Arches at Glendalough 2009

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1940 Census part 2

I know, I know! I'm still raving about the conference and the 1940 Census. What is there to say about it? More and more!

Constance Potter wrote an article on the 1940 about the new questions on the 1940 census. Her article was included in the 2010 winter issue of Prologue found on the NARA site. It is a great read for this census.

One set of questions enumerators asked concerned the type of home you lived in. It included information about the number of bedrooms, the number of baths, if it had running water, how it was made, and if you had a radio. Sadly this part of the census was destroyed.

Another set of questions asked were about infant children. Yes, they were destroyed too.

The detailed questions asked in this census are extremely useful. Questions about the highest grade you attained educational and what type of work you do were asked. Information about immigrants and whether or not you were receiving a railroad or social security pension were asked. The best question of all is where you were living on April 1, 1935. I wonder if my gr-gr-grandmother will show up on this. She died in November of 1939 and was living on April 1, 1935. It would be interesting if her information was supplied! You never know!

Be on the lookout for more information about the 1940 Census!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1940 Census

I'm home again and digesting all the great knowledge from NERGC. As mentioned yesterday, the 1940 US Census talk was awesome! But what I didn't say yesterday was all the cool information you will find in 357 days.

The 1940 census will go live on April 2, 2012. There is no microfilm copy and the only place to view it is on (Can we anticipate a system crash on that day? Remember when and went live? I shake in my boots thinking about it! Time will tell!)

There isn't an index either. So how is one expected to find the information in this census? City directories! If you know where your family lived in 1930, you could try using the enumeration district from the 1930 enumeration. It may or may not work. By using the city directory, you discover where and on what street your family lived on. Once you have that information, you can look for the ward. Once you have the ward, then you can find the enumeration district.

Enumeration districts are the districts the Census Bureau used to divide cities and towns into smaller parts. An enumerator was assigned to the district and collected the data for that district.

Information about enumeration districts can be found on the site. They also recommend Steve Morse's site- (Hint: is the rock and roll star; is our genealogy star.)

I don't know the trick for a rural location. You may have to go line by line. In the eastern states, like CT and NJ, some of the smaller towns were picked up by the larger cities or may have their own individual directories. But I can't be certain for other states.

Another cool thing about the census is that at certain lines, there was a box in the column next to the person enumerated. That box let the enumerator know that additional questions were to be asked. If the person was under the age of 14, the questions may have been answered by the person giving the information. Over the age 14, that person had to answer the additional questions. Some of the questions asked included where and when their parents were born. This is a great boon for those of us who find  a country like"Ireland" listed for all the records your ancestor produced. No longer are they to put just the country's name-they had to include the exact location. Does this mean these rules were followed to a T? We have 357 days to find out.

And one more cool thing about the enumaration...for the first time you know exactly who is answering the questions!

There's a lot more to share about this census. I'll post more information soon about it. Tick-tock...357 days to go!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My head is full!

Can my head be crammed with any more information? What a fabulous conference!
Today I saw Mel again and still learned even more about the vast genealogy information out there. Mel stressed that there is so much in college/universities collections that you never know what you will find.

Did you know that up to 1921 all of the birth, marriage, and deaths in Ireland and northern Irelnad were together? It makes sense now that I know about the Easter uprising in 1922. It was at that point when the six counties in northern Ireland began collecting the information separately from the other 26 counties in free Ireland.

And then there was the 1940 Census. If you go to NARA there is an offical countdown to when the census will be available. Go to and look for the 1940 census. The good news is that it will be online at NARA on this day. The bad news is that there is no index or microfilm copy. I would recommend that once you find your relatives, make a hard copy because you never know. The best discovery was that there are two places on the pages where they asked more information of the person on that line. It could be a potential gold mine of information.

I will digest the knowledge I gained and post more information as I remember it.

Whoo! Whoo! I love NERGC!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mill workers in New England? My socks are knocked off!

Wow! My socks were knocked off today! NERGC continues to give genealogists great talks.

This morning I learned about why we of French Canadian descent should know our family history...230 years of families marrying families. My husband said I had a family tree in a circle...he was right about that! Regardless this morning's speaker discussed health reasons that are predominant in French Canadian families. The concentration of so many families in a locale have gotten geneticists on both sides of the US/Canadian border hopping. Many diseases have been passed down from the original founders to all of us with French Canadian ancestry. I'm bringing my handout with me to the doctor's office.

The best talk by far was Mel Wolfgang's talk on the mill workers. Wow! The sources he spoke of are not ones that genealogists use. Sources such as labor reports, industry and specialty publications, and child labor reports are just a few of the sources that can yield genealogical information.

Another genealogist that also speaks on industry related reports is Tim Pinnick. I heard hiim speak in Indiana where he talked about using the industry reports to track down ancestors. Both Mel and Tim have found a niche in genealogy that we should all should stop and consider!

Forget my socks…the bunny slippers are coming out! I’ll be burning up the Internet scouring Cyndi’s List and special collections to track down my mill workers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New England Regional Genealogy Conference...oh my!

I love genealogy conferences! I try to attend one yearly or plan a visit for a national conference every other year. One of the best regional conferences around is the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. The conference began in the 1990s and has grown over the years. The conference focuses on the six New England States and the ethnic groups that make New England...well, New England. This year's conference is in Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of Dr. Seuss and Yankee Candle Company.

One of the best features of the conference is the Librarian/Teacher Day. Sure, it is for teachers and librarians. But it also gives great information for genealogy use too!

For example the first talk was about the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA. At first you wouldn't think it wouldn't apply to you or your research. Look again. Yes, their focus is the Pittsfield area. But did you know they collect records for all six New England states and New York state? They don't collect for NYC but have acquired a lot of great information for the remainder of the state. They house the Melville Collection (Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick in Pittsfield.) Shaker Collection, and the Shays Rebellion Papers. Their updated facilities includes scanning and data entry work stations and microfilm collections that can be viewed and stored digitally.

The next talk was by the curator at the Sharon, CT Historical Society. Here's an example of an organization making the most of their resources.  The society's website and creative use of their space has made it a valuable tool for the community, townsfolk, teachers, students, and genealogists to utilize their collections.

With the anniversary of the Civil War beginning this week the next speaker used the internet and genealogy tools to get kids interested in history. From books, maps, and  other resources, she showed how genealogy could be included in a local history project for school or scouts.

The new and updated site has a great tool for teachers called, "DocsTeach." From original documents and images to interactive tools for teachers and students, this is an awesome place to check out primary sources.

Two big pieces of  information I heard today was the closing of the NARA branch in Pittsfield, MA and the new interface of the Sanborn Maps by Proquest. With the government budget cuts, Pittsfield will be closing their reading room at the end of September. The staff at Pittsfield has great following among genealogists and will be missed.

Proquest demonstrated the new look for the library edition of and showed off their interface of Google Maps with the Sanborn Maps. Little did we know that we were the first to see this feature incorporated with their historic maps. They announced that this feature will be available later this summer for their historic maps collection too.

Day one is over! I can't wait to see what the rest of the conference will bring!