Terry's ORA Tips

Template Example – Census Sources

This page updated 10 Aug 2020

Version note: Applies to ORA 1.07 and later

This article describes one of my example Templates for Online Repository Assistant (ORA). The 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 "How it Works" section below includes links to articles describing the ORA features used in these Templates.

Description:

The Templates described here are designed to type data from U.S. Census records for the years 1850 through 1940 on Ancestry.com, to create Source Definitions for that census in The Master Genealogist (TMG). This is part of my complete set of Templates for census records, which are described more completely in my article on Using ORA with Census Records.

These Templates are designed to work with "splitter" style source, where a new Source Definition is defined for each household.

The Templates are designed to enter the data into the various fields used by my Source Type for 1850 to 1940 Population Schedules, which is described in the TMG section of this website. It is designed to create a Source record for each household. The Templates could be adapted to enter into Source Definitions of other designs.

A separate Template is provided for each census year.

Example Output:

Type:

Auto Type, designed for use with TMG

Use:

In TMG, open a Tag Entry screen for a Tag in which you intend to cite this census, or open the Add Person screen if you are adding a new person.

In your browser, navigate to the census record for the head of household of the household for which the Source Definition is being created. In the ORA Control Panel, click the Auto Type button associated with this Template. The Template opens the Citation screen, sets it to the "new" mode, and types the data as shown in the example above for all fields where it is recorded in the Ancestry record page. For a fuller description see the Source Definitions Templates section of my article on Using ORA with Census Records.

Limitations:
How it Works:

The Templates use the "Expanded" Citation screen, rather than the Source Definition screen, because the latter is a tabbed screen that requires changing tabs to enter the Comments Source Element and the Repository. By using the expanded Citation screen a new Source can be created from a single data input screen in TMG, avoiding all the Control Sequences needed to navigate the tabs in the Tag Entry screen.

The Templates gather data from fields available in the ORA Control Panel and format it to create output for each Source Element. The methods used are explained for each Source Element below. When the available data in various years requires different methods, each is explained. The actual Templates at the end of this article account for different field names in various census years, but those differences are not noted in this section unless a different method is required to extract the data. The {tab} Control Sequences used to advance from field to field are included in the Templates below, but are not shown in the following discussion for each field.

Gathering Dwelling and Household Numbers

Ancestry.com does not index the dwelling number and/or family number in some census years. Even in years when they are supposed to be indexed they are occasionally omitted. The first thing these templates do is check to see if these numbers are present in the record, and if not prompt the user to supply them.

The test to determine whether the number is present is done with Value Test Variables. If there is no value for that field, Assignment Variables create a prompt so the user can enter it. That is done with the following Template segments:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>

These two variables are enclosed in Conditional Alternate expressions. If the first term, the Value Test, finds a value in that field it returns "true" and the Conditional is satisfied and no prompt is created. But if it finds no value in the field it returns "false" and the second term comes into play, and the prompt is generated.

Testing for Township

Many census records in rural areas used townships as the local area. Townships are generally not the same as towns, though in some cases there are both towns and townships of the same name. Ancestry.com indexes do not distinguish between towns and townships, even though the census image generally does. When the locality is a township I want to record that in my Source definition. I have tried to remember to check and enter it manually when indicated, but found I often forgot to do that.

To avoid that problem I added a prompt to the Template to ask whether the locality is a township or not. To avoid asking when the Template can automatically determine the location cannot be a township, a Value Test Variable tests for the term "Ward" in the second part of the locality, which would indicate the locality is a city. That is done with the following Template segment:

<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

The term "Ward," if present, is found by using a :split Transformation, shown in yellow above, to find a segment separated by a space with the second part being the term "Ward." As in the case of dwelling and family number tests, these two variables are enclosed in a Conditional Alternate expression so if "Ward" is not found, an Assignment Variable creates a prompt so the user can enter whether or not the locality is a township.

Removing the Country from the Place Field

In some census years Ancestry includes the country, shown as "USA," at the end of the place field, while in most it does not. In order to use the same Template segments without editing for each year, for years in which the country is included it is removed by use of a :replace Transformation, using the following segment:

[=:Residence:[Residence:replace:, USA::l]]

The Transformation searches for the string ", USA" and if found, replaces it with nothing.

With the preliminaries completed, we can now describe the actual workings of the the template.

Opening the Citation Screen

The Citation screen in TMG is opened with the Control Sequence for the F4 key. That screen opens with the focus on the Source Number field. The Control Sequence for the "Shift-tab" combination tabs "backwards" to the "New" radio button. A literal space character selects that radio button and the focus advances to the Source Type drop-down list.

