Terry's ORA Tips

Template Example – Lynn’s Census Memo Templates

This page created 30 Dec 2020

Version note: Applies to ORA 1.15 or later

This article describes a set of example Templates for Online Repository Assistant (ORA). Other example Templates can be found in the index of Example Templates. Other articles in my ORA Section cover various topics about using the software.

The Templates described here were developed by Lynn McLaughlin. Questions about them should be directed to her on the ORA support list.

These Templates reflect a different method for recording census data than described in my census article; Lynn's Templates are designed to record all data from the census record in the memo of the census Tag. These examples include utilization of several more advanced ORA features including using Comments to document sections of the Templates, Text Template Fields, Variable Templates,and the Template Library, (links are to descriptions of those features in my other articles).

Lynn's description of her census memo Templates follows:

Lynn's 1850-1940 Census Memo Templates

There are many ways to format a census memo, of course, and many ways to organize the templates. My templates differ from others principally in that (1) I included almost all the data in the census, and (2) I use the same memo template for the whole set, which I've found more effective since they have so much in common.

Many, if not all, of these censuses had fields I have not yet included. In many cases, where field names were long, especially if used more than once, I assigned shorter variables to make the code more readable. This technique was also used when different censuses used different wording for the same thing (e.g. “Can Read” vs. “Able to Read”).

The memo for these censuses is made up of parts covering different topics. Various library templates are used, but not to initialize variables in this case.

Associated Library Templates


#Returns the age and proper units (month/months/year/years). Params: 1: Age variable.
<[?:Age=0][=:Age:][=:Unit:under one year]>
< [Age]> [Unit]<[?:Age][Age:plural::s:]>

Short Place

[=:Start Template:Short Place]
#Short Place: Add Co. or Parish, abbreviate state, leave off country if US. Parameter 1. Place Name
[=:Where:[{1}:replace:, United States.*|, U.S.A.|, USA:]]
[lib.Independent Cities:State:County:Town:Detail]
[=:County:[County:replace: Co\.|County:]]
<<[Town]><[+:, ][County]><[+:, ][State]>>
[=:End Template:Short Place]

When Born

[=:Start:When Born]
#Various field names are used for birth dates. This finds the one used and replaces "abt" with "about" where relevant. There are no parameters
<[birth year:replace:abt:about]|[Birth date:replace:abt:about]|[Estimated birth year:replace:abt:about]>
[=:End:When Born]

Independent Cities

[=:Start Template:Independent Cities]
#Independent Cities - For an independent city, set county blank and the town to the original county name. Params: 1. State, 2. County, 3. Town, 4. Detail
#State: [{1}], County: [{2}], Town: [{3}], Detail: [{4}]\<br\>
<[?:{2}/Louis/][lib.St Louis:{1}:{2}:{3}:{4}]>
[=:End Template:Independent Cities]


[=:Start Template:Virginia]
#For Virginia places, see if county name is really the name of an independent city, and if so, make that the town name and blank out the county. Params: 1. State, 2. County, 3. Town
<[?:tCounty/Alexandria|Bedford|Bristol|Buena Vista|Charlottesville|Chesapeake|Clifton Forge|Colonial Heights|Covington|Danville|Emporia|Falls Church|Fredericksburg|Galax|Hampton|Harrisonburg|Hopewell|Lexington|Lynchburg|Manassas|Manassas Park|Martinsville|Newport News|Norfolk|Norton|Petersburg|Poquoson|Portsmouth|Radford|Roanoke|Salem|South Boston|Staunton|Suffolk|Virginia Beach|Waynesboro|Williamsburg|Winchester/]
 <[?:tTown][=:tCounty:]|[=:tTown:[tCounty:replace: City::]][=:tCounty:]>>

[=:End Template:Virginia]


[=:Start Template:Baltimore]
#Baltimore - for county of Baltimore, without the word County or abbreviation Co, and a blank town, set the town to Baltimore and the county blank. Params: Baltimore: 1. State, 2. County, 3. Town, 4. Details
             [=:tDetail:[tTown:replace:Baltimore ::]][=:tTown:Baltimore][=:tCounty:]|

[=:End Template:Baltimore]

St Louis

[=:Start Template:St Louis]
#For Missouri with county containing "Louis", without the word County or abbreviation Co, and a blank town, set the town to St. Louis and the county blank. Params:  1. State, 2. County, 3. Town, 4. Details
      [=:tCounty:[tCounty:replace:St Louis|Saint Louis:St. Louis]]
           [=:tTown:[tTown:replace:St Louis|Saint Louis:St. Louis]]
             [=:tDetail:[tTown:replace:St. Louis ::]][=:tTown:St. Louis][=:tCounty:]|
             [?:tTown/St. Louis/][=:tTown:St. Louis][=:tCounty:]
            >|[=:tTown:St. Louis][=:tCounty:]

[=:End Template:St Louis]

