Lesson Learned–1940 Census Importance of Citations

April 13, 2012

Without the ability to use normal search engines, at this point, for locating family in the 1940 Census, I found that having relatively good Citations really helped me find folks in these images that can be scanned. I knew where to look.

I posted a number of posts on my genealogy database management software:


I was able to use my 1930 Data, to locate the Enumeration District for the 1940 Census. Using the Steve Morse Unified 1940 Census Tool, the identification was easy.

I used the Residence Fact for this tool. As you can see, I generated a printout, by Location, and the residence fact included the Enumeration District NUMBER so I could easily mark this page when I looked at the 1940 Census Tool. That is where I started. Who knew, who might have moved.


The Citation information, would verify for me, the ED #, Page Number, and Line Number from the 1930 Census.

That first entries Citation looks like this:

1930 U.S. census, Chester county, Pennsylvania, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 3,  page 1-A (stamped), lines 8 to 11, Birmingham, Wilmington Pike – Family 3, John Marshall Highley, digital image, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, (http://www.ancestry.com, 12 April 2012), NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2019, Image: 34.0; FHL microfilm: 2341753

Within my genealogy database software, I can easily see the 1930 Census image, if I need to look at the image. For example, to verify who might have been in the household in 1930, but not in 1940.

Finding the image for 1940 may have taken a few minutes, but I had a very good start.

Here is the Citation for this person in the 1940 Census.

1940 U.S. census, Chester county, Pennsylvania,  population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 15-3, page 3-A (stamped), Birmingham, lines 31 to 34, family 49, J Marshall Highly; digital image, Archives.gov (http://1940census.archives.gov: accessed 04/06/2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 3467

So, when the 1950 census comes around, I have a great starting point.

Lesson Learned: I had always considered a Citation useful for Others to see or find what I found, IF they looked at my research. Working in the scanning of Image for 1940 taught me that a good citation is more useful for ME.


Lessons Learned –1940 Census–Indexing

April 13, 2012

Coming to the end of the second week of the 1940 Census records, I thought that I would pause a minute to reflect on Lessons Learned from all of this. Was it work or fun?

One of the things that I wanted to do, besides my own research, was to help with the indexing of the 1940 Census. I signed up at Family Search for this.



Not having done much indexing before, and now I remember why I haven’t why. If I can’t read my own handwriting some times, how am I going to read others. (that’s why I use a computer).

As of this morning, I have indexed about 1,750 names. My goal was 2 pages a day, so I have gone way beyond my goal. There were a couple reasons for that:

  • I had some time to do the indexing
  • Several groups / organizations took on the challenge of indexing

During week one, I assisted my cousin, Dear Myrtle, in a week webinar, one hour each night last week, where the purpose was to share our findings, learn from others, and how to use the tools that we have in place to find who we are looking for.

Here is a link to the archives to those webinars.


A special THANK YOU to Bruce Busby of Roots Magic for hosting the webinars and making them available to the genealogy community.

I don’t know what the numbers were, but there were close to 500 people on these webinars. Blew my mind.

During one of them, Dear Myrtle made that Blog entry, and challenged me to see if I could reach Bree’s personal best. How can you beat 100%. I took the challenge, and lost. Still haven’t gotten to 100%, but I am trying.

BUT, what did I learn ….

I have heard many talks about the F.A.N. club. Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors. I have used that theory before, that indexing really brought that home.

The 1940 Census was almost a double census, in there was a question about where you were on April 1, 1935. The answer to the questions showed how many people stayed where they were or moved. Only seeing one page of 40 entries at a time, I still could see that ‘groups’ of these household were in the same “different” place in 1935. The focus on the indexing was to get the data entered, but you still could pick up that several households were in a different place 5 years earlier, but the same different place.

A couple of pages, working on a specific state, I saw the Birth State of a group of households had the same birth state, but a different birth state. It gave hints that some of the people in these household, moved from their place of birth to this new state for the 1940 Census, or moved from one place to another from the 1935 to 1940 Census.

Was it true, I don’t know, but the F.A.N. theory appears to be in play here. There have been several times, when you would see “family” a couple of households down the page. Were they “family” or was it by accident that the same surname was down the block.

Back to index another batch.

Follow up on the 1940 Census Search for DNA

April 7, 2012

I should have held off a half hour …

I quickly found the answer to my FB friends answer about her ancestry. I found Joseph and Fannie in the 1930 Census. He was in the Furniture Business, and Fannie was in Fur Manufacturing. In 1930 they were in Manhattan, New York, New York, Enumeration District 31-956.

