†††† When I began the
project to transcribe the 1860 federal census of Copiah County, MS, I was using
page copies taken from a microfilm reel at the local library.† That copy was of poor quality so I purchased
a copy on a CD from S-K publications.†
As part of that purchase agreement, S-K Publications furnished the page
images of the census, and they are on the Copiah County Web page.† This transcription is for ease of use in
locating people of interest and undoubtedly contains errors so people should
always refer to the original.
†† The census was
taken by E. A. Peyton during the time period June to October 1860.†† The writing, as can be seen, was quite
legible making my project much easier. When anyone begins a transcription
project, a decision must be made as to how to handle apparent errors.† One can transcribe every letter and number
just as they are or make changes as required. This author made the following
changes:† The columns were rearranged to
show the last name first.† I find this
much easier to scan visually.† I used
the current postal abbreviations to show state names.† For those who may not remember, there did not use to be a
standard abbreviation and great latitude was given to authors. I typed out the
full first names.† Mr. Peyton used
abbreviations such as: Daníl, Benj, Richíd, Jhn, etc.† I used an Excel spreadsheet format because I find it much easier
to work in that format. I entered the page number of the census on each line. †Since this is taken from a microfilm roll,
the numbers start with 773 and end with 960. †I find this much easier to use rather than having to refer to the
top of the page or scroll over to the far right hand of the page.† I donít think any of these changes affect
the accuracy of the transcription.
††† There are other issues
that are more challenging. Mr. Peyton apparently recorded the original data on
one document and then transcribed that to the pages shown.† In so doing there are cases where he got a
column of data on the wrong line so that the name and age are not of the same people.
When you show a 3 year old child as a farmer with a net worth of thousand of
dollars, there is a clue to a problem. †This is most clearly seen on page 917, but they are others cases
also.† I decided in the cases where I
could that I would correct these obvious errors. That means on that page there
will be a least one name with no age given. They are also cases where the
family name was misspelled. The question then becomes obviously what is the
standard by which you set the correct spelling. I lived in Copiah County for a
number of years and went to school with the descendents of a number of the
people listed. So I have used the spelling they used.† They are only a few of these changes: Guynes, Izard, etc.† All of these issues make it even more
important that the user refer to the original document.
†††† As Mr. Peyton
got closer to the end of the task he was less precise in his handling of the
data. He tended to use initials rather than full names and was not as careful
in column alignment. He also, as an attempt to introduce humor into his task,
entered some characters from Don Quixote into the census.† I have left these in the transcription.† All in all Mr. Payton, who was assistant
Marshal for the county, did an excellent job.†
This is by far better than some census data I have transcribed.
†† There were 7,442
people listed in Copiah County in this census. That does not of course include
African-Americans who were not listed by name at that time.
††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Larry