APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2007-07 > 1184196933
From: "Phil Adderley" <>
Subject: [APG] Dittos vs. Placeholders
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 18:35:33 -0500
I am curious whether any have run across the use of tick marks as
placeholders versus ditto marks in their census research? If this is
something that has been documented or discussed by others, please excuse
the interruption and ignore the remainder.
I recently analyzed an 1860 agriculture schedule for Bossier Parish,
Louisiana, determining that the enumerator used tick marks as
placeholders and not as ditto entries throughout his schedule. The
ramification is that agriculture schedule researchers can easily
misinterpret the tick marks in that particular schedule as non-zero
entries when in fact the right interpretation is a blank or "no entry."
This was a fun problem, stimulated by serious doubts that a Jewish
hostel keeper's farm had 25 swine running underfoot and 5 sheep from
which 400 pounds of wool were produced in the year leading up to the
Normally the enumerator's tick marks were small in size, but in a few
instances when the tick mark entered was comparable in size to his other
numbers, he drew a single backslash through it, presumably to avoid
misreading his own mark as a number, such as eleven, when tallying his
The same enumerator used the same tick mark as a ditto entry in his
population schedule for the same parish.
Unfortunately, while enumerator instructions for the population schedule
from 1850+ are easily available, I have not been able to find any
instructions for enumerating the agriculture schedule. Any help in that
regard would be welcome.