracket, regardless of who the other females might be, or even if they are unidentified. Enter the number of persons in that bracket in the Witness Memo.

  • If there are any comment you want to add, place it in the Witness Memo, or the second segment of the Witness Memo if the "wifes" Role is used.

Notes:

  • The "over 45" Roles actually includes age 45; I've used the shorter label rather than the more correct "45 and older" used on by the census.

  • Not all age brackets are included here – I've yet to find a wife under age 10, or aged 10 to 15.

Roles used for children of the head of household:

Role                            Sentence
son under 10 He was probably the male under age 10 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
son 10-15 He was probably the male age 10 to 15 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
son 16-25 He was probably the male age 16 to 25 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
daughter under 10 She was probably the female under age 10 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
daughter 10-15 She was probably the female age 10 to 15 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
daughter 16-25 She was probably the female age 16 to 25 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM]><[M0]>
sons under 10 He was probably one of the [WM1] males under age 10 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
sons 10-15 He was probably one of the [WM1] males age 10 to 15 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
sons 16-25 He was probably one of the [WM1] males age 16 to 25 listed in the household of his father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
daughters under 10 She was probably one of the [WM1] females under age 10 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
daughters 10-15 She was probably one of the [WM1] females age 10 to 15 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>
daughters 16-25 She was probably one of the [WM1] females age 16 to 25 listed in the household of her father, [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census< of [L]><[WM2]><[M0]>

Use:

  • Enter the child of the Head of Household as a Witness.

  • Assign the age-appropriate "son" or "daughter" Role when there is only one person listed in that age/sex bracket.

  • Assign the age-appropriate "sons" or "daughters" Role when there are two or more person in that age/sex bracket, regardless of who the others might be, or even if they are unidentified. Enter the number of persons in that bracket in the Witness Memo.

  • If there are any comment you want to add, place it in the Witness Memo, or the second segment of the Witness Memo if the "sons" or "daughters" Role is used. This segment could also be used if one believes the spouse of a child was in the household. In that case you might enter something like:

    and the male aged 20 to 30 is probably her husband, [R:Witness]

Note:

  • Not all age brackets are included here – I've yet to find the need for a child aged 26 to 44, or over 45. But if I did find such a case I'd add the needed role to accommodate it.

Setting appropriate age parameters for each Role provides a warning if you assign a wife, son, and daughter to an age bracket that is inconsistent with their age as recorded in your data. Do that by setting the minimum and maximum age parameters in the lower right corner of the "Roles and Sentences" tab of the Tag Type Definition screen.

Roles used for other members of household:

Role                            Sentence
Witness Male sentence: [W] is probably the male age [WM1] listed in the household of <[WM2],> [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census<of [L]><[WM3]><[M0]>

Female sentence: [W] is probably the female age [WM1] listed in the household of <[WM2],> [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census<of [L]><[WM3]><[M0]>

Witnesses Male sentence: [W] is probably one of the [WM1] males age [WM2] listed in the household of <[WM3],> [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census<of [L]><[WM4]><[M0]>

Female sentence: [W] is probably one of the [WM1] females age [WM2] listed in the household of <[WM3],> [P1], in the 1800 Federal Census<of [L]><[WM4]><[M0]>

Use:

  • These Roles are assigned in those rare cases when we can identify members of the household who have some other relationship to the head of household, for example a parent or grandchild. Enter the identified person as a Witness.

  • Assign the "Witness" Role when there is only one person listed in that age/sex bracket.

  • Assign the "Witnesses" Role when there are two or more persons in the age/sex bracket, regardless of who the other person might be, or even if they are unidentified. Enter the number of persons in that bracket in the first segment of the Witness Memo.

  • Enter the age bracket in the first segment of the Witness Memo if the "Witness" Role is used, or the second segment if the "Witnesses" Role is used.

  • Enter the relationship of the Head of Household to this person in the next segment of the Witness Memo.
Examples:
Witness:
 age 10 to 15||his uncle
Witnesses:
 two||age 10 to 15||his uncle
  • If there are any comment you want to add, place it in the last segment of the Witness Memo. This segment could also be used if one believes the spouse of a this person was in the household. In that case you might enter something like:

    and the male aged 60 to 70 is probably her husband, [R:Witness]

Notes:

  • Both Roles also have female Sentences, with the word "male" changed to "female."

  • If the need arises to record additional members of the household, one can add additional Roles, like "Witness2" or "Witness3" with the same Sentences.

Entering Data in the Census Tag

Creating the Head of Household Narrative

The tag Memo field is used to construct the key part of the narrative for the head of household - both the recorded makeup of the household, and who we believe the persons counted actually were. Here is an example of what such a memo would be:

with a household consisting of two males under age 10 (probably sons [RF:sons under 10]), one between 16 and 25 (unknown), and one over 45 (himself); and two females under 10 (daughters [RF:daughters under 10]), three between 10 and 15 (daughters [RF:daughters 10-15]), one between 16 and 25 (daughter [RF:daughter 16-25]), and one over 45 (his wife [RF:wife over 45])

Note that the entry reports the number of people listed in each age/sex bracket, and then shows who we believe the people in that bracket to be. Following each bracket, in parenthesis, is the person or persons we believe to have been enumerated, or the word "unknown" if we don't know.

