Talk:World Archives Project: Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971
From Ancestry.com WikiFeel free to add to or edit information in this discussion tab as necessary. Please take time to become familiar with the General Keying Standards and be sure to read all instructions on the main project page. (Please note that in case of a discrepancy, project level instructions always trump general keying standards.)
Extra Keying Helps
Please Clarify Abbreviations
Please clarify P vs PS dates? -- OHaraHaworth68
- P=Appointed by the President
- P&S-Appointed and confirmed by the Senate
- NB - Notice Bulletin - key names
- NB - New Bond - key names
- Reappt - Reappointed - we do NOT key these unless the name is shown. (updated) -- Wiedwoman 20:11, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
A Tool for Finding Names of Towns and Villages in Each County
I have found an extremely useful tool for running down the correct names and spellings of places in the Postmasters lists, and for deciphering the hard-to-read scribbles, is the GNIS Feature Search at .
Enter the STATE and COUNTY only in the appropriate slots, then check "Populated place" (more inclusive) &/or "Post Office" (more restrictive) in the Feature Class slot. Do not enter anything in the "Feature Name" slot, or you won't get the whole list of everything.
Click Send Query and when the list comes back, click the top of the name column to sort the names. Then click View & Print all right below the list to get all the names in one long page, sorted by name, and easy to scan to (hopefully) find the name you are looking for.
If you want, you can use your browser to search for partial names within the list, such as all the places that have "field" or "mills" in their name. --Collier smith 02:49, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers
1. PLEASE read the instructions before starting the project.
2. Do not start a new section unless you are changing counties.
3. Do not key 1874 if it says 74. Key 74.
- Exception: On Microfilm Target Pages, key expanded years: "Expand year ranges written such as "1832-42" to "1832-1842" (but do not include months, days, "ca." "approx." or any other words). [from Postmasters Wiki page]. (suggested update) -- collier_smith 17:00 UTC - 28 Aug 2011
4. If there are 2 dates in a column, key the earliest date written for that person.
5. On keying the two pages (for different POs on each page) that are side by side, please be sure that both pages are keyed. Key each page from top to bottom. Don't start a new section unless the county changes. There are some images that only show 1 page at a time. (suggested update) -- collier_smith 17:00 UTC - 28 Aug 2011
6. On keying the images that span 2 pages and each PO line continues across to the 2nd page, key across both pages from left to right before moving down to the next line or PO. (suggested update) -- collier_smith 17:00 UTC - 28 Aug 2011
7. Create a new record for each entry (i.e, each name) in the register, even if the Postmaster is the same on several lines.
8. Please be sure to check the list of dates to use in order of preference. "Confirmed" date is the 1st to be listed. If that is not shown on the form than go to the next preferred one until you find the date. Use the following list for keying dates:
- 1. Confirmed
- 2. Comm Signed and Mailed
- 3. Assumed Charge
- 4. Recess or acting
- 5. Nomination date
- 6. If only one date, use that date
updated -- Wiedwoman 20:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
9. Please pay special attention whenever you see an entry has a "P" or "Pres" date and a "P&S" date - especially when split between two lines. For example, at the very end of one line, it says "Pres July 1, 27" and continues on the next line "Reapptd P+S 15 Dec 27". This is important since the instructions say to key P dates before P&S. Some keyers are missing that P date, perhaps missing that date all together or thinking it belongs to the previous name. - Derek 23:04 16 May 2011
11. Key state as seen. If shown as Ga, Ga is what should be keyed. Illinois is not showing in the dictionary so key Illinois and f7 to accept. WAP has decided not to add to dictionary so f7 to accept. -- Wiedwoman 13:21, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Questions and Answers
If you have a keying question that is not answered on the project page or in any of the information above, click “EDIT” and ask it here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.
Q. RE: Postmasters. I am working on an image that spans across 2 pages. In some of the entries there are two dates written, one on the line and one above it. Some are labeled "P", or "P & S" or "Acting". Some are not labeled at all. I know there has been discussions about this but it is very confusing. Do you always enter the earliest date? Or do I follow the order given in the field directions?? Since we see no feedback it is hard to determine if I am doing this correctly.
