Notes from Kathy Grace, Programs for Census Transcription
Centrans Instructions and Help
On the opening screen, click on the year and select the one you need from the list. 1900i and 1910i are for Indian census done those years. 1900ak is for Alaska.
To enlarge the screen: On the bottom left hand corner of the screen is the number 100, to enlarge, click on the second icon after the number. To reduce it again, click on the first icon. You can then use the maximize button on the window to fill the screen.
The header: Fill in the header with as much information as possible from the header at the top of the census page. For years prior to 1850 there may not be much information available, but use what you can. There is no need to fill in the reference field, and only fill in the proofreader field if the transcription has been proofread.
It is very important to fill in the stamped page no. blank with a unique number. The number should be stamped on the pages of the census, but if there is not a stamped number (prior to 1850 and sometimes after), use the page number in this blank.
To start transcribing:
(1) You move from field to field by using the tab key.
(2) Fill in the line number and the dwelling and family numbers (if this applies).
(3) At the sex field, a dropdown menu will appear, type the letter M or F and hit enter.
(4) At the race field you will get a dropdown menu, type the letter you need and hit enter.
(5) If the year you are working on includes a marital status field, the same applies, except for the 1910 census where many enumerators designated M1 or M2 to designate the number of the marriage. These are no available from the dropdown menu and the menu is not editable so these will have to be entered. When the menu drops down you will need to hit the Backspace key and then enter the value.
(6) Besides the marital status dropdown, all of the other dropdown menus can be edited. To edit a dropdown menu, click on the edit on the menu. A window will open showing the values in the menu, delete the ones you won't be using, add the ones you think you will use. It is helpful if there are no blank lines at the beginning of the menu. The menus can be edited at any time so if you find you are regularly finding an occupation or state that isn't on the menu, it can be added.
(7) Use the dropdown menus as you did in the sex and race fields, when the menu appears, select the first letter of the word you want and press enter. If more than one entry starts with the same letter, you can hit the letter again and it will move down the list.
(8) If an entry is unique and isn't added to the dropdown menu, you need to hit the backspace and enter the information.
To navigate around the page:
(1) Under the Centrans menu at the top of the screen are shortcut keys that can be used to make transcribing easier.
(2) Ctrl+1 is used if the dwelling and family numbers are the same (the same family), it fills in the next line number the dwelling and family numbers, the surname and the place of birth. It may be necessary to change the surname or place of birth.
(3) Ctrl+2 changes to the next dwelling number. This is used in conjunction with Ctrl+1. If you have a new dwelling, you use the Ctrl+1 to go to a new line and the Ctrl+2 to change the dwelling and family numbers to the next ones.
(4) Ctrl+3 will change the family number. This is used in conjunction with Ctrl+1. If you have a new family number (multiple families in the same dwelling), you use the Ctrl+1 to go to a new line and the Ctrl+3 to change the family number to the next one.
(5) When finished transcribing a page and going on to the next, use the Ctrl+4 key. This will maintain all of the header information except the Page, be sure to change the Stamped Page No.
(6) The other shortcuts can be used to move between fields.
(7) From the sheet field, if you want to go to the page index you can either use the Ctrl+8 shortcut, click on the drop at the top of the left hand column and select Page or go to the bottom of the screen and select Page index.
Please be aware that most of the choices listed under the menu options File, Edit, View, Insert, and Format are not used with Centrans. Particularly DO NOT USE the save copy as under the File menu. This saves in a format that cannot be read by the people posting the files.
Finishing your transcription: When you are finished with an ED or a district or township and want to submit it
for posting, you need to create a DBF file. To do this go to the page index and select the Create DBF button at the
bottom of the screen. NOTE: For Macintosh users, instead of a
button, the CenTrans menu bar under the word "Centrans" has a drop down
listing for "Create DBF" which is active while on the transcription
Sheets pages. If you have created a DBF for a previous submission and
have not deleted the Page Index for that previous transcription, using
the Sheets page menu item "Create DBF" will recreate the older DBF
instead of creating a new one.
Caution Macintosh users: Do not create the DBF from the transcription
SHEETS menu. Open your CenTrans Mac folder and select the "Lines"
listing for the year in which you have been transcribing. For Example
"Lines 1900.USR" if you are transcribing within the 1900 census. This
will create a "People Index". Finally, from the PEOPLE INDEX page,
select "Create DBF" under the Centrans heading in the menu.
You will be prompted for where you want to save the file and for the file name. Please make the file name descriptive.
Examples: 1880MAAndoverED92 or 1850DodgeWiEmmett. You can use spaces in your descriptions. Save the file and forward
it to the project for posting. Do not delete this file until you have received notification that it is online.
Starting a new transcription: To delete the pages that you have saved in a DBF file from the Centrans software, from the page index, go to the Records menu and select Delete all records. You can then create a new page by selecting the Create New Page button at the bottom of the screen.
NOTE: The older virson 1.0b8w is also covered in this tutoral. You will find notes for that verison in
yellow highlited areas.
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