County or Parish

[=:Start Template:CountyOrParish]
#County or Parish - adds Par. if state is Louisiana or Co. otherwise to county field name. Params: 1. County 2. abbreviated state 3. Variable to store result into
<[?:{1}]<[?:{2}=LA][lib.Append:{1}: Par.:{3}]|[lib.Append:{1}: Co.:{3}]>>
[=:End Template:CountyOrParish]

Auto-Type Template

Name: Memo
{fast}{ctrl+A}[var.Person] [var.Family] [var.Parents] [var.Work] [var.Immigration] [var.Housing] [var.Education]

Text Templates


#Set up data
#Since the people I'm researching are almost all white, I am not showing the race for white people.
[=:Marital:[Marital status:lowercase:replace:widower:widowed]]
#Build text
[HeShe] was listed as [name]<[?:Respondent/^Y/] and was the respondent>.
< [HeShe] was <<[Race]><[+:, ][Marital]><[+:, ] [?:Age] [lib.AgeAndUnit:Age] old><[+:, and] born [lib.when born]< in [Birth Place]>>>.>


# Set up data
#Kid count for 1900 census
<[?:Mother How Many Children>0][=:Total Kids:[Mother How Many Children]][=:Living Kids:[Mother Number of Living Children]]>
#Kid count for 1910 census
<[?:Number of Children Born>0][=:Total Kids:[Number of Children Born]][=:Living Kids:[Number of Children Living]]>
#Build text
<[?:Years Married:>0] [HeShe]< and [Spouse's name:nameGiven]> had been married for [Years Married] years.>
< [HeShe] was [Age at first Marriage] when first married.>
< [HeShe]< and [Spouse's name:nameGiven] were| was> married in about [Marriage Year].>
< [HeShe]'d had [Total Kids:numberToWords][Total Kids:plural: child: children: children]
< of whom [Living Kids:numberToWords:replace:zero:none] were still living.>>


# Set up data
#Build text
#Parents' birth places in 1880-1940 censuses
<< [HerHis] father was born in [Father's Birth Place]< and [HerHis:lowercase] mother in [Mother's Birth Place]>.>|
< [HerHis] mother was born in [Mother's Birth Place].>>
#1870 just has parent of foreign birth or not.
<<[?:Father of Foreign Birth/^y/] [HerHis] father was born in another country <[?:Mother of Foreign Birth/^y/], and [HerHis:lowercase] mother was as well>.>|
<[?:Mother of Foreign Birth/^y/] [HerHis] mother was born in another country.>>


# Set up data
<[?:Occupation=At Home][=:Occupation:]>
<[?:Occupation=No Occupation][=:Occupation:]>
<[?:Industry=industry not reported][=:Industry:]>
#1940 wording
<[?:Duration of Unemployment][=:WeeksOut:[Duration of Unemployment]]>
#1910 wording
<[?:Number of weeks out of work][=:WeeksOut:[Number of weeks out of work]]>
#Build text
< [HerHis] occupation was [Occupation:lowercase]< in the [Industry:lowercase] industry>.>
<[?:Class of Worker/^Unpaid family worker/] [HeShe] was considered an unpaid family worker.>
<[?:Weeks Worked in 1939!=0] In 1939, [HeShe:lowercase] worked [Weeks Worked in 1939] weeks.>
<[?:Income>0] [HerHis] total pay in 1939 was $[Income].>
<[?:Income Other Sources/^Y/] [HeShe] had income from other sources.>
< In the last week before the
census, [HeShe:lowercase] worked [Hours Worked Week Prior to Census] hours.>
<[?:Out of Work/^y/] [HeShe] was unemployed at the time of the census.>
<[?:WeeksOut>0] In the 12 months preceding the census date, [HeShe:lowercase] was unemployed for [WeeksOut] weeks.>
<[?:Months not employed>0] In the 12 months preceding the census date, [HeShe:lowercase] was unemployed for [Months not employed] months.>


# Set up data
#Naturalization ("Naturalization" in 1920, "Naturalization Status" in 1920)
<[?:Naturalization Status][=:Nat:[Naturalization Status]]>
#Language ("Native Tongue" in 1910 & 1920, "Native Language" in 1940). Will set to null if English.
<[?:Native Tongue][=:Lang:[Native Tongue]]>
<[?:Native Language][=:Lang:[Native Language]]>
#English speaking ability ("Able to speak English" in 1920-1930, "Can speak English" in 1940). Will set to null if native language is English.
<[?:Able to speak English][=:English:[Able to speak English]]>
<[?:Can speak English][=:English:[Can speak English]]>
#Build text
#Birth and citizenship
< [HeShe] had been in the US for about [Years in the US] years<, arriving in [Immigration Year]>.|< [HeShe] immigrated to the US in [Immigration Year].>>
<[?:Nat/^Na/] [HeShe] was a naturalized citizen.>
<[?:Nat/^Pa/] [HeShe] had applied to become a naturalized citizen.>
<[?:Nat/^Al/] [HeShe] was not a naturalized citizen, nor had [HeShe:lowercase] yet applied to become one.>
<< [HerHis] native language was [Lang]
<[?:English/^y/], but [HeShe:lowercase] could also speak English><[?:English/^n/] and [HeShe:lowercase] could not speak English>.>|
<[?:English/^n/] [HeShe] was unable to speak English.>>


