The fichero cards (see scanned image for an example) are arranged in the file numerically from 0001 to the highest numbered person (5213). The numbering approximates alphabetical sequence from a to z.


Foster began using this system after the 1960 census. The system has been continued since that census. The 5 x 8 cards are stored in 2 metal file boxes, with white cards for the 1960 census, pink cards for people who first appear in 1960, blue for 1970, green for 1980, and so forth. Data are typed on a new card when a person first appears in a census. Subsequent entries (after the first time censused), including Biennial census data, a special medical census, and data from the parish and municipal records are handwritten. Although the censuses are computerized, there is considerably more data in the fichero files than in the computer files, at present.


At the top of each 5 x 8 sheet are hand printed numbers corresponding to the persons ID number for a specific census. As of 1990, individual sheets can have up to four ID numbers. The left-most corresponds to the 1960 census, the next to the right to the 1970 census, the next to the right to the 1980 census, and the last to the right to the 1990 census. Note that no ID number has been assigned for the 1945 census. A fifth ID number will be added to the right of the 1990 ID number once the year 2000 ethnographic census is completed.


The persons name is typed below the word TZINTZUNTZAN. In the example provided here, the full name and all other names have been intentionally obscured. Normally, the full name sequence is Christian name, first last name, and second last name. After the name comes a letter for gender: H is for hombre (male); M is for mujer (woman). Below the name are handwritten occupations and birth date (9-29-11, from the Parish baptismal records). To the right are the parents (Padres:) names, the fathers name typed above that of the mother. In the third, fourth and fifth lines are typed the names of the siblings (Hermanos:). Along with the children (listed has hermanos, siblings) are given their spouses names, separated by the marriage symbol, =.


The sixth typed line has the numbers 1945- #18 31 aos (census date, household number, and egos self reported age), followed by handwritten 1-2-32. Self reported age from the census interview is often discrepant from birthdates on the civil records, which are generally accurate. The household numbers correspond to those in the ethnographic map following page 26 of Fosters Empires Children (1948), where the Categora de Casa (household material possesions scale, from 1-10) is given as CC-7, also seen in handwritten letters at the bottom of the fichero. The handwritten date 1-2-32 is the marriage date taken from the Church records or Civil archive, and it is followed by a typed entry for 1era esposa: (first wife:) followed by the wifes name (the asterisk indicates that she died). Under her name are their two children (with handwritten birthdates), and below their names, the entry 2nda esposa, followed by the 2nd wifes name, followed by the note that she is the sister of the 1st wife; above is a handwritten asterisk (always indicating a death) with the date of the 2nd wifes death; and underneath, an entry no tenan hijos (no children). Under 1945- #18 31 is typed Viva con Segunda esposa, then her name, con dos hijos, referring to the children of the first wife who lived with him after she died and he married her sister. The fichero records are extensively cross-referenced, one to another, so that information on spouses, siblings, parents and children are possible sources for cross-checking the accuracy of information.


The next set of entries are the census/survey lines:

o      Below the family data are dated notes from the 1959 health survey (ego is living in household #92, using the same numbering as in 1945, ego reports that he is 45).

o      The next entry is from the 1960 survey (1945 household #92, reported age 48, 20-9 being his block and household number according to the new numbering system developed after 1960, corresponding to the old #92), and shows he is living with his daughter by the first wife, then listing the daughters birthdate and below which daughter it is - probably).

o      This is followed by another 1960 entry indicating that the second child (according to the blanked out names) and his wife and children lived with ego from 2-27-52 forward.

o      The next line (dated 1970 the census) shows he reported himself as 58 years old; 20-9 is the new block (20) and household number (9th) used from sometime after 1960 forward.

o      The next (1980 census) entry shows a modified block and household number, 20B-3, the 3rd house of the B side of block 20; his occupation is listed as agricultor.

o      The next (1984 biennial survey) entry notes ego is living in Jahuay, the rancho of his son-in-law.

o      The next two lines (1986 and 1988 biennial surveys) say ditto to the above.

o      The last census/survey line (1990) shows ego has moved back to block and household number, 20B-3.


CC-7, handwritten at the bottom of the fichero, has been explained above. Under that is an entry from the Church archives showing egos baptism on 10/3/11, and if the name were not obscured we would see that his baptismal name did not match the one he has used all his life (this error derives from his grandfathers name, see upper right hand corner of sheet where the same name is given in parentheses).


Finally, to the lower right, are given the names of egos padrinos (godparents), and the note She was nother of W___s father J___ was step-father. So are paternal grandmother and stepgrandfather.