Beware of Ditto marks

Discussion in 'Research Hints' started by GrannyBarb, May 26, 2017.

  1. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    Lower Alabama, USA
    It pays to look at the original document. I have had two instances now where a transcribed record was a very close match, but one essential "fact" didn't match.

    The first was a marriage register in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The couple, my gr-gr-grandparents were married in Taunton, MA, but the register column showed a ditto (") mark. At the top of the page does say Taunton. A few rows down another couple was corrected to read Providence, Rhode Island, thus changing the location for those below as well. :(

    Recently, researching for a friend, the 1880 census for Kemper County, Mississippi, the lazy enumerator used dittos extensively, or just left lots of blanks! In this case, the family matched exactly except for the "Race" column. Suddenly my friends grandfather and his parents and grandparents are 'B' for Black! Fortunately, the youngest sibling is at the top of the next page and is correctly listed 'w' for white. For days I did not consider this family unit in the search results because of this problem, until I looked at the images for the original.

    Darn dittos!
    Bonzo Dog, Ma-dotcom, Sis and 5 others like this.
  2. mikejee

    mikejee Well-Known Member

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    Personally I consider the only use of transcriptions to be to allow an index to be made. This again may contain errors, but at least the errors are only in the names you are looking for, and as long as you eventually find the correct name , you can yourself evaluate the details
  3. gillyflower

    gillyflower Always caring about others

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    Lincoln, Lincolnshire England
    Yes unfortunately it seems some of the enumerators were quite lazy! it does pay to check if you can. :(:)
    GrannyBarb and Sis like this.

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