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  1. #1
    Loves to help with queries emmteeyess's Avatar
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    Default Unfortunate trasnscriptions...

    from the census.
    Having the received wisdom that sometimes 'Dressmaker' was a euphemism for 'prostitue' I wondered if sometimes the good ladies of the night owned up and said their occupation was prostitute, so did a search for the keyword 'prostitute' on Ancestry census records. (random, I know, but I had a few minutes to spare).
    Got 927 hits.
    Some were inmates of institutes and asylums so presumably were listed by their occupation as seen by the overseers. Also noticed that least one institute just listed the inmates by their initials.
    However on the 1911 census in particular there were loads of miss-transcriptions. These must have been done by an optical reader, or print recognition software, and a not very good one at that. Most of the entries were perfectly readable on the originals. Some transcription didn't make sense and some classic examples were unfortunate for the people concerned!

    These 4 from one page
    At Thome ... for At home
    Comes As Ivanclls (micas) ... for Commercial Traveller (Meals)
    Fumelwre Saleman ... for Furniture Salesman
    Prostitute Musician ... for Private Means

    Then on another
    Prostitute Luner ... for Piano Forte Tuner
    School Leacher ... for School Teacher
    Dianrforte Luner ... for Piano Forte Tuner

    Then an unfortunate few
    Prostitute Machinist Missionary ... for Primitive Methodist Minister - (bet that didn't go down well at chapel!)
    Medical Prostitute ... for Medical Practitioner (physician) - (all that studying to end up as a Medical Prostitute)
    Prostitute Machenist ... for a Provision Merchant

    One of the institutes was indexed as the 'Lunatie Ashlum' for Lunatic Asylum.

    There were loads more - try looking yourself for a bit of light entertainment!

    A lot of these transcription are so blatently wrong that they can't have been read or checked by human eye - so what does that say for the transcription of names that we're actually looking for? No the wonder people seem to disappear from the census, and once again it shows we can't rely on transcriptions only for data but need to view the source documents.

    Cheers, MTS

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  3. #2
    Brick wall demolition expert!
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    You've brightened up an otherwise dull afternoon! Thanks.

  4. #3
    Knowledgeable and helpful stepives's Avatar
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    Ireland, but born Buckinghamshire.
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    On a similar theme, but not a profession. There is one that galls me the most.

    Various years of Census for Penn, Buckinghamshire, England.....is the transcription error of PENNSYLVANIA, America.

    I guess this points to whoever, or whatever is doing the transcribing.

    Too many bones, too much sorrow, but until I am dead, there's always tomorrow.

  5. #4
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    Another good one to look at, but not so easy to find are the comments by the Clergy in the Parish Registers. Some of them were very condemning of certain members of their flock and it wasn't just those having childre out of wedlock. I've seen the odd comment regarding drinking habits, intolerance of others and meanness.


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