- A. As I understand it, if there are labeled column headings on the page, follow this order (Confirmed; Commission Signed & Mailed; Assumed Charge; Recess or Acting; Nomination) and enter one date only for each name.
- THEN, if there are NO labeled columns, then use the earliest date shown right after each name that is written out. If a name is written out several times, with different date(s) after each entry, then key that name each time it is written, again with the earliest date that immediately follows it. If the name is identical, and the date is identical, then you do NOT need to key it again. "Identical" here means absolutely the same in every respect, including spelling, initials, prefixes, & suffixes. If there is any variation whatsoever, key it again.
- If you follow these two rules, I think all the discussion of "P&S" or "P" or whatever is unnecessary and beside the point, and merely confuses the situation. (If any of this is wrong, I hope the WAP or someone corrects it; otherwise, I think all the discussion of P&S, P, etc., can be deleted.) --Collier smith 00:19, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Q. I have a single image with 2 NARA Targets on it. One shows a State & County, the other shows a Volume & Year Range. I keyed the first Target in the first Section, and then created a 2nd Section to key the second Target. Did I do this correctly?--Collier smith 00:19, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Q. If a post office is followed by the letters "c h" or "C H" or "(CH)" or "(ch), which I take to indicate a location with a courthouse, usually the county seat, should we key the letters? With or without the parentheses?
Q. RE. Postmasters. I have a postmaster that has the following written by his name: "Returned to duty from military leave 12/31/44. Ret. 7/11/69." Which date do I enter?
- A: Key the earliest date after each name, if you are NOT using the (Confirmed; Commission Signed & Mailed; Assumed Charge; Recess or Acting; Nomination) order. If the military or retirement date is on a page with labelled columns, and you have already entered one of those dates, then ignore the military or retirement date. --Collier smith 00:19, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Q. I have a postmaster with a "Confirmed Date" of Aug 16, 1943, "Commissioned Date" of Sept 10, 1943, and an "Assumed Charge Date" of Oct 1, 1943. According to the Field Help I would enter the "Confirmed Date". Then in the Comments it states: "Pres July 1, 1941". After reading this discussion does this mean I enter the Pres date?
- A: If the line spans across two pages, you will key the earliest date in the column. If the name is not repeated you would not repeat the names or dates. If you are speaking of the names on one page, you will key the confirmed date. -- Wiedwoman 21:35, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
- Q. Should "key the earliest date in the column" actually read "key the earliest date in the line or lines corresponding to the name"?
- You address this issue again below at A: If name is only shown one time you would key name once with earliest date. -- Wiedwoman 17:29, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
- -- Query from collier_smith 04:30 UTC, 3 Sep 2011
Q. I am seeing the letter combination "leo" after the county and throughout the pages. If I key in the county with the "leo" after it, the record gets marked for review. If not, it is accepted. Do I add the "leo"?
- A: Are you sure you are not seeing Co written as cursive that looks like Leo? In any case, I would not key leo. -- Wiedwoman 15:49, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Q: If an appointment has been rescinded, I'm finding that the previous appointment in the log has been re-entered with the previous appointment date. Should I log the entry following the rescinded appointment if it is the same name and date as the one preceing the rescinded appointment?
- A: No. I would only key the name and date once. -- Wiedwoman 21:21, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Q: Every once in a while we run into an instruction like, "Mail to Clarksville" or "Ps to Fort Douglass" followed by a date. Does that mean that following names should be placed in these Post Offices or should we continue with the Post Office posted at the beginning of the line? -- sbloom37
- A: Continue with the post office on that line -- Wiedwoman 17:30, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Q: I just started keying the U.S. Postmasters and I have a record that has the word "Relegated" July 1, 1928, Acting June 1, 1928, and then the date Dec. 14, 1928 right above the acting date. That date has nothing notated with it. My question is which date do I use? Does "relegated" mean the same as "assumed charge"?
