Talk:World Archives Project: California Railroad Employment Records

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Feel 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

Old 1860's Employment Records that show signatures

This 1864 file has signatures on some of the men on the right hand side of the document. It is acceptable to use a signature when a name on the left such as Wm is signed William. If it is signed by someone else, you may want to use the name on the left side. But the ones that are actually signed by the person should be correct, as they mostly know how to sign their names. Wiedwoman 23:05, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

See Example

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

Please remember to:

1. Replace the "&" with the word "and".
2. Key the occupations
3. Payroll period 1-15 is keyed as the 15. Please key the last date of the two dates given.
4.  Please do not key periods after initials, abbreviations and in the occupation field. 

Payroll Examiner

Do not list the payroll examiners name listed at the bottom of the payroll forms. -- Wiedwoman 00:54, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Keying 2-page Payroll forms

Names should not be keyed from the second page - per Anna -- Wiedwoman 01:02, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

The first page in the image is usually the right side page. This page is 'continued from previous image'. There will be no names keyed from the right sided page as these are deductions.

The second image is the left side page and would be keyed as 'continues onto next image'. The date will usually be blank. Please key names and occupations. -- Wiedwoman 17:09, 2 May 2011 (UTC) Example - Right side of Page
Example - Left side of Page

Just a note that I am now seeing left pages first (with names,occupations) and 2nd page is right hand side of page. -- Wiedwoman 14:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Keying Other Date Payroll forms

Right side of page will be classed as other, no information usually to key. Left side of page, list name, date and occupation, if shown.

Example - Right side of Page
Example - Left side of Page

Payroll pages that are Receipts

These should be keyed as a payroll page.
Payroll Page

Errors shown on Cal RR Payroll

Example of reviewed set

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.

Expand Occupations

Q: I just came across an occupation that is listed as Yd Engr yet the drop down list only had expanded occupations.

A: Key the occupation as seen. F7 to accept. There will probably be more that are NOT in the list than in the list. -- Wiedwoman 17:57, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

I am probably am getting counted down for not typing Do but, to me, because DO and DO DO means ditto. If we're not to type the " marks and repeat the last occupation, isn't it correct to do the same when the DO and DO DO is used?

Section #s

Q: If names are listed under a section number, do we need to key in blank entries for that line so that the record numbers for names correspond in the image and in the entries or do we continue to key names as if the "SECTION #" line isn't present on the image?

A: Do not key blank entries. Skip the section number lines. -- Wiedwoman 04:35, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Duplicate Names on Payroll

Q: On images like this do you want the duplicate lines keyed? On some images they will show a person on two lines with different occupations. I know those should be keyed if they show different occupations. But these are showing same occupations.

A: From Anna: Just once per page. We don’t need them multiple times. June 30, 2010 -- Wiedwoman 12:32, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

See Example

Q: On an image the first half of the pay period has R Werderman and the second half of the pay period has Robt Werderman. These are on the same page. Should I key them as 2 separate records or key as Robt Werderman?

Locations listed

Q: How should records where there are odd entries in the occupation field be keyed?

A: Per Anna - I would leave the occupation field blank. -- Wiedwoman 00:10, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

See Example

Names with #'s

Q: Surname problem: in the surname column is only a number preceeded by a pound sign. How should this be keyed?

A: You would key as first name only with surname blank. Such as S N #39 would be keyed: Given: S N 39 and Surname: Blank. We haven't figured out what these numbers stand for. Maybe a Chinese that had no name or maybe a section number where they worked? --Wiedwoman 23:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)


Q: Names column has Chinese names, Occupation column has English names - no occupation listed. How do I key this record? Just the Chinese names, then continue with the English names. Ignore the English names. Help please. Thanks.

A: These are 1860's era forms. We should probably key the Chinese names and then continue with the English names (revised answer). I think the English names are their supervisors. Remember not to key company names. -- Wiedwoman 12:38, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Q: I have a form that says "Recapitulation" at the top. Then, in the name column, there are what appear to be the names of locations. Examples: Artesia, Brea, Compton, etc. There is nothing in the occupation column. How should I key it? How do you key dittos (sometimes ", sometimes "do", sometimes do, or check marks, etc. Do you just repeat the word it's referencing? -Sarah

A: Use a payroll form on the ones that just show payroll totals. Input date and then submit. -- Wiedwoman 23:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Blank lines on payroll forms

Q: I was reading when there are blank lines between information we are to ignore those? An example would be when there is a title on the first line before the names and occupations occur. I just want to confirm that this is correct. Unless I am missing something, I have reread the instructions for this project and cannot find anywhere where this is discussed. If a red line is drawn through someones name are they to be entered?

