Tuesday, April 03, 2012

1940 Census Image Search Success

Success! I found family on the 1940 census ... at Ancestry.com.  The National Archives server still cannot handle the load.

Ancestry has begun the task of uploading all the census images, and they happen to be starting with states where my ancestors lived.  And they seem to be getting them up at a pretty quick pace.

Images are available for these states: California, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Some of the US territories plus the District of Columbia are also completed.

Images for the Bronx, one of New York City's five boroughs, have been uploaded by Ancestry, so I thought I would look for family there.  I quickly found the Enumeration District at the ED Finder since I knew the address (found in an obituary) and went to Ancestry.com to begin my search.  The ED consisted of 44 pages that I needed to browse to find my family.  I thought it would take forever, but I was able to find the family in a few minutes - on page 42 out of 44 pages.

My browsing method was simple.  I started at page one of the ED and enlarged the image so that I could read the street name in the left column.  I was able to click through each page fairly quickly by using the arrow button until I found the street the family lived on.  Then I just went down the street numbers until I found the family.

What did I learn?  Well, coming off the Great Depression, salaries seemed rather small.  One family member, at age 22 in 1940, was a typist who made $600 in all of 1939.  That's $50 per month.   I used the Inflation Calculator to calculate her salary in today's dollars and found it was less than $10,000.   I haven't had a chance to absorb all the other information yet.

There were many first-time questions in the 1940 census.
  • The first census that asked people where they lived five years before – providing the first information about the majority of Americans in mid-decade and how they kept migrating for work
  • The first census to ask people detailed income questions, providing a fuller and detailed picture of depression-era work and unemployment
  • The first census to ask if people worked for New Deal emergency government agencies –the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps

Be sure to check the bottom of the page for the supplemental questions.  One of my family members was selected to answer additional questions about Social Security, military service and more.

No comments: