Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jumping in the 1940 Census Pool

After two days of doing genealogy work for others, I finally found a chance to peek at the 1940 census this evening. I decided to start with my paternal grandparents, since I knew where they were supposed to be then.  My grandparents were living in Los Angeles, near USC. It was in this house, as it is seen in present day:

I used Steve Morse's easy peasy tool to determine the  enumeration district (ED 60-1205). Then I clicked on the link provided and went right to that ED. On page 32 of 33, I found them!

No big surprises here. It's my grandparents and uncle. My dad and his sister would come later. The family was living in a house they owned. I knew this, too, because they had it built. The house was worth $4250. Both of my grandparents had 4 years of college noted in the education column. In 1935, they were single, both living in their respective Oklahoma hometowns. Also not new information to me.

My grandfather's occupation was "feed man." The census says he was the owner of a feed store. I happen to know it was South Vermont Feed & Seed, named for the street it was on in Los Angeles. It's hard to believe this now-crammed (and kinda scary) part of Los Angeles once had a need for feed, but it did. On this census, my grandpa reported working 48 hours a week.

But wait, what is this on the census form I spy with my little eye?

I hit the supplemental questions lottery on my very first ancestor search! For my family, this means every 20th person in the 1940 census was asked a series of supplemental questions. My grandpa was one of those selected. These questions included the birthplaces of his parents, veteran status (no), and possession of a federal social security number (no, not until 1951 or so). Unfortunately no surprises here, either.

So there you go. One family down in the 1940 census, many more to go. Some will have to wait for the index, because they moved a lot and I have no idea where they might have been in 1940.

As for these grandparents, when the 1950 census becomes available, they'll be in Pomona, California. And get ready, dad, because you'll be in that one.


  1. What luck to get a supplementary question on the very first find. I've hit them a couple times, but they've all been on collateral relatives (such as my 2nd great grandfather's brother's wife) so not much help.

  2. I learned today that the supplementary questions may not be that much help if the person who answered the enumerator's questions was the one who answered the supplementaries too. I'm thinking my then-77-year-old great-great-grandfather's questions were answered by his daughter-in-law, who may have been guessing on some.

  3. Thanks for your tip on the enumeration tool! I've been just going through the whole lot of images one by one trying to find the right one! Should make it alot easier!!!