Hyphenated first name endings in the 1% historical US census


I am inquiring about certain hyphenated endings to first names that appear in the 1% historical US censuses. For example, in the 1930 1% sample, “-AB” appears in 30 first names (variable = namefrst). “-H” and “-X” also appears in a handful of first names as well.

For example (not actually from the 1% sample but made up): “ARTHUR-AB”, “KIM-H”, “KRAMER-X”, etc.

I was wondering if these hyphenated endings had any systematic meaning I should take into account. In particular, I am trying to isolate the first name of each individual to see how “unique” a name is, so having the correct first name is important for my analysis.

Any help in understanding this would be greatly appreciated!

The hyphenated components of NAMEFRST are not part of the name, but were codes used by Census enumerators. In particular,

-AB refers to persons temporarily absent from the home in 1930.

-H was not an official designation by Census, but enumerators were supposed to indicate the homemaker in the relationship to the household head column. Some of these may have been inaccurately recorded by enumerators in the name field.

-X was not an official designation by Census. It’s not exactly clear what this code may have referred to, but it appears to also have been a code inaccurately recorded by an enumerator in the name field as well.

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Thank you! This is extremely helpful. A quick follow-up question which you might have insight on:

  1. I have seen the symbol “@” in front of names (e.g. @IVAN). Is there any meaning behind this?