- A: Not sure what related means, but I would use the acting date of June 1, 1928. -- Wiedwoman 21:44, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Q: I'm working on one of the U.S. Postmasters images and I have a slight problem. There are some areas that are easily read, but I noticed there are some areas that are extremely light. At first glance, they would appear to be transferred from a facing page, but then I realized that there is a date that, while light, is clearly legible. However, I can't tell if there is a name before the date, or if the illegible words refer to something else, like a closure. Should I still type this date and mark the postmaster name fields as illegible?
- As a side note in reference to the above question, "Relegated" means that you refer to another person for decision or judgement, that someone is demoted, that someone is expelled by offficial decree (like being expelled from your own country), or that something is assigned to a class or kind. Perhaps your postmaster was demoted, or perhaps the decision on whether or not to appoint this postmaster was referred to someone else for the final decision.
- A: You may have one that they have erased information. If not, just fill out best you can. A date is not really good without a postmaster, but someone might be able to make out a name. If the reviewer believes there is no name, the date can be deleted. Too much information is better than not enough. -- Wiedwoman 16:40, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Q1: I'm working on an entry that has no county, Alaska, and the Post Office is "Barge." Directly under that Post Office section is hand-written "Late Hood Bay, Changed 12/23/49, Eff 2/1/50". Just to confirm, I key the PO as Barge and do nothing with the Hood Bay information? (I'm assuming Late = former in this instance)
- A: Key as Barge. -- Wiedwoman 08:32, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Q2: Also, on the same page, the first PM listed is "Mrs. Fern Owens." She is listed again on the next line "Mrs. Fern Owens." However, in the remarks box on the far right of that same line is written "PM'S first name is Gertrude. Nowhere else in the list is there a Gertrude, nor is there a Mrs Lastname. Should I just ignore the Gertrude information?
- A: As there are no alias fields, we would ignore Gertrude as a name. -- Wiedwoman 08:32, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Q: I often run across images which show puctuation marks i.e. Hager's Grove. Should this be entered Hagers Grove or Hager's Grove?
- A: Yes, key with punctuation marks (except for periods) if shown. -- Wiedwoman 22:36, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Q. Should a name of "Colonel C Burnett"; have the Colonel be keyed as a prefix or part of the given name?
- A: I'm assuming Colonel is a rank and would be shown in the prefix column. -- Wiedwoman 04:27, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Q: I have the same question (two names with an ampersand between them and just one date), sometimes but not always with a $ amount written below / on the next line. Also, the first lines of the offces start with a name without dates. The image is about "Kennebeck Co, Me" in the 1830's. A definitive answer would be appreciated here, as I took this to mean that these fields should be omitted. Clarification would be appreciated.
- A: These older images usually show the first postmaster with no date. I would key the name and tab through the date. -- Wiedwoman 21:21, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Q. Re same question: Do I record each of the two names with the same dates? Also, on some of these names it is very difficult to tell which PO it is associated with. Written above a name or below....so much writing it is hard to tell. Any help with this????
- A: First, it is important to record all the names seen. If a single date seems to apply to more than one name, then it would be proper to key that date with all of those names. If there is ambiguity about which name the date applies to, then I would tab through (or mark [Blank}) the Date field for the name(s) that are not clearly associated with that date, and key the date for the most likely name(s). FYI, the names and dates written smaller than the postmasters' names (especially on the early records, from before 1840) are probably people who put up bonds, and the date of the bonds. We are keying them all. --Collier smith 23:59, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Q: I am entering data which contains a number of Spanish surnames. If we encounter a name such as "Jose de Baca", is the surname to be entered as "de Baca" or "Baca" with the "de" as part of the given name? --Stpippa 17:10, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
- A: de Baca is a Surname. the de portion should not be included in the given name.
Q: I just noticed that you say NB (Notice Bulletin) dates should not be keyed. These dates are often several years apart and appear mainly on images from the 19th and early 20th centuries. I've interpreted these to be the same as a "reappointment" which IS entered; Am I wrong?
