Thursday, January 26, 2012


It is a new year and I hope to have more news on the genealogy of our family.  This year the 1940 census will be available for all to see.  This is great news for all of us searching for information on our families.  The census is the one document that puts complete families together at a particular time in history.  This census for me will be very interesting because it will have many of my relatives that I personally knew and know now.

There are always some people in a family that no one remembers what happen to them.  I have several but one in particular that I would love to find more about.  His name was William (Willy) Mathews, he was a first cousin of my father.  He supposedly was a dancer on Broadway and spent most of his time around the stage in front and behind.  I found him in the 1930 census and hope to find him in this 1940 census with a more definite occupation and residence so I can research him further, possibly in newspapers.

Most of the big research databases on line are with, and a couple of other small sites.  They are planning on indexing every name in the 1940 census but they can’t start until April 2, when it will be released by the government.  So, those of us who can’t wait until it is indexed can used a method created by Steve Morse at his web site using the address in the 1940’s.

All genealogists should be making a list of all the address’ of people they want to find in the census and using Steve Morse’ site find the Enumeration District for the address. An Enumeration District is a defined area in a town over which a person, the enumerator, collects information for the census. When the census is available they will be able to go right to the correct Enumeration District for either the city or town and page through to find the right family.

Using the census records is very helpful in learning when people might have died, married, had more children, changed occupations and moved.  When looking at the census pages you should look not just at your family but the families who lived in their neighborhood.  You might find other family members.  When immigrants travel to other countries they would most likely settle in an area already settle by members of their nationality and even members of their town in the old country.  If you follow the family in several census records and find the next door neighbor is always the same family, it is a good bet they are related in some way, or came from the same area of the old country.

I have a friend who is looking for the place of origin in Ireland of her Grandmother.  All of the documents found already for her and her family just say Ireland.  We are now looking at a family she lived with when she first came to New York City.  One family member was also a witness when she married, all indications that they were very close.  The questions we now have are; are they related and are they from the same area? 

We have found the family she stayed with in several later census’ noting when the parents are not present anymore, indicating when they might have died.

We have found death dates in the indexes that might be her and her husband.  After sending for them and reviewing all the information to confirm that they are the correct people, we hope it might indicate where in Ireland.

We have also decided to send for the birth certificates of their children who are listed in the census at the time the Grandmother lived with the family.  We hope on their birth certificates there is mention of a place of origin for their mother or father.

So with these two research problems you can see how helpful the census records are and why the genealogy world is very excited to have another being released to the public.

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