Census dates built in to software

Oh, yes, let’s hide those facts we never use!

I’ve still got people who appear twice on the same UK census - two locations in same town usually.

Are you able to give an example of this or is it possible that they are two different people with the same name as often happens

I have found quite a few U. S. census entries where whole families are enumerated twice and several weeks apart in different locations. The family simply moved in-between.

It’s not just two different people with the same name. It’s whole families that are repeated with the names and ages of all family members being repeated. The odds against it being whole different families where every family member had the same name and age are astronomical.

I can’t speak to census enumerations outside the U. S. If you could enumerate every single household on exactly the same day then this issue would not be a problem.

In the UK we do - same night actually.

I, also, have examples of people being recorded in multiple places in the same census. One was my father. So, I’m pretty sure that while this is not a common issue it is not a super-rare issue either.

I am reluctant to respond but what started off to be a simple request to make it easier to enter census dates is turning out to be a debate on the census procedures in various countries. I am stunned to read about duplicate entries or more and from now on will not even seek to enter dates for US relatives. Could this mean that no-one actually knows the population of America and please don’t tell me that Trump might be right in his comments re electoral fraud. Thank the Lord that the UK and OZ do something right even if the Aussie voting system leaves a lot to be desired but is 2000% better than the fiasco that occurs in the USA

As far as the UK is concerned, I have come across Census returns for various years where an individual is recorded twice. This is not the result of fraud - it is usually the person giving the information or the enumerator not understanding the “rules”.
This usually happens when an individual is away for a short time - working for example on a barge, they were recorded at home and on the barge. Likewise, people in hospital, visiting relatives etc.

Another glitch than whole families being enumerated twice is students being enumerated twice, once at home with their parents and once away at school. My father had a first cousin who was a nursing student at the time of the 1940 census. She was enumerated with her parents and a second time living in a dormitory at the nursing school.

There were (and are) rules to prevent these kinds of errors. For example, if a baby was born on June 2nd, the official census date was June 1st, and the family was enumerated on June 10th then the baby was not supposed to be counted. The count was supposed to be accurate as of June 1st. But I’m sure that often did not happen. Similarly, if the family was enumerated on May 25th and a person died on May 26th, the person who died was still counted and the enumerator didn’t really make a mistake in this case. But a dead person was counted.

I think that 100% mathematical accuracy is very much impossible. People can be away from home due to work or travel or many other causes. They can even be outside the country. Students can be away from home and living at school. People can be serving in the military. People can be born or die near to the enumeration date. Etc.

And when no one was home, the information probably came from a neighbor who might not have been too clear on dates, birthplaces, etc.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with entering two census facts for the same person for the same year. Just as if you found two conflicting documents regarding a birth or marriage, you would record everything and then build your genealogical proof around the preponderance of the evidence, realizing that your proof is always up for reevaluation based on newly found evidence.

This has been a fascinating insight to the problems we researchers face and having learned that grey areas exist and always will I think it’s time for me to again back away and as Sinatra once sang “I’ll do it my way”. I still have faith that one day the RM programme will be amended to include the official date of each census and this will assist in speeding up the entries and when an alternative date is located for a person then that can be recorded in the notes area.

There is a lottery drawing tomorrow night that is for a prize of nearly $2,000,000,000. I would say my odds of winning a cool $2 billion is about the same as your odds of getting default census dates, somewhere in the vicinity of 1 in 292,000,000. Hopefully one of us will be those odds.

So with 292 million different combinations and tickets cost $2, it would only cost me $580 million to buy all the combinations and assure myself of a win! Probably too late to start now.

When I was much younger I had a friend who would always buy 2 lottery tickets with exactly the same numbers on them. When I questioned his logic he said that if his numbers came up and somebody else played them too, he’d get 2/3 of the pot and the other guy would only get 1/3.

Some logic you just can’t argue with.

A good point and one I hadn’t considered as I’m mostly looking for UK census info which could be programmed in. I do have rellies in Canada and Australia etc but tend to look up the date each time. Maybe a country code could precede the year date e.g. UK 1921, but as some of the responders to my initial query believe I have a snowballs chance in hell of getting RM to consider this then I think we are all stuck with the existing system.

Personally, I think the snowball has a better chance than the default date. :slightly_smiling_face:


The answer to your original question lies in a ‘programing’ effort, but you do not have to wait for RM to do the programming for you. You can easily do it yourself.

My first rule of Source Citations: Never use a built in Source Template. They can never be modified to meet your needs. ALWAYS make a COPY of a built in Template. Use it as is if it meets your needs today. Modify it if it does not meet your needs tomorrow.

If you make a different Source Template for each country and year, you can either ‘hard-wire’ the date in the template output text OR include a date field but set the census date as the ‘default’ for the field. That way you can enter nothing for the date and it will output the default date. Alternatively, you can enter whatever date you wish and it will ‘override’ the default.




Even as a user of American censuses which are in years divisible by 10, I have census records for special U.S. censuses which are in other years and for state censuses which are in other years. So I’m not sure how a country code solves anything.

I’m perfectly happy entering the census year into the Census fact, even though I do use a custom Census fact for each census year instead of the standard Census fact. Just as a reminder, the problem I’m solving by doing it that way is that RM’s user interface has no way to do a search or make a group or color code in such a way that multiple criteria such as a date and a place are guaranteed to be applied to the same fact if there are multiple instances of the same fact type for the same person.

Thanks for the suggestion. Not being very cluey when it comes to changing set systems or creating new alternatives, I would much appreciate it if you were able to give more details. All I want to achieve is to click on “add fact”, then Census, type in UK 1841etc. and for the full date to magically appear. Not interested in the complex problems of the US.
On another matter, does anyone working at RM actually read the suggestions/solutions/problems raised in these “Chats” and get involved in the responses?

I can’t picture filing in the census year for year specific Census facts ever happening. What RM supports is the standard Census fact that covers all census years instead of the custom year specific Census facts that some of us use. I would much rather the problems with the standard Census fact be fixed than that I have to have year specific Census facts. But I doubt that will ever happen.

I’m not sure if the RM folks understand the problems with the standard Census fact that the year specific Census facts solve. But I’m sure they do read these forums and also the Facebook group. They do respond occasionally.

The 1880 census in St Louis is a good example of families being recorded twice–all families-- and they didn’t move as far as I can tell BUT most didn’t list exact addresses-- it drove me nuts when I first found it as one of my ancestors has a unique 1st name-- 2 entries-- exact same numbers of kids and names all the same except they had Herman for the oldest boy in one and Henry in the other-- almost all the ages were off by a year and dad’s occupation was different ( porter/ liquor salesman) or so I thought-- next door neighbors different-- so I was thinking there were 2 families with the same name until years later when I started comparing all the neighbors and finding out they were all nearby in each census-- ends up both were for my ancestor — this was over 15 years ago-- it wasn’t until last year that I accidentally ran across the very 1st page of one of the enumerations and it was marked as NOT ACCEPTED— for some reason they took the census and it was rejected-- so they started all over again-- so instead of there being 880 SCHULTES in St Louis, in 1880, there were only 440…