Re: Righting a wrongly enumerated name in census

Lorna Craig

I’m afraid there is no way of getting the original census record changed.  If you think there has been a (modern) transcription error when the census household was indexed by one of the genealogy websites you can submit a correction to them, but if the image of the original record shows that it does say CHIP that cannot be changed.


It was not uncommon for names to be recorded incorrectly by a census enumerator, either because he (it would have been a he) was not good at spelling or because the name itself was unfamiliar, as in this case.  I have found as many as a dozen different spellings of some names.  In the case you have described it was probably just the enumerator’s own guess at the spelling, but bear in mind also that the ‘accepted’ spelling of a name may have evolved over time, and individuals themselves sometimes chose to change their names slightly, especially if they wanted to ‘anglicise’ a foreign name.  As a genealogist your role is to record faithfully what has been written in the original records and then, if appropriate, record why you think person X is really person Y, under a slightly different name.  


There are various ways of searching for people who seem to be ‘missing’ because names have been recorded wrongly.  Surnames can be searched with the use of ‘wild cards’ or ‘variant spellings’.  If that doesn’t work you can often have success by searching for someone with a particular forename and age range and birth place. 


In Family Historian you can add alternate names by clicking on ‘more...’ to the right of the name in the Property Box.  Alternate names can be included in reports and diagram text schemes in addition to the primary name.  So I would keep the primary name as SHIPP but add an alternate name of CHIP.   When you record the 1891 census use the note field for the fact to say they family name was ‘Chip’ in this census.





From: Lester Gilbert
Sent: 27 October 2020 09:54
Subject: [family-historian] Righting a wrongly enumerated name in census


Apologies if this has been explained before, but can't find the topic currently.

Family SHIPP, recently arrived from Poland in 1890 in Whitechapel, London, were enumerated in the 1891 census as CHIP.  Entirely understandable, but as a result they were lost to view for quite some time (smile).  Two questions, please.

How might I go about getting the official census record changed?

How might I record this information in Family Historian?  I'd like to keep the references to CHIP, and the link to the official census record, as prominent as possible to help others in their search, but want to name my ancestors correctly as SHIPP.  (A little wrinkle is that the 1901 census enumerated the family, still in Whitechapel, as SHIP, I guess Emanuel's diction had improved a little, but I've fudged that, I'm guessing most searchers will know to search SHIP and SHIPP....)



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