# Set up data
#Lived on a farm: Called Farm in 1940, Lives on Farm in 1930, and Farm or House in 1910 and 1900.
<[?:Farm or House/^F/][=:Lives on Farm:Y]>
#House vs Home owned or rented. 1940 and 1900 used "House" and 1910-1930 used "Home." Only 1910 and 1920 asked about a mortgage.
<[?:House Owned or Rented/^R/][=:OwnRent:rented]>
<[?:Home Owned or Rented/^R/][=:OwnRent:rented]>
<[?:House Owned or Rented/^O/][=:OwnRent:owned]>
<[?:Home Owned or Rented/^O/][=:OwnRent:owned]>
#Home value or cost. In 1940, it was called "Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented" and "Home Value" in 1930.
<[?:Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented][=:Price:[Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented]]>
<[?:Home Value][=:Price:[Home Value]]>
#The overall value of real estate was called "Real Estate Value" in 1860 and 1870 and just "Real Estate" in 1850.
<[?:Real Estate Value][=:Real Estate:[Real Estate Value]]>
#Build text
<[?:Lives on Farm/^y/] [HeShe] was living on a farm.>
<[?:OwnRent/^r/] The home was rented< for $[Price] per month>.>
<[?:OwnRent/^o/] The home was owned by [HerHim:lowercase]
<<[?:Home Free or Mortgaged/^F/] with no mortgage>|<[?:Home Free or Mortgaged] with a mortgage>>
< and had a value of $[Price]>.>
<< [HerHis] real estate was worth $[Real Estate]>
<[+] and personal estate was worth $[personal estate value]| [HerHis] personal estate was worth $[personal estate value]>.>
<[?:Radio Set/^Y/] There was a radio set in the home.><[?:Radio Set/^N/] There was no radio set in the home.>
#Special data in the 1940 census about where they lived in 1935
<[?:Resident on farm in 1935/^y/][=:Farm35: on a farm]>
<[?:Residence in 1935/^Rural/][=:Home35: a rural area]|[=:Home35:[Residence in 1935]]>
<[?:Farm35] In 1935, [HeShe:lowercase] lived<[Farm35]>
< in [lib.Short Place:Home35]>.>


# Set up data
#In school. Called "Attended School or College" in 1940, and just "Attended School" in 1850-1870 and 1910-1930.
<[?:Attended School or College/^Y/][=:Attended School:Y]>
#"Able to Read and Write" in 1930, "Able to Read" and "Able to Write" in 1910-1920, "Can Read" and "Can Write" in 1900, "Cannot Read" and "Cannot Write" in 1870, "Cannot Read, Write" in 1850-1860.
<[?:Able to Read and Write/^Y/][=:Writes:Y][=:Reads:Y]>
<[?:Able to Read and Write/^N/][=:Writes:N][=:Reads:N]>
<[?:Able to Read/^Y/][=:Reads:Y]>
<[?:Able to Read/^N/][=:Reads:N]>
<[?:Can Read/^Y/][=:Reads:Y]>
<[?:Can Read/^N/][=:Reads:N]>
<[?:Cannot Read/^N/][=:Reads:Y]>
<[?:Cannot Read/^Y/][=:Reads:N]>
<[?:Cannot Read, Write/^N/][=:Writes:Y][=:Reads:Y]>
<[?:Cannot Read, Write/^Y/][=:Writes:N][=:Reads:N]>
<[?:Able to Write/^Y/][=:Writes:Y]>
<[?:Able to Write/^N/][=:Writes:N]>
<[?:Can Write/^Y/][=:Writes:Y]>
<[?:Can Write/^N/][=:Writes:N]>
<[?:Cannot Write/^N/][=:Writes:Y]>
<[?:Cannot Write/^Y/][=:Writes:N]>

#Build the text.
<[?:Attended School/^Y/] [HeShe] attended school during the year.>
<[?:Reads/^Y/] [HeShe] could read<[?:Writes/^Y/] and write><[?:Writes/^N/] but not write>.>
<[?:Reads/^N/] [HeShe] could not read<[?:Writes/^Y/] but could write><[?:Writes/^N/] or write>.>>
<[?:Highest Grade Completed=None]|< The highest grade of schooling [HeShe:lowercase] had completed was [Highest Grade Completed:lowercase].>>


Please direct questions about the example Templates in this article to their author, Lynn McLaughlin.

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