1930 Census had the question of where the parents were born. All four of the parents were born in Italy.

Took a quick look at the Stevemorse.org website and used the One Step tool for Ellis Island, and between 1901 and 1904, there were 95 Bracco’s in the list. Waiting to hear back, ‘cause I don’t have enough information for the next step.

So, who said Social Media doesn’t work ??

April 7, 2012

I am friends, on Facebook with a couple of “kids” who were childhood friends of my daughters. Seven Hours ago, I see this post:

My genetic test results are in (although not quite conclusive) and it looks like my theory about the origins of my adopted grandfather still has legs. I am 10% Asian! Mom is going to have to give up some spit to really test the hypothesis though. Even if it isn’t true, at least I know that I’m practically immune to leprosy and I am a super taster! So cool!

Hummmm … 23andme ??? I know that name. So, a quick message back trying to give me something to look for. I was given where he lived in 1930 and 1940, got his name and date of birth. Oh, did I mention that this was in New York City ??? Oh, no.

Having learned about what Ancestry.com has done for the  1940 Census, I went there. It took a while for me to learn that the “Bronx” is not in Kings County, where Google Search put it, I went to Bronx county, then New York. What do I know ….

I got down to 6 Enumeration Districts. The key to the success here, was the ability to just look at the Left Column, where the Street Name is usually, BUT with the ability to rotate that image to the Right.


5 ED later, each ED showing Gleason Avenue, if found what I was looking for. Rotating the Image back to normal, I found her Grandfather in the 3-935 Enumeration District at 1996 Gleason. Looks like an apartment building, based on this page was marked with the address.


If Google Maps, street view is correct, here it is


Oh, you want the Census Record ….


What this tells me, is that the Head of Household, her Grandfather and his wife, were in the same place in 1935 (Same House). Elenore was not yet born in 1935. This record shows that she was 3 at the time. Joseph was a Finisher at a furniture factory.

See what one comment on Facebook, about DNA might lead you?

1940 U.S. census, Bronx, New York, New York, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 3-396, page 20B, family 436, line 31-33, Bracco, Joseph; digital image, Ancestry.om (http://ancestry.com: accessed 04/07/2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627.


1940 Census Indexing Project

April 7, 2012

As many genealogist and family historians are doing, I am also indexing. If you are interested drop by this website:


It’s relative easy to do, but the pay off is awesome. Maybe not at this moment, but when this project is complete it will be awesome.

As you may know, on Monday the 1940 US Census records were released to the public. The bad news, all were just images. A number of websites took most of the week to get all of them online. None Indexed. Meaning, we can’t search for people yet.

The process is that you download an application to your PC, Mac, or iPad, look at a couple of tutorials, read some instructions, and try two test files. Then you are good to go.

I have done 19 batches or census pages, with 40 names per page. So far, I have done about 750 names. A very far cry from the 132 Million names that are on these pages. But, I am doing what I can.

But now I am in competition with my cousin, DearMYRTLE’s Granddaughter. We are working our personal best. I am at 99%, but she has me beat hands down. I am still working on catching up to her. But, she has a real advantage, by having a mother and grandmother both doing genealogy / family history. Must be in the DNA.

That aside, I just wanted to share a couple of points of interest, in doing this indexing.

What’s the chance, of all of the pages of census records, you would be given ONE page for a county where your ancestors came from. Twice I was given pages from Leavenworth, Kansas, where my grandfather was born. Didn’t find family, but what are the chances. I have seen Facebook updates, with indexers with similar experiences.

Come on Pennsylvania.

We hear or talk about F.A.N., Family, Acquaintance, and Neighbors. The 1940 Census is almost a double Census. With the great depression, this census, as I understand it, was hoping to track how families moved between 1935 and 1940. So, one of the questions that everyone was asked was, Where were you on 04/01/1935.

So far, I have done some Delaware, Colorado, and Kansas images. In each case, the pages I indexed would show how these “neighbors” moved, or didn’t move between 1935 and 1940. Patti made a comment, as she was scanning some census images, how ethnic groups travelled together.

To me, that just re-enforced the F.A.N. concept. Who were your neighbors? Look up and down “the block” / street, to see who else lived in the area. This came through indexing as well. “Didn’t I just do that name?”

We are so used to being able to search, instantly, that we have forgotten about the F.A.N. concept, or don’t use it as a good tool.

