Genealogy Talks and Resources
Joel Weintraub, PhD

Learn How To Search the 1940 Census by Location

Genealogy Talks and Resources
Joel Weintraub, PhD


Current Talks by Joel Weintraub:

Introduction to the U.S. Census
Introduction to Jewish Genealogy
California Birds and A. L. Heermann
"Manifest Destiny": Names at Ellis Island
The Ellis Island Name Change Myth
Finding "Waldo" at Ellis Island
Group Simulation for Ellis Island
Searching the Censuses of New York City
Getting the Most Out of the 1940 Census Forms
Why the 72 Year Rule: Lessons for Genealogists
Crowdsourcing the Path to the 1950 U.S. Census
Genealogical Standards and the Biographies of A. L. Heermann

Joel Weintraub, a New Yorker by birth, is an emeritus Biology Professor at California State University, Fullerton and has won awards for his science teaching. He became interested in genealogy about 15 years ago, and volunteered for 9 years at the National Archives and Records Administration in southern California. Joel produced locational tools for the 1900 through 1940 federal censuses, and the New York State censuses for NYC (1905, 1915, 1925) for the Steve Morse "One-Step" website (stevemorse.org).  He, Steve, and their volunteers, are currently working on 1950 U.S. census tools.  If you want to help with the 1950 project, email Joel.  He has published articles on the U.S. census, searching records in NYC, and biographical revision of AL Heermann, and has given presentations on census and biographical research, immigration and naturalization, and Jewish genealogy.  His hobbies include birding, collecting census memorabilia, and making interesting PowerPoint presentations. 

Joel has spoken to a number of organizations on biography and genealogy topics.  That includes: American Library Association Anaheim CA, Association of Professional Genealogists - Orange County CA branch, British Isles FHS-USA Los Angeles CA, California Genealogical Society, Chula Vista Genealogical Society CA, Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society, Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego CA, DearMyrtle Webinar on the 1940 Census, Escondido Family History Fair CA, Family History Center of Orange CA, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Jewish Genealogical Society of British Columbia, Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles CA, Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, Genealogical Society of North Orange County California, Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society CA, Jewish Genealogical Society Conejo Valley and Ventura CA,
Jewish Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (June 2018), Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento CA, Jewish Genealogical Society of San Diego CA, Jewish Genealogical Society of Southern Nevada, National Archives and Records Administration - Laguna Niguel CA, Marin County Genealogical Society CA, Niguel Shores (Dana Pt) Women's Club and Men's Club CA, North San Diego County Genealogical Society CA, OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at California State University Fullerton CA, OLLI at University of California Irvine, Orange County California Genealogical Society, Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society CA, Orange County Natural History Lecture Series CA, POINTers in Person Encinitas CA, Questing Heirs Genealogical Society Long Beach CA, Root Cellar - Sacramento Genealogical Society CA, San Bernardino Audubon Society (Redlands CA), San Diego Jewish Genealogical Society CA, San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society CA,  San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society CA, Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society CA, San Diego Genealogical Society CA, Sea and Sage Audubon Society CA, South Bay Cities Genealogical Society, South Orange County California Genealogical Society CA, Southern California Genealogical Society (Burbank Jamboree), Ventura County Genealogical Society CA, Whittier Area Genealogical Society CA.

Joel has channeled his interest in Ellis Island into his latest talks, including: "Manifest Destiny": Names at Ellis Island; The Ellis Island Name Change Myth; Finding Waldo at Ellis Island.  In addition, Joel working with the Washington State JGS produced a one hour simulation for members