Transcription errors in Census indexes

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The main online subscription sites (such as ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk) which offer access to the Channel Islands Census returns were carried out by people unfamiliar with Channel Islands surnames. Therefore the quality of the transcriptions can be variable - and can obscure your search for your ancestors.

Some examples that have been found:-

  • De Lisle - found in 1861 Census transcribed as C Lule.
  • Girard - found in 1861 Census transcribed as Giran (findmypast - corrected).
  • Marquand - found in 1861 Census transcribed as Mayward (findmypast - corrected).
  • Langlois - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Longair and Langlirs (findmypast - corrected).
  • Le Poidevin - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Lo Padans.
  • Mauger - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Manger (findmypast - corrected).
  • Ozanne - found in the 1861 Census as Agace and Belshan and in 1901 Census transcribed as Bowen.
  • Priaulx - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Printall (findmypast - rejected)
  • Queripel - found in the 1891 Census transcribed as Qunnfiel.
  • Roussell - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Bonnett.
  • Stranger - found in the 1861 Census transcribed as Shaefer (findmypast - corrected)
  • Jamouneau - found variously as Jamouncan, Samonneau, Pamouneau.

So if you do not find an ancestor that you are reasonably confident was in the Channel Islands on census night, then here are some suggestions:

1. Use of wildcards Instead of typing the full surname, type the first few letters followed by "*". For example, searching on "Jamo*", would have found the surname mistakenly transcribed as "Jamouncan" above. This requires some experimentation, as "Jam*" produces far too many results, as it will include the more common surnames such as James, Jamieson, etc.
2. Use of first name and year of birth only If the person you are searching for had a first name which is not too common, and you have a good idea of year of birth, then it is possible to leave out the surname altogether. For most of the islands, this should not produce too many results, and allow you to browse through a few pages of results, where you should easily spot the mistaken transcription.

If you do come across transcription errors, most sites offer options to report them so that they can improve the transcription for future searchers.

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