Talk:1870 U.S. Census
You also have to remember, that in the South (especially after the Civil War) no one trusted the Government or Government Agents. A lot of info on the 1870 Census came from neighbors or other sources.
Transcriber's error in 1870 census (as an example of needs for additional corrections from members on all census records).
There is a transcriber's error for the 1870 Census for Chester Township, Wabash County, Indiana. On a particular page which happens to contain my family, everyone on the page has been transcribed as being mulatto. When I first saw this page I by-passed my family because I knew they were counted as White.
Eventually I was convinced that my family did show up on this page and I examined the image of the record. I can understand how the transcriber made this error, the "W" at the top of the page is carelessly written and can easily be mistaken for an "M;" all the remaining entries are listed by ditto marks, giving a transcriber count of 40 mulattoes on the page. Another item on that page indicates that the transcription must be in error. At the bottom of the page, a summary lists 1 colored male and (blank) colored females for that enumeration to that point. Also "C Suckler" is listed as having been born in "Wurtemberg;" one would be very curious about a "mulatto" having been born in Germany.
My concern about this error in transcription is that it makes it difficult for researchers to find their families. Since there are numerous ENUMERATOR errors on the page, finding the correct people is hard enough. Luckily Ancestry has made it possible for me to add an annotation that "C Suckler" and other "Suckler"s on the page are truly Stricklers; but there is no mechanism to suggest the error in the transcription of "W" as "M." Genealogists searching for Kircher, Strickler, Werrell, Marshall, Ebbenhouse (should be Ebbinghaus), Wade, Eliot, or Wood will waste time on these listings if they are searching for non-whites or miss them if they are searching for whites.
We need some mechanism for adding corrections of this type to the search engine. I have addressed this question to ancestry.com on more than one occasion. They don't seem to understand my concern. Perhaps a discussion here will call this to the proper attention.
Census searches are extremely valuable in placing families in the proper locations and in locating nearby relatives and friends. But census records are full of errors. And transcribers create additional errors. (NOTE: I believe transcribers do a great job, but errors are inevitable, because of the basic document.) We need to suggest possible errors for ANY DATA which shows up in the search engine.