Tag Archives: 1940 Census

What Were your Ancestors Doing in 1940

With the release of the 1940 Census in April, most genealogists have been spending time mining the census for any information they can find on their family. We have spent many hours trying to locate each ancestor to see how they were living in 1940, how did the depression affect them?

I was excited this week when I found my great-great uncle John O’Connell in the 1940 Census (thanks to all who indexed the state of New York, I found this with a shaking leaf on Ancestry.com). Not only was he still living with his wife, they also had a boarder.

John’s wife Beatrice was a music teacher and worked all 52 weeks of the year. how exciting to read that, given the times and how tight money was, I am amazed that she still had work. According to the census information, she worked for a private company. So, she could have been self employed or worked for a company. She did not work for the public schools.  She worked 8 hours per week. But, the important piece is that she is working.

John was lucky too! He worked all 52 weeks at a restaurant, that he owned at about 70 hours per week.

John O’Connell household, 1940 Census, Glens Falls, Warren, NY. Ancestry.com

John’s lived at 61 Sherman Ave. and his home was valued at $6,000 which is not so bad, it could definitely have been worse.

I would like to find out what restaurant John owned. I have already looked through the directory records on Ancestry and have not found any information on the restaurant. The only information that was given pertained to John, himself.

O’Connell, John. US City Directories, 1937 Glens Falls, NY. Ancestry.com

This tells me that John and Beatrice lived in a house at 61 Sherman Ave (same place as 1940 Census). John had business (bus) and it was in Hudson Falls (HF). I was able to determine the HF = Hudson Falls because another listing showed someone employed (emp) in Schndy (Schenectady).

So, do you have any thoughts how we can figure out what restaurant John owned? At this point, I have not looked at deeds or probate records for him.

*As a side not, I do know that by 1942 John was employed by Luzerne Villa from the US City Directory.*

Was Your Family Counted Twice

Over the weekend, I was searching page by page, ED by ED through the 1940 Census. Specifically, Raleigh County, WV. That is where my maternal family is from and I still need to find my grandparents. Since, I was not having any luck locating either grandparent with their families. I decided I should look for my grandfather’s grandparents, or my great-great grandparents. My logic was that my grandfathers family should be someplace close by. My great-great grandfather had a large parcel of land tha the split amongst his children. So I knew that there would be many Richmond families in the same vicinity.

What I found, made me question what I knew about the family and it made me call me mother to see what she knew as well. According to what I found, my Richmond family, John and Nettie lived with all their children, even the married ones. Yet, there is no mention of spouses of grandchildren. At first glance, I only notice my great-grandfather was there without his family. So, I placed a call to my mom and asked her if she ever heard her father talk about living someplace without his father. Mom was pretty sure he had never told her that. While she was telling me this. I started really looking at this record and saw many of the Hunter’s (my great-grandfather) siblings were marked as married and living at home. Very odd.

Roy Richmond Family and John E Richmond Family, 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co, West Virginia.

John Richmond Family (balance), 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co, West Virginia.

I understand that times were hard, so it is not inconceivable that some children might have had to move home in order to be able to afford to live. Heck, how many young adults have done that in our economic conditions.

But, what really made me start looking at what this record was telling me, is when I noticed that Roy was living there as well. I went to my database to verify who his spouse was, (this is a large family and I had never really spent a lot of time researching or even face to face with relatives on this line). Roy’s wife was Lily (last name currently unknown). Interesting, just above John E and Nettie Richmond are Roy and Lily Richmond and they are the same age. With this coincidence, I decided I needed to check one more family. Hunter and Roy had a sister, Mae, she married French Meadows and I know that I had already downloaded their page of the 1940 Census. I pulled it up and then went back to the page with John and Nettie to see if Mae was listed in their home as well. Guess what, she was. It seems that Nettie, supplied the enumerator with information on all her children.

French Meadows Family, 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co., West Virginia.

With this information, I know that I still need to search for Hunter Richmond with his wife Edith and their family. It also gives me a list of children for John and Nettie, now I can double-check and see if I am missing anyone from my research.

