US—1860 Federal Census


Project Instructions



Please Read the Instructions

  • Please read these project instructions carefully before indexing any batches.
  • Review this page and the field helps frequently for updates to these instructions.
  • Click here for a summary of project updates.

What to Index in This Project

  • Census forms from other census years may be mixed in with the returns for this project. If you download a census return from another census year, do not index it. If the image shows only a census form from a different census year, mark the image as a No Extractable Data Image.
  • Do not index Agriculture Schedules, Marriages, Deaths, or Additional Inquiries about Officers or Enlisted Men. Mark these schedules types as a No Extractable Data Image.
  • Some images show just one page; other images show two pages. Be sure to check for a second page.
  • Index only the names that were listed on the Population Schedules. Do not index the names of census takers or supervisors that may have been written on census forms.

Blank Entry Lines

  • Each census form has up to 40 entries. If an entry line on the form has no data to be indexed, skip it, and index the next entry line. DO NOT mark any entry lines as blank until the end of the batch.
  • To mark an entry line as blank, press Ctrl+Shift+B, or do the following:
    1. In the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Select Mark Field or Record.
    3. Click Mark Record Blank.
  • In some cases, the census taker may have written more than 40 records on a census form. If a form has more than 90 records, please add entry lines in the data entry area to match the number of records on the image. To add entry lines:
    1. In the menu bar, click Tools.
    2. Click Records per Image.
    3. Click in the Number of records box, and type the total number of records on the page.
    4. Click OK.

Damaged Pages

  • Some census pages may be damaged, and some entries may be unreadable or partly unreadable.
  • If a name is readable or partly readable, index the record, including as much information as is visible.
  • If a name is not readable or partly readable, skip to the next census entry; DO NOT mark the entry line as unreadable or blank.

Multiple Names on a Census Entry Line

  • Sometimes after a name was recorded, other individuals were referred to in addition to the main person whose name was listed on the record, such as "James Brown and Mother" or "James Brown and Brothers." Do not create additional records or index information about these other individuals, unless a name was given for them, such as "James and John Brown." In this case, index separate records for James Brown and John Brown.

Highlights and the Ruler

  • Highlights are not available for this project
  • The ruler is available. If you choose to use the ruler, 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:
    1. In the menu bar, click View.
    2. Select Show Ruler.

Handwriting Helps

  • Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher difficult handwriting.
  • To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (an inkwell with an orange feather quill).

Additional Information