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

It takes TMG a finite amount of time to change the Citation screen from the "Old" mode to the "New" mode, which requires re-drawing that screen. I find to get dependable results in selecting the Source Type in the following step I need to add a delay Control Sequence to give TMG time to catch up. I have found a 300 millisecond delay works on my system, but you may find a shorter delay works for you, or you may need a longer one.

Source Type

The Source Type is selected from a drop-down list. Items on that list cannot be reliably selected by typing the name of the Source Type when there are several items that begin with the same terms when the names include spaces or other special characters. I solved this problem by changing the name of my several census source types so they all differ before the first space in the name. I did this by adding a numeric value after the first term "Census" without a space, though any other way that makes the first parts unique would work. I have the Template select the correct source type with this segment:

Census06{fast}

To use this Template on another system you would need to change the characters typed to match the name of your census Source Type. I end this segment with the {fast} Control Sequence to speed up the rest of the typing, which works on my system.

Abbreviation

The formatting of the Source Abbreviation in TMG is totally a matter of personal preference. I prefer to start with "cen" so all my census Sources sort together in the Master Source List, followed by the year, the two-letter postal code for the state, the name of the county, and the name of the head of household, surname first. For example:

cen1860- IN Shelby - Jones, Isaac

That output is produced by the following Template segment:

cen1860- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1], <[Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>

The first term is literal text to produce "cen", the year, hyphen and space. The postal code for the state is found by extracting the name of the state from the "Residence" field with a :split Transformation to find the last part of the place field, followed by an :abbr Transformation to produce the two-letter abbreviation. Next the name of the county is found by applying the :split Transformation again to the "Residence" field to find the second from last part of the state field.

Next the surname is extracted from the "Name" field using the :split Transformation to locate the last part of that field. Note that this will produce results requiring editing if the surname contains a space, like Mc Neill, or there is a suffix, like Jr. Finally, the given name and middle names are extracted by using the split Transformation to find the third from last and next to last items in the "Name" field. Note that errors in the surname extraction will produce errors for these elements as well.

Title

I use as the Title Source Element the year and the words "U.S. Census" so this Template segment is just literal text:

1860 U.S. Census

The year could be obtained from a field but field names change in some years, so simply using literal text for the year seemed simpler.

County

The name of the county is extracted from the "Residence" field with the :split Transformation to find the second-from-last element, with this Template segment:

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-2=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>

The second term adds with literal text either "Co." or "Parish." A Value Test Variable tests the name of the state, also extracted from the "Residence" field with a :split Transformation, for "Louisiana." If true "Parish" is output, otherwise "Co." is output by the second part of the Alternatives Conditional.

Household

I enter the name of the head of household in normal format, so it is produced with this Template segment:

[Name]

If a surname first format is desired, the method described above for the Abbreviation can be used.

Location

The name of the locality is extracted from the "Residence" field with the :split Transformation to find the third from last element. A :replace Transformation is chained to that value to change the term "Ward" to lower case "ward," if it exists. This is simply my personal preference, and can be omitted if you do not share this preference. Finally, a Value Test Variable tests whether the user entered "y" to the prompt as to whether the locality was a township, as describe above. If so, the literal text " Twp." is added. This is all done using the following Template segment:

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>

When the locality is not recorded this segment will produce no output and the Template advances to the next Source Element.

State

The name of the state is extracted from the "Residence" field with the :split Transformation to find the last element, with this Template segment:

[Residence:split:,:-1]

Enumeration District

The enumeration district, for those years where it is used, is produced with the following Template segment:

[Source.Enumeration District:replace:^0+]

In some years Ancestry includes leading zeros to give all district numbers the same number of digits. I dislike that practice, so remove them when present with the :replace Transformation.

Informer

The "Informer" (actually informant, but I used a standard Source Element with a name that was close) is used only for 1940. It is produced by the following Template segment:

<[?:Respondent=Yes]head of household|###>

Ancestry records who the informant is by placing "yes" or "no" in the "Respondent" field for each person, so it is possible to extract that information automatically only when the informant was the head of household. The Template tests the value in the "Respondent" field for the value "Yes" with the Value Test Variable. If that is true, it uses literal text to output "head of household." If it is not, it uses literal text to output "###" to draw attention to the fact that the Source Element needs to be edited.

Page

The page number is produced by the following Template segment:

[Source.Page]

Dwelling and Family

The dwelling number, except for 1940 when it was not used, and family number, are produced by the following Template segments:

[Dwelling Number]

[Family Number]

Film Number

Ancestry.com records the NARA film number in different ways in different years. In some years only the roll number is reported. In others the film and roll numbers are reported. In still others only the FHL film number is recorded. For those years I look up the NARA number and record that myself.

