Monday, 1 February 2010

Counting St Patrick's People

The first three districts of St Patrick’s Ward have now been transcribed and I’ve spent the day verifying my counts of both people and households and sorting out errors, not all of which have been mine I am glad to say.

The enumeration districts within the ward are strips which stretch all the way from Queen Street West to Bloor Street. District 1 (University Ave to Beverley Street) contained 1450 people in 261 households. District 2 (Beverley Street to Spadina Avenue) was much smaller—only 605 people in 111 households. District 3 (Spadina Avenue to Bathurst Street) appeared to contain 2118 people in 414 households, but that is the count according to the unsuspicious.

As I transcribed District 3 I noticed families that I thought I had seen before and when I finished I decided to check just how many duplications there were. By sorting the families alphabetically I was able to spot 19 families totalling 95 people who had been enumerated twice. The households were not absolutely identical. There were variations in spelling and in age, but Mr McDole and Mr McFowl had wives and children with identical names and ages, and what district is going to hold two 40-year-old Caleb Butts, each with six children.

How could these people have been transcribed twice? Obviously the enumerator was not being careful. For the most part the streets were named on the forms, but all the houses on one street did not appear one after the other. It was a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and back again. Also, the enumerator had re-written a great many forms—the writing was consistent from one form to the next for about the last hundred or so households. Either the enumerator was being paid by the head and intentionally expanded the population in order to gain more for his work, or he forgot to throw away the originals when he decided a number of census forms needed rewriting.

All of the duplications have been noted as part of my transcription. But I would have preferred District 3 with only 395 houses containing 2023 people in the first place.

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