These notes are intended for anyone considering submitting data for inclusion in the Census, Parish and Other Records section of this site. These notes should only be considered as guidelines. The most important thing is to transfer the data in a format I can read. If all the following is gobbledygook, just email me and let me know how you store your data currently and we'll work out the easiest way to get the data to me.
FILE TYPESThe type of file you send depends on what program you have used to store your census data. Most people will probably have stored their data in either a spreadsheet program or a word processor.
The resulting file will be much smaller than the spreadsheet file, cannot transmit viruses, which spreadsheet files can, and can be processed whether or not I have the same spreadsheet program.
Again, this is better than the native file format of your word processor, for reasons of portability, safety and economy of size.
It is a good idea to compress the file you plan to send. Compression obviously makes the file much smaller which means it take less time to transfer the file by email. Compression also ensures that the various email programs which will process the file as it goes from you to me, will not mangle the formatted contents of the file containing your census data. I can handle most types of compression formats - ZIP files from Windows, StuffIt Files from Apple Macs and tar and gzip files from Unix environments.
If you can compress your file before sending it then please do so. If you can't, don't worry - send the file containing your census data uncompressed as an email attachment. (See below.)
The first thing to be said is the I don't really mind how the data are laid out in the file, providing the format is consistent, so that I can modify one of my existing formatting programs to process the data in my file.
There are several different ways the data can be laid out. Any of these are acceptable.
Here is an example of a tab-delimited format file, produced from a spreadsheet.
represents the TAB character. If you view a text file, the tab characters are not displayed, but are translated to the number of spaces required to move to the next tab position.
Note that all lines contain five TAB characters, irrespective of the number of fields. While this is not necessary, it is the usual way the files are saved. The example shows two households. The first household starts with the first row and the fields in the first row are the census place and the reference number of the dwelling.
The next six lines are the individuals living in the household. Each row contains the fields:- Name, Relationship to the Head of the Family, Condition (Marital Status), Age, Occupation and Place of Birth.
There is a blank row between the first and the second households. This blank line is not necessary, because the start of a new household can be inferred from the absence of data in the last four fields.
Here's a slightly different example.
This is a delimited file, but here the delimiter is the end-of-line. The first record starts with the first line of the above example, which reads DYCHURCH LANE and ends with the sixth line, which contains a single Y. The first three fields, or lines in the above example, define the Location of the household and the next 2 fields the Name of the occupant. Next is Age, then Occupation and finally if they were born in the census county.
Note the last record for Thomas Wykes. Because his occupation is not given there is a blank line. If this line were omitted it would be difficult to decide where one record starts and another ends.
Note how each field occupies the same amount of space on each line, so that fields are arranged into columns.
Here, the tags are separated from the data by a colon character (:). Because each field is labeled by its tag, there is no need to include a record where the value is blank, but if blank fields are included, that's still OK.
SENDING THE FILE
Once you have extracted your data and perhaps compressed the file you need to send it to me. The best way to do this is as an email attachment, rather than pasting the file into an email. Sending the file as an attachment will preserve any formatting which may be lost during a paste operation.
Please send the file to email@example.com , together with the following information:-