Making Comparisons With Each Census

Today, I spent time looking for my Italian in-laws. To be specific the home I was looking for was in Harrison, Westchester Co., NY this line belongs to my MIL, it was her mom and grandparents I was looking for. I was not 100% if the family had moved or not, as it is not a primary line I research. It is one of the lines I go to when I seem to be stuck at a dead-end and I am not sure where to proceed on my own lines.

So, I decided today was the day I would do a little Italian research. I am going to see my MIL tomorrow and I wanted to be able to tell her what I have found on her family this week (I had already found her dad and his mom in the 1940 Census this week).

I found the family, they were in the second of the two ED’s that Steve Morse’s website suggested I try. The searching did not take too long and I was happy to have another find this week. I stepped away from my research for many hours today to start my cooking for Easter dinner, we are bringing lasagna rolls.

Coming back to the computer, I started looking at all the tabs I have open and wondered why I was keeping them open (this is a major issue with me). One tab was ancestry and the 1930 census, another was the 1940 census. Both were the Italian family. I am not one that normally looks at the differences of each census, but I was curious to see if the family was in the same house. I can not say that I am 100% positive it was the same house, but it was the same street.

From there, I looked at the value of the home. Most of my family rented their homes, so it was nice to look at a family that actually owned their home and see what the house was worth in these different times. In 1930 the home was valued at $10,000, today that amount would range from $111,000 to $1,660,000 according to Measuring Worth.

In 1940, the value of the home was $3,300. Using the website above, it states that today that would range from $48,200 to $551,000. I wonder how accurate this site it, because that is a huge gap in numbers.

Personally, I was glad to see that all adult members of the house were working at the time of the census and that the youngest was still in school. Though, each of the adults had 16 weeks of being unemployed.

Usually, I just look at the make up of each family and who is in the house. The things I want to know are:

  • are there more children?
  • did a in-law move in?
  • what type of job did they have?

These are my basic need to knows when I look at a new census record. It is obvious that there is so much more to be analyzing with each census that is released. I am curious to see what this specific families home will be valued at in the 1950 US Federal Census.

Glimpsing into 1940

This past week was filled with scouring the 1940 Census to see what and who I can find. To be honest, it started out extremely frustrating when on Monday morning at 8:25 am I could not access anything on the website. I knew that there are bound to be problems with some of the website. But, I never expected to see nothing (and that was for over 12 hours).

At about 8:30 pm that night, I used my daughters computer and finally downloaded and ED that I was wanting to look at. Went to my computer to see if it would work and it did. I chalked this up to everyone being on Dear Myrtle’s webinar (which I am extremely happy that everyone was listening to her and giving me a break. I was ready to through all computers out the window. I know, I need a bit more patience and no I do not expect to finish my genealogy in one day. I just wanted to find 1 family and check the records out. Which I finally accomplished Monday night.

The first family I wanted to find was my German great grandparents, and I was successful.  See image below.

Jaegar Family, living at 3710 Southport Ave, Chicago, IL

After that I wanted to find their daughter Ida, this is the first time she would be enumerated as a wife, and she would have two children with her. Well, I spent many hours searching and came up with nothing. I reached out to my aunt to see if she remembered where the family should be. She was kind enough to send me the address of the home from when she was in school. I used that address to find the ED and searched through it. I found grandma!!!! How excited, I even emailed a copy of the census record to that aunt and two more. See image below for Grandma!

On the next page, I found my grandfather. He will become Ida’s second husband on 11 Jan 1947.  But, in 1940 he is still married to Janet and they are not living together.

Here’s Larry in 1940:

Larry O'Connell, living at 1458 Grace St., Chicago, IL

and finally, here is Janet and Bobby:

Janet and her son, Robert O'Connell, not sure of address at this point.

With Larry and Janet not living together, it is easy to assume that there was already marital problems. I wonder if any of them had an inkling of what was to come in the next seven years?

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