A: Ignore blank lines, but use the occupations for the lines following it. If a name is crossed out and not replaced we are to key the name. This is in the general keying guidelines. -- Wiedwoman 23:59, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Q: The payroll lines are numbered 1-30, if lines 15 & 16 are blank, we ignore those lines and continue with the data entry? So instead of 30 lines of data entry with 15 & 16 blank, we would have 28 keyed lines 1-28?

A: That is correct. --Paulmd199 18:43, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

How to key payroll pages that include businesses, list of deductions, recapitulation and furloughed for war personnel

See Example
See Example

Do not key business names. Classify as payroll page, with only the header filled in. -- Wiedwoman 03:12, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
If you see names of furloughed for war, these names would be keyed. -- Wiedwoman 15:00, 20 April 2011 (UTC)


Q: Do we include the numbers preceding the actual job? i.e. 7 Trkwalker -- 09:06, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

A: No -- Wiedwoman 16:14, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

See Example

Q: Do we key the word "overtime" in the occupation or it that just the payrate?

A: No -- Wiedwoman

Q: Do we key the word "do" in the occupation field or copy the occupation from previous record?

A: No, key the occupation from the occupation from the previous record (F3) -- Wiedwoman 23:28, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Q: If the occupation islisted as Sec Stkpr Sec 1 2 4, do we key the entire entry or just Sec Stkpr?

A: I would only key Sec Stkpr. -- Wiedwoman 15:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Q: I have a document where there are no occupations listed. But above the first name on the list, in the occupation column, it says "Trainman". There are no ", or do in the following occupation fields. Do I just leave the occupation blank for everyone?

A: If is it showing in the occupation column, I would key all the persons as trainman. -- Wiedwoman 17:54, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Q: How do we key 2 occupations for the same person if there is no & present? How do you know that there are 2 different occupations?

A: If it were listed as Clerk and then Typist under it, it would be keyed Clerk Typist. -- Wiedwoman 17:52, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Q: The payroll image I'm working on states in the header that the occupation for the employees listed is "Conductors". Should I key in "Conductors", "Conductor", or leave the field blank in the occupation field of the employees?

California Railroad Employment Records

Q: I understand that if an individual has two occupations that we are to simply put "and" between them.

A: Do not add the word And unless specifically listed on the occupation -- Wiedwoman 23:01, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Q: One individual had 3 occupations, two of them were 3rd and 4th Operator. The occupation box would not allow two numbers. What would you advise here? Do we input the name twice and put the two numbered occupations as separate entries OR simply delete one of the numbered occupations?

A: Use the F12 key to allow typing of numbers into the line at the top of the box and then click "ok". Key multiple occupations on one line. -- Wiedwoman 12:52, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Q: The paylist I'm working on shows the occupation for the first name while all subsequent names have ditto marks for the occupation--EXCEPT a name in the middle of the page which has the digit 2 for the occupation.  I've verified that typewriters of that period had ditto marks as the shift character for the number 2, so the 2 is very likely an error.  How should I enter the occupation for the name that has the 2; and all folllowing names that still show ditto marks for the occupation?

A: Key as if it was a ditto. -- Wiedwoman 14:45, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Q: How do I key a payroll day that is listed on the document as "1st Period"?

A: Day will be left blank. -- Wiedwoman 00:24, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Q: Given name is "Robt." and I would assume that is short for Robert, do I put abbreviated name or Robert?

A: Key as Robt. Do not expand names (or occupations). -- Wiedwoman 18:43, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Q: I have come across a writer who has W, next to it is a " and above the ditto is a small letter n. What does this mean?

A: Are you saying given name is W"n? Key as Wn. Could be Washington, but key as seen. -- Wiedwoman 14:31, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Q: At the top of some of the payroll pages it gives the name of a supervisor. The one I'm looking at now reads, "For Services rendered in the M. of W. Department, under the direction of W. F. TURNER DIVISION ENGINEER." Turner's name and occupation are stamped in red. Should I key him as well as the employees listed below with pay details?

A: We do not key names that are in the upper section, nor at the bottom of the payroll sheet. -- Wiedwoman 14:39, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Q: Instead of a day some of the payrolls I'm seeing have 'second period' stamped over the '.... to ....' slots at the top of the page. Should we be leaving the day field blank or entering the last day of the relevant month (e.g. 31 if it's July)? Haven't seen any 'first period' ones yet but in this case would it be 'blank' or '15' we should enter?? 

A: If there is no day listed it should be left blank. -- Wiedwoman 14:20, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Class of Service

Q: I am working on a Payroll Record that has a column Class of Service (See Note). The Note says: Indicate Class of Service by using one of the following symbols: F = Freight P = Passenger L = Local H = Helper M = Mixed W = Work S = Switch D = Deadhead B = Back-up CR = Coal Run

This payroll record does not have an occupation column. Is this the occupation? If it is do I input the codes shown for the payee such as F P and W? Or do I input as Freight Passenger and Work?