Saturday, March 31, 2012

CVGS Program Review - Joel Weintraub

Joel Weintraub, PhD, was the presenter at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting on Wednesday, 28 March at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.  The 40 attendees saw an excellent 90 minute presentation on "Here Comes the 1940 Census."  Joel's talk had two main parts:

1)  An Overview of the 1940 US Census:.  Joel provided  a description of the different census schedules, and particularly the population schedule, which is the only one that was microfilmed and will be available as digital images on 2 April 2012.  The schedule is two-sided, and has 40 lines per side for all persons to answer 34 questions, and then two of those 40 persons had to answer 16 more questions.  Joel described each of the columns on the population schedule, and how the enumerators were instructed to fill them out.  

2)  Online 1940 Resources:  The 1940 U.S. Census digital images will be available at 6 a.m. PDT on Monday, 2 April 2012 at the National Archives website.  There is NO name index for this census at the present time (FamilySearch, and will have different indexes later in 2012).  

In order to find families in the NARA census page images, users will have to know the location (town in rural areas, street address in larger towns and cities) of their families in 1940, and then have to find the Enumeration District (ED, two numbers, like 62-180) for that address.  Enumeration District maps and boundary descriptions are available on the NARA Online Public Access (OPA) website at  When you are on the NARA site, and input the state and ED number, you will see the first page of the census page images for that ED.  The user can browse the pages one-by-one or can download the entire ED (it may be 50 or 60 images or more) to their computer hard drive.  

The Steve Morse One-Step website has a 1940 Census ED Finder tool at   Researchers can use this tool to determine the Enumeration District for rural areas and towns, and for large cities if they know the address, the cross street and back street of the block the family lived on.  Joel and his team have defined the streets in each ED for over 80% of the urban areas in 1940.  The ED Finder identifies one ED number, which the user can then input to the NARA image site.

Joel recommended these steps for finding the 1940 U.S. Census entry for your families:

*  Identify the location of your families (town and county in rural areas, street address in larger towns and cities) using information in other records.  See How Can I Find Out Where My Folks Lived in 1940? for ideas.  Find the address on the NARA ED maps or on a Google Map, and note the cross and back streets for the block the family resided.

*  Use the Steve Morse 1940 Census ED Finder tool to identify the Enumeration District.  For larger towns and cities, input the street name, cross streets and back street to identify the ED.

*  Go to the National Archives 1940 U.S. Census site (, input the state and ED number, and see the first page of census images for that ED.

*  Download the entire set of census page images for the Enumeration District to your computer hard drive.

*  Review the census page images on your hard drive to find your family in the records using your image program.  

*  Shout Eureka! when you find them.  

This was an excellent presentation and the audience appreciated Joel's expertise, humor and information.

1 comment:

Jim S said...

I just found your website through Geneabloggers. Happy Blogiversary.

I haven't had the chance to look at the 1940 census yet but will take a look this weekend.

Regards, Jim
Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets