Saturday, April 2, 2011

Are you ready for the 1940 Census?

I was just reading Randy Seaver's blog (, which is always entertaining and often thought provoking. Today he wrote about preparing for the release of the 1940 US Census in 364 days. Reading his list of people he'd like to find and where they were living on April 1, 1940 made me realize that I have a lot of work to do. I think both of my parents were in the US Army in April 1940, but am not really positive. How the heck am I going to find them in the census? I don't have a clue where my father's family were, so will need to do a lot of prep work on them. And my mother's parents and grandparents were all in "rural" areas--i.e., places with less than 2500 population (a lot less, in their cases!).
It's interesting to see what questions were asked in the 1940 census (check out Ancestry's info page at Also frustrating to learn that "supplementary questions" were only asked of 5% of the population--two people per page of 40 names. I'm hoping that at least the census takers had to ask those supplementary questions of adults, not just anyone whose name appeared on lines 14 and 29.
Randy suggests making a list of EVERYONE in your extended family who was alive in 1940 and trying to find a 1940 address for them now, before the census records are made public. Then we'll all be ready to grab those 1940 US census pages next year on April 2nd! Sounds like a good idea to my spare time.

1 comment:

  1. No, there was no discrimination as to the sample. If your name fell on one of two designated lines, then you answered the additional questions, whether you were a newborn child or an adult.
    Joel Weintraub