Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1940 Census

I'll admit it. I'm a geek when it comes to history and genealogy. I have really been digging the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?". Last night, I found out that you can now view the 1940 census online. I was curious if I could find anything about my hubby's family. Since members of my family share the history/genealogy gene, I'm familiar with my family line going back a few generations.

As far as I know, no one has traced my hubby's family tree. There are bits and pieces of family lore but nothing concrete. So I thought it would be fun to have a peek at the 1940 census and see what I could find out.

When I visited the website, which can be found here, I entered the state and county that my in-laws grew up in. Then you needed to find out the enumeration number to find the location of the home on the map. Oy! That took some homework. When I found the right enumeration number, I couldn't find my in-laws anywhere. A call went out to my brother-in-law who told me that my father-in-law lived in another house that was in a different township. By this time my eyes were crossed. So I decided I would try again another time when I was more rested. In the meantime, I learned some interesting things along the way.

I learned that there was a "home for the aged" in the tiny town that my father-in-law spent some of his growing up years in. I found out that his best friend in 1940 lived right around the corner from where my hubby grew up. I found out the rectory of the nearby Catholic church housed the priest and five nuns. And there was some information that was more sobering. I learned that in one home, a 16 year old girl was listed as "Head of Household" with her 11 and 9 year old sisters. It made me wonder about their story. Were they orphaned? Did their parents have to leave to find jobs elsewhere? Did one of the parents die and the surviving parent abandon them? I knew from listening to my parents/in-laws that that generation had no choice but to grow up quickly. I can only imagine the maturity that those girls possessed to have to be in charge of a home with no adult in site. At least this is how I'm imagining this is how it is as it shows on paper.

So I'm back to, so far, not quite finding one whole branch of this family tree. Maybe in years to come I will be able to dig into some roots.

Thanks for looking in!


  1. Awesome! My husband did a bit of research on his family a couple of years ago, but he had to do it all at our genealogy library. So interesting once you get into it, isn't it?

  2. Cool findings, Pam! So awesome that you're doing all this research!

  3. This is so interesting.
    I have trouble with finding out about my family history as everyone passed away at such a young age. I tried a few years ago and then took a break.
    I love learning about how times were way back when and I (like you) enjoy making up stories on how they lived.

  4. So wonderful! Isn't doing family history fun! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter!

  5. Hi Pam! I have been waiting a long time to see this census too and had a chance to search some of our family. I get very excited about genealogy research.

    Yes, we both did think similarly about the I Will Rise song. It is a special one.

    So nice stopping by top visit with you!
    Kindly, Lorraine