For years where only the roll number is recorded, the Template uses literal text to output the film number, and the "Source.Roll" field for the roll number, like this:

M432-[Source.Roll]

For years when Ancestry.com records both the film and roll number, it uses an underscore character to separate the two, which I change to a hyphen with the :replace Transformation, like this:

[Source.Roll::replace:_:-]

For years when the NARA number is not recorded I use literal text to produce the film number, followed by "###" to draw attention to the fact that the Source Elements needs to be edited, like this:

M432-###

Comments

I acknowledge that I viewed the image on Ancestry.com by inserting a note in the Comments Source Element, by use of literal text in the following Template segment:

image found on Ancestry.com

Repository

The Repository, like the Source Type, is selected from a drop-down list. I have changed the names of Repositories with names that begin with "National" so each has unique initial parts, so it can be selected with the following Template segment:

National10
 
Templates:

The following are the complete Templates for each census year. They can be copied from the areas below and pasted into an Auto Type Template in the OraSettings window. The separation of the coding into "paragraphs" is used only to make the coding easier to understand. The paragraph breaks are ignored by ORA when the Template is used.

I include the Control Sequence {fast} to speed up the typing in all the Templates below. This works on my system, but you may need to remove it if your system doesn't tolerate this typing speed.

For each of these Templates I use the following Reminder field in the OraSetting window:

Census Tag, start in Date

1850:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

[=:Residence:[Residence:replace:, USA::l]]

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1850- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1], <[Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1850 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[Name]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab*3}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

M432-[Source.Roll]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1860:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1860- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states]
[Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1],< [Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1860 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab*3}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

M653-<[Source.Roll]|###>{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1870:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1870- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1],< [Name:split: :-4]>< [Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1870 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab*3}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

[Source.Roll:replace:_:-]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1880:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

[=:Residence:[Residence:replace:, USA::l]]

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1880- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1],< [Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1880 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab*3}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

T9-[Source.Roll]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1900:

<[?:Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation]|[=:Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1900- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1],< [Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1900 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab}

[Source.Enumeration District:replace:^0+]{tab*2}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

T623-###{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1910:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1910- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1],< [Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1910 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab}

[Source.Enumeration District:replace:^0+]{tab*2}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

[Source.Roll:replace:_:-]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1920:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1920- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [=:Surname:[Name:split: :-1:replace:\b(Mc)([a-z]):$1;$2]][surname:split:;:1][surname:split:;:2:capitalize], <[Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1920 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[=:Name:[Name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]]
<[Name:split: :-3] ><[Name:split: :-2]> [=:Surname:[Name:split: :-1:replace:\b(Mc)([a-z]):$1;$2]][surname:split:;:1][surname:split:;:2:capitalize]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab}

[Source.Enumeration District:replace:^0+]{tab*2}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

[Source.Roll:replace:_:-]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1930:

<[?:Dwelling Number]|[=:Dwelling Number]>
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

[=:Residence:[Residence:replace:, USA::l]]

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1930- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [=:Surname:[Name:split: :-1:replace:\b(Mc)([a-z]):$1;$2]][surname:split:;:1][surname:split:;:2:capitalize], <[Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1930 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[=:Name:[Name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]]
<[Name:split: :-3] ><[Name:split: :-2]> [=:Surname:[Name:split: :-1:replace:\b(Mc)([a-z]):$1;$2]][surname:split:;:1][surname:split:;:2:capitalize]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab}

[Source.Enumeration District:replace:^0+]{tab*2}

[Source.Page]{tab}

[Dwelling Number]{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

T626-###{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

1940:

[=:Family Number:[Number of Household in Order of Visitation]]
<[?:Family Number]|[=:Family Number]>
<[?:Residence:split: :2=Ward]|[=:Township Y or N]>

[=:Name:[Name:replace:\bMc :Mc]]

{F4}{SHIFT+TAB} {300}

Census06{fast}{tab*3}

cen1940- [Residence:split:,:-1:abbr:us_states] [Residence:split:,:-2] - [Name:split: :-1], <[Name:split: :-3]>< [Name:split: :-2]>{tab}

1940 U.S. Census{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-2] <[?:Residence:split:,:-1=Louisiana]Parish|Co.>{tab}

[name:replace:\b([a-z])[ ]:$1. ]{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-3:replace:\bWard\b:ward]<[?:Township Y or N=y] Twp.>{tab}

[Residence:split:,:-1]{tab}

[Source.Enumeration District::replace:^0+]{tab}

<[?:Respondent=Yes]head of household|###>{tab}

[Source.Page]{tab}

{tab}

[Family Number]{tab}

M627-[Source.Roll:split:-:-1:replace:^0+]{tab}

image found on Ancestry.com{tab}

National10{tab}

 

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