The entry above would produce the following output for the head of household:

He appeared on the 1800 Federal Census of Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont, with a household consisting of two males under age 10 (probably sons Joshua and Simeon), one between 16 and 25 (unknown), and one over 45 (Joshua); and two females under 10 (daughters Hannah and Welthyan), three between 10 and 15 (daughters Abiah, Polly and Drusilla), one between 16 and 25 (daughter Abigail), and one over 45 (his wife Hannah).

It would be possible to type the names into the memo instead of using the name Variables you see here. I use the Variables for four reasons: 1) it avoids mistakes typing the name, 2) the names automatically change if I later change the names of the persons involved, 3) when I output my data to a website using Second Site, each name becomes a link allowing the reader to jump to that person's entry, and 4) when there is more than one person with the Role, as with the children in this example, a single Variable produces the entire list of all of them.

To avoid errors typing in the Variables, use the right-click in the Memo field and select the desired Variable from the menu that appear. Then to check your work click the Sentence button and read the Preview shown there.

Should there be anything else of interest in the census, for example the presence of slaves in the household, I add that to the Memo at the end of the text listing the household members.

I find it very helpful to place a sample of typical Memo text in the Reminder of the Tag Type (lower right corner of the Other tab of the Tag Type Definition screen). I then copy it into the Memo and edit as needed. I find this to be much easier than creating the Memo text from scratch each time.

Roles Needed for Each Year

The age brackets used in the census differed from year to year. Some of the later years had a large number of brackets, creating the theoretical possibility of a huge number of Roles. But in practice, I have found that many of the possible cases do not actually occur. The list below shows those I have found sufficient, in addition to the roles for Principal and the all-purpose Witness and Witnesses Roles. Should a bracket not included be needed, that one role can easily be added without the need to add a complete set.

1790:  
wife wifes
  son under 16 sons under 16
  son over 16 sons over 16
  daughter daughters
     
1800 &   1810:  
wife 16-25 wifes 16-25
  wife 26-44 wifes 26-44
  wife over 45 wifes over 45
  son under 10 sons under 10
  son 10-15 sons 10-15
  son 16-25 sons 16-25
  daughter under 10 daughters under 10
  daughter 10-15 daughters 10-15
  daughter 16-25 daughters 16-25
     
1820:  
wife 16-25 wifes 16-25
  wife 26-44 wifes 26-44
  wife over 45 wifes over 45
  son under 10 sons under 10
  son 10-15 sons 10-15
  son 16-18 sons 16-18
  son 19-26 sons 19-26
  daughter under 10 daughters under 10
  daughter 10-15 daughters 10-15
  daughter 16-26 daughters 16-26
     
1830 & 1840: wife 15-19  
  
wife 20-29 wifes 20-29
  wife 30-39 wifes 30-39
  wife 40-49 wifes 40-49
  wife 50-59  
  wife 60-69  
  wife 70-79  
  son under 5 sons under 5
  son 5-9 sons 5-9
  son 10-14 sons 10-14
  son 15-19 sons 15-19
  son 20-29 sons 20-29
  daughter under 5 daughters under 5
  daughter 5-9 daughters 5-9
  daughter 10-14 daughters 10-14
  daughter 15-19 daughters 15-19
  daughter 20-29 daughters 20-29

Downloading this Tag Type

You can modify your existing Census Tag Types or create custom ones by copying the Roles and Sentences from this page, editing them as you prefer. Or, you can download and install a copy of my Tag Types using the Tag Type Import function.

This download contains a set of Tag Types, one for each census year. I find separate Tag Types are needed for each census year because are significant differences in Roles needed for each year.

If you choose to download you can import in either of two ways:

I recommend that you add them as additional Tag Types, even if you already have separate ones for each year. Doing so will avoid problems with your existing Census Tags if you don't plan to convert them to the new system immediately.

If you want to proceed with the download and import process:

  1. Down load my custom Tag Type file here: Terry's 1790-1840 Tag Types

    The file formats used for exporting and importing Tag Types was changed with TMG version 8.05. This import can only be used with that version or later. If you are using version 8.04 or earlier you should install the free upgrade.
  2. You have a choice about where to save the file. You can save it in an easy-to-find location, such as on your desktop, and then locate it when you import it in Step 3 below. Or, you can save it in your TMG "Export" folder, which is were TMG first looks for it. I recommend that location if you might want to import the Tag Types again into different Projects. The default location of the Export folder is shown below, but it may differ on your system if you have customized your file locations:

Operating
System
Default Folder Location
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
C:\Users\{user}\Documents\The Master Genealogist v9\Export
Windows XP
Windows 2000
C:\Documents and Settings\{user}\My Documents\The Master Genealogist v9\Export
In yet another misguided attempt by MicroSoft to be helpful, Internet Explorer insists on changing the file extension when you save the file, making it unusable. The best solution is to use a "real" browser, such as Opera or FireFox. But if you prefer to use Internet Explorer you can solve the problem by correcting the extension as you save the file. To do that, when the Save As dialog opens, change the "Save as type" drop-down at the bottom of the screen to "All Files." Then edit the File name just above, changing the ".zip" at the end to ".xtt" (for eXchange Tag Type).
  1. Open TMG, then use the Tools > Tag Types menu command to open the Tag Types screen. On that screen, click the Import Button, and on the Import screen that opens select the "terry's census tags 1790-1840.xtt" file. If you have saved it someplace other than the Export folder, you will have to navigate to that location to locate it. Click the Open button, and the Import Tag Type screen opens:Import Tag Types

In that screen, you may choose to either:

For further details on exporting and importing Tag Types, see my article Exporting and Importing Tag Types.


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