The Union Army and Early Indicators data uses a system of quality codes which rank the strength and quality of the data. They are used in all three data sets: Military, Surgeons' Certificates, Census.
2. Variable Groups
Collection: Military, Pension and Medical Records
Quality Codes for Dates: Recruit’s birth date, Recruit’s death date, Child living or dead date, Child’s birth date, Child’s death date, Marriage date, Divorce or separation date, Recruit’s wife’s birth date, Recruit’s wife’s death date, Date recruit lived with co-habitant, Father’s birth date, Father’s death date, Mother’s birth date, Mother’s death date, Parents’ residence from date they lived there, Parents’ residence to date they lived there, Siblings birth date, Recruit’s immigration entry date, Labor force participation date, Beginning date of occupation, Ending date of occupation, Recruit’s state of finances date, Recruit’s wealth information date,Enlistment date, Beginning date for recruit’s residence at a location, Ending date for recruit’s residence at a location, Hospital admittance date, Hospital release date, Returned to duty date, Desertion date, Discharge from service date, Date sent to general hospital, Date of furlough, Death date at hospital, Date of other result, Pension affidavit date, Date of affidavit, Battle date, Recruit’s date of discharge, Beginning date for military court action, Ending date for military court action, Beginning date of military duty, Ending date of military duty, Muster date, POW capture date, POW confinement date, POW parole date, Date of change of duty
Quality Codes for Locations (city, county, state): Recruit’s birth place, Father’s birth place, Mother’s birth place, Child’s birth place, Recruit’s death place, Father’s death place, Mother’s death place, Child’s death place, Marriage place, Parents’ residence place, Recruit’s residence street address, Enlistment place, Muster place, Discharge place, POW capture place and state,POW confinement place and state, POW parole place and state, Credit place
Quality Codes for Recruit Appearance at Time of Examination: Complexion, Eye color, Hair color, Height, Weight
Quality Codes for llness/Wound: Illness or wound designation, Illness or wound description, Illness or wound severity
Collection: Surgeons’ Certificates
Quality Codes for Basic Exam Information: Military information, Board address, Claimant address, Exam date, Claimant’s birthplace, Claimant’s age, Claimant’s height, Claimant’s occupation, Claimant’s temperature, Claimant’s weight
Quality Codes for all Census Groups: Rank of the strength of the link to a particular census decade.
3. Historical Background
Many pieces of information found in the Military, Pension and Medical Records are accompanied by a quality code that modifies, defines or clarifies that information. Almost every date and location has the possibility for a quality code. The Military, Pension and Medical Records quality codes are as follows:
1: About - Any part of the date is incomplete .
2: Before - Event happened prior to this date.
3: After - Event happened after this date.
4: During the War - Applies only to wartime events.
5: Discrepancy - Date or location, subsequent instances of the variable may be coded as discrepant or "B," Best.
6: Inferred - Date or location, information in the original document is unclear, and the researcher makes an inference based on available information. For example, the soldier "moved to Xenia, OH in the spring of 1870." The researcher would input the date as 04/--/1870 QC 6. Researchers would also infer year of birth from age at a specific date. Another example, an 18-year-old soldier enlists on June 1, 1862. The researcher would input the soldier's birth date as --/--/1844 QC 6.
7: Company muster-in/out - Limited to enlistment, muster, and discharge dates and places. Primarily used with discharge dates and places.
8: Since discharge - Event happened since discharge but the original document did not give a more specific date. For example, the soldier has "lived in Princeton, NJ since discharge." The date would be input as the soldier's date of discharge with QC 8.
9: At present time - Documents within the pension give information for a point in time. For example, a soldier submits an application for pension which states his residence. The researcher knows only that the soldier lives at that residence on the date of application. The researcher does not know when the soldier began living at that location. The from date of residence for that particular location is input as the date of application with QC 9. This code is used throughout the data set on dates.
B: Best - Best date when discrepancy is present. The researcher makes an informed decision as to which of the discrepant pieces of information is more reliable and tags it with QC B.
Every census decade that is linked to a soldier is given a census quality code. The quality codes range from 1 to 4, 1 indicating the strongest link and 4 the weakest. These codes rank the strength of the match based on the information given in the pension record. Assigning census quality codes is based on exacting criteria.
Although great effort has been made to make the quality codes specific and objective, some subjectivity is involved in each assignment, particularly codes 3 and 4. In all cases an individual found in the census must have a name and approximate age match to a soldier’s pension information.
The quality code indicates how strong a match is only to the pension information. The reseacher cannot use information from a different census year to make the quality code stronger. For example, if the researcher finds a soldier on the 1870 census living with a wife that matches the pension information, he would receive a quality code of 1 for the 1870 census. If his mother is also living with him in 1870, but she is not listed in the pension information, the researcher can use the mother’s name to help her find the soldier on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, but the researcher cannot use her name as an identifier to give the soldier a quality code 1 on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
These criteria are defined below.
Quality Code 1- In addition to name and age, a quality code of 1 must have two or more of the following identifying information:
- Place of birth, especially if other than the state where he is currently residing
- Father’s name (and birthplace)
- Mother’s name
- Sibling’s names
- Children’s names
- Spouse’s name
- Specific address
In general, to warrant a quality code 1, the researcher must have additional family members’ names that match the pension information (or the name of someone the soldier was living with). The only way a soldier can earn a quality code 1 without additional family members’ names is to have a matching street address to that found in the pension information. Street names and house numbers do not appear on the censuses until 1880, so a soldier cannot earn a quality code 1 for 1850, 1860, or 1870 without additional family members’ names. Note that if a soldier is living in a Soldiers’ Home, this does not qualify as a specific address; he may at most receive a quality code of 2 (unless his wife is in the home with him).
The soldier’s name may be wrong on the census, but if his wife and children match the pension information (or parents and siblings), especially if the name on the census begins with the soldier’s middle initial, the researcher may give a quality code 1.
Quality Code 2- In addition to name and age, a quality code of 2 could lack specific name of parents, siblings, etc., but would have at least two of the following identifying information:
- Living in place (county or adjacent county) expected (birth, enlistment, marriage)
- A skilled occupation (blacksmith, cooper, butcher, etc.)
- Living in the place of marriage close to marriage date
- Living in same place as other soldiers in company
- Birth place, especially if other than the state where he is currently residing
- Surname unique in county or township where expected to be found, i.e. there are not other families of same name in same geographical area
- Very uncommon name
- Name and middle initial match pension and military information
Quality Code 3- In addition to name and age, a quality code of 3 indicates that a soldier was living where expected (county or adjacent county) as per information from pension information. A quality code of 3 is considered by the inputter to be a fairly sure match, but lacks additional specific identifying information. A code of 3 also could have some of the specific identifying information from codes 1 and 2 but have discrepancies.
Quality Code 4- Possible because name and age match, but not enough information for inputter to make more positive identification.
3.3 The Variables
The instance of the quality code relates to the instance of the variable it is qualifying. For example, rb_dtqc1 is associated with rb_date1.