UK, England and Wales—1871 Census for Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, and Shropshire


Project-Specific Indexing Instructions



Sample Images

Account for Every Record on the Page

  • Each census form has up to 25 entry lines. A census taker may not have recorded information on all 25 lines, but each record line on the form must be accounted for. 
  • When a record is blank in the middle of the census form, be sure to skip the record.  Mark all skipped records as blank at the end of the batch. Click here to see a census form on which entry lines were left blank.
  • To mark an entry line as blank:
    1. On the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Select Mark Field or Record.
    3. Select Mark Record Blank.

                   Or

    1. Press Ctrl+Shift+B.
  • Please remember to index all records in the order they appear on the page, regardless of line numbers. Do not mark records (or entry lines) as blank until the end of the batch.
  • In some cases, the census taker may have written more than 25 records on a census form. If a form has more than 25 records, you will need to add additional entry lines in the data entry area to match the actual record.
    1. On the menu bar, click Tools, and then click Records per image....
    2. Type the total number of records on the page, or click the up or down arrow to select the number of records on this image.
    3. Click OK.

How to Index Places

  • When a place-name has been misspelled and you are sure of the correct place that is referred to, spell the name correctly.
  • When a place-name has been abbreviated and you can determine what the abbreviation stands for, type the complete name instead of the abbreviation.
  • Use the lookup lists for assistance. However, if you are not sure what the locality should be, type the name of the place as it was written on the census.
  • If a race or nationality was recorded in any of the place of birth fields, index only the place of birth. For example, "Nor Norwegian" would be indexed as "Norway."

How to Index Ages

  • Index only full years. If fractions of years were recorded, round down to the nearest full year. If less than one year was recorded or the child was stillborn, index the age as 0 (zero).
  • Do not index descriptive words, such as "abt" or "full age."

What to Index from the Previous Image

  • The head of the household and other members of a household may be recorded on the image previous to the one you download. The surname and the schedule number may have been written only once for the first member of the household and may be located on the previous image. Both the surname and the schedule number need to be repeated for each family member.
  • If the census taker began recording a household at the bottom of the previous census page and continued at the top of the page you are indexing, you should be able to find the surname or schedule number from the previous image by viewing the previous image:

    1. On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click View.
    2. Click Show Previous or Next Image.
    3. In the window that appears, click the Previous Image button.
    4. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the last surname or schedule number on the previous image.
    5. Type the surname and schedule number for each person in the household on the page you are indexing.
    6. Return to normal view by clicking View and then Show Previous or Next Image.

How to Use Highlights and the Ruler

  • Highlights are available for this project.
  • If highlights do not appear on your image and you want to use them:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Show Highlights. If Show Highlights is turned on, that option will have a check mark next to it.
  • The highlights may not line up with the image. To adjust the highlights to fit the image:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Adjust Highlights.
    3. Move the cursor over the image, and all highlights will appear.
    4. To adjust the highlights, click on and drag an indexing field or a corner of the red outline to the proper location.
  • Adjusting highlights may be tricky. Click the following link for more detailed instructions on how to do it. A key to successfully aligning the highlights with the fields is to first adjust the red outline to encompass the area where the fields are located and then to move the indexing fields to the proper locations. Click here to see instructions for adjusting highlights.
  • You may choose to use the ruler. If so, please be aware that the ruler is not anchored to the indexing screen and does not automatically move as you move to a new entry. To see the ruler, follow these steps:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Select Show Ruler.
  • To move the ruler or adjust the width of the ruler:
    1. To move the ruler, position the mouse pointer over the ruler bar. When the pointer turns into a four-pointed arrow, click and hold either mouse button, and then drag the pointer up or down to move the ruler.
    2. To adjust the width of the ruler, position the mouse pointer at the top or bottom edge of the ruler bar. When the pointer turns into a two-pointed arrow, click and hold either mouse button, and then drag the pointer up or down to adjust the width of the ruler.

Handwriting Helps

  • Most of these records are handwritten. The handwriting help on the data entry screen may help you decipher the handwriting.
  • To access this help, on the toolbar just above the data entry area, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill.)