Many of my family, all four of my Grandparents, lived in the same town. Going back in 3 of the 4 grandparents, my ancestors lived in the Same County. So, being “forced” to visually scan images, I have picked up a number of extended family that I just haven’t searched for before, or didn’t show up on a specific search.

I mentioned in an earlier blog post, that I found my parents in “town” on a well known street, for me. It was a block from where my mother’s parents moved to, at some point after the 1940 census was taken. But, I was able to see who owned that house before the bought the house.

Remembering I had a childhood friend, I was looking “down the street” and found her step-father. So, in these three blocks (200, 300, and 400 block), I found 3 other families, as well as the step-father. There were a number of extended family households, all within this one Enumeration District.

It’s been fun being able to drop an email off to family or friends and say “I found …… in the 1940 Census”.

So, this time period, BI, Before Indexes, is a great time to check out the F.A.N. concept. See who the neighbors were, while you are looking for your own.

If you have some time, please visit the Indexing Project’s website and do a page or two.


1940 Census – Brownie Points

April 3, 2012

It took a while, but I was able to locate find Patti’s Grandmother’s house. Couple of unanswered questions are on that record.

I went to Steve Morse’s Unified 1940 Census ED Finder website:


Entered the street address:


I used the see map feature to make sure I had the right address.


What was interesting, I only had to enter the address and the ED was listed. Click on the 1940 Census Pages and the scrolling began. 7 files, 20 to 40 plus pages each, I found what I was looking for.


We have visited this house.  This is a well on the right, that was there when Patti had visited there as a child.

I guess I get a point or two for finding this entry.

Tech Tuesday – Unified 1940 Census ED Finder

April 2, 2012

What a great website:


Over the past couple days and weeks, in preparation for today, I have been taking a report that I created in my genealogy database management software and translated the 1930 Census Enumeration Districts to 1940 Census Enumeration Districts.

Oh, if you what to know why they are different, the answer to that and many other questions are on this website.

When you start at that website, select the US Census menu item, then the Unified 1940 Census ED Finder. That will bring to a page that looks like this.


For my example, this “country boy” is going to find his 7th Cousin, who lived in New York City. This is no ordinary cousin, but I’ll leave her nameless, but she has appeared on this Blog several time.

The New York City Directory for 1940 showed the address of 808 West End Avenue. So, I selected New York, the county New York, and in the pull down menu, selected Manhattan.

Please note, USE the Pull Down Menu every time it is offered. The Correct answer is usually there.

But, just look at all of those Enumeration Districts that are listed in blue below where I entered the address. But wait, we can get that down a bit. Lets see how much closer we can get.



Wonder what this is going to do.


How cool is that. There is the address, even a Street View. I have done that a number of times today. The best example was in a previous blog post where I found the apartment where my folks lived in the 1940 Census. Never saw that place before, but it was only a block away from where my grandparents (Mom’s side) lived as I grew up.

Leaning: The Tool is a real help, but there is a trick, when going to “SEE MAP”. IF you end up where you do not expect to, look at the Street Address in the Google Search Box.

For example: If you have a street name, like West Barnard Street, the Pull Down Menu will list Barnard E and Barnard W, one under the other. That is cool, and makes a lot of sense. BUT, when it is sent to Google Maps, if will come out Barnard E or Barnard W. Don’t panic, just re-type the address it the more correct fashion. E Barnard Street.

What is important on this map, is the 4 streets that are around the address you are looking for. That is how the Enumeration Districts were laid out.


If you Select 1940 ED Description, then More Details, you will see more details.


Back to the map, I see West 99th, West 100th, Riverside Drive, and Broadway as the surrounding street names.

Switching back to the ED finder:


As I said earlier, the pull down menu is a real help. The first box says “Cross or block street on same city block”. I selected 99th W, and in the next box (pull down menu) I selected 100th W. This is an illustration of the Barnard Street East and West mentioned earlier. The street names are together, and the direction follows the street name.


Pull down menu, Riverside Drive


Notice, I didn’t have to enter the 4th street, in this example. I am now down to ONE ED, 31-734.

By clicking on that ED Number, you will be taken to the image for that ED.


Once you download the image, then it’s a manual looking at the images to find who you are looking for.

There are other websites that may also have the Digital Images, but this Enumeration District Unified Finder will help you locate the ED that you are looking for.

Check out this website and see if it helps. It helped me.

Thank you Steve P Morris, PhD and Joel Weintraub, PhD AND the Volunteers who put this tool together.

Gotta get back to Indexing.

%d bloggers like this: