Monday, April 2, 2012

1940 is Finally Here!

Find this search on Ancestry at the library
Wondering where Grandma and Grandpa were in 1940? The 1940 Federal Census was released today after 72 years, and if your relatives lived in Indiana, you're in luck! This is one of the few states that has complete images online at Indexing is in process, so for the time being you can't search Grandpa's name. For now, you have to browse by state, county, and populated place (for Montgomery County this means townships and the city of Crawfordsville), then click on an enumeration district. For example, I searched Indiana, Montgomery County, then Crawfordsville. Enumeration district 54-21 is "WARD 2 BOUNDED BY (N) WABASH AV, WEST, PIKE; (E) GRANT, WABASH AV, GRANT; (S) BIG FOUR RAILROAD [CLEVELAND, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO & ST. LOUIS RAILWAY]; (W) CITY LIMITS; ALSO WABASH COLLEGE." In this district I found Theodore Gronert (Wabash professor and author of Sugar Creek Saga) living on the Wabash campus, and Harry and Sophia Freedman (featured in Hidden History of Montgomery County, Indiana) at 10 Mills Place.

So what's new on the 1940 census? Questions about income were added, as well as details about employment. For a country recovering from an economic disaster, information about who was employed and how was particularly relevant. An added line ("Residence, April 1, 1935") may help trace relatives who were on the move looking for work during the Depression. Supplementary questions were asked of a 5 percent sample of the population; this included questions that in 1930 were asked of everyone, such as parents' place of birth, mother tongue, and veteran status. For married women, the supplementary section asked new questions about whether she has been married more than once, her age at first marriage, and number of children born. Finally, the 1940 census was the first to designate a specific night for counting transients (April 8-9).
Find more information about the 1940 census at the National Archives website, or come to the library and take a test drive on Ancestry!

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