List of nicknames in the historical US censuses


I am inquiring about a list of nicknames that can be used to help clean the first names in the historical US censuses. This list was referenced in the paper “From Patrick to John F.: Ethnic Names and Occupational Success in the Last Era of Mass Migration” by Joshua R. Goldstein and Guy Stecklov (2016, American Sociological Review, footnote 16). Their footnote says the following: “Through personal correspondence, we obtained a dictionary file of nicknames from the IPUMS project”. I was wondering if this dictionary file was available to other researchers?

In addition, does IPUMS have any general guidelines or practices they recommend when cleaning the names found in the historical censuses?

Thank you!

Hi Uyseok,

Please email us as and I will be able to share this file with you.

For more information, first names were standardized to aid in the linking algorithm for the June 2010 release of the linked representative samples. However, we do not standardize names in the full count data or in the Multigenerational Longitudinal Panel (MLP) links and instead release the original string data for approved restricted users. We do not offer any particular guidelines for analyzing name data. However, you might find the MLP linking study article as well as other relevant articles cited in the IPUMS Full Count Bibliography helpful to review in order to see how others have utilized the data on names. You may also try leveraging the MLP links to obtain information on how individuals’ names were recorded differently over time to aid in your data cleaning process.

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Great, thank you very much!