- A: Per Anna, all names should be keyed (updated) -- Wiedwoman 20:21, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Q: I have a name (entry) written once, followed by several dates such as "Pres", "P", "P&S", "NB" spread across several "columns". Should I key the name once, with the earliest date? Once, with the "P" date? Key the name several times, using each date in some (WHAT) order?
- A: If name is only shown one time you would key name once with earliest date. -- Wiedwoman 17:29, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Q:I have a register where four lines are crossed out and marked "error" or "see some other post office". Should I key these?
- A: Yes each line should be keyed. Per keying guidelines - Should I key crossed out data? If information is crossed out without being replaced, key the crossed-out information. Otherwise, key the replacement information. -- Wiedwoman 21:21, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Q: I have a NARA Target Microfilm Page. The Volume Number and Volume Year Range is listed on the cover sheet but the state and county is not listed. Should I key the state and county from the Register Page (image #2 in the set) or should I mark them as blank?
- A: Do not key the state or county if it is not listed on the image. -- 22:03, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Q: I have an entry stating that Mrs. soandso's name is now Mrs. blanketyblank because of marriage on the date 4/4/44. Do I enter this?
- A: Yes -- Wiedwoman 20:38, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Q: Where would I enter this? I have the same type of entry, but don't see any place to enter this information. Or should I just enter the date after entering the new name?
- A: Just enter the date after the new name. If there is no date, leave date blank. -- Wiedwoman 11:49, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Q: I am keying a page which shows, for example, "Herbert Hughes, acting, 4/11/37" and then the next entry is "Herbert Hughes, 5/1/37" Do I key both?
- A: Yes for every instance of a name it should be keyed, whether there is a date or not. -- Wiedwoman 21:22, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Q: I am keying registers from Alaska. I have two register pages side by side in one image. On the first page the county is blank. On the second page the county is listed as Southeastern. This appears to be a region rather than a county since Alaska has boroughs and none of the boroughs is named Southeastern. Should I create two sections, one where the county is blank and one where the county is Southeastern even though it is not a county? Any help would be greatly appreciated?
- A: I would create two sections and f7 the Southeastern. -- Wiedwoman 21:36, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Q: The Wiki for this project states "Appointment Day
"Key the Day portion of the Date, using the following rules to determine which Date to key:
"(1) If only one date is given for a person, key from that date.
"(2) If columns are not titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person, key the first date written for that person."
Does "first date written" mean the earliest date?
- A: Yes. --Collier smith 00:19, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Q: I have an entry that gives the name and a date, and then has "Declined"written above the name/date, with no additional date information. Then there is a subsequent entry with a different name and a date about 6 months later. Do I key the name and date of the person who declined?
- A: Yes, key every name that is written out on the page, even if it was written out before (with a different date), and even if the name is probably not a postmaster, but rather a bondsman. For each name, key the earliest date that immediately follows (or is immediately above or below) that name. (The only names that don't get keyed are those which are absolutely identical in every respect to a name already keyed AND which have the same date as the name already keyed.)--Collier smith 21:14, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Q: Two entries for the same PO. The first name says Robert L. Richie with the date 6 Dec '98. Above that is written "error in name" and then in the next column is Richard L. Richie with the date 10 Jan '99. As I read it, Richard L. Richie was appointed in December '98, but when they realized the next month they had his name wrong (Robert) they went back and amended the record. Should I key both Robert and Richard with the two dates, or key just Richard one time with the '98 date? Or something else?
- A: In my opinion, both names and dates should be keyed -- let the ultimate user figure it out. I believe the rule at WAP is to key the replacement name if a name is actually crossed out, but here neither is actually crossed out. Also, by keying both names, both of the dates get keyed too, for whatever that is worth.--Collier smith 04:34, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Accessing the data
It's great that this project is finished, but how can Ancestry subscribers view the data via the index? Kathrynskelton 21:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
The collection is available either by searching the card catalog for the word "Postmasters" or via the link below.
--Paulmd199 14:56, 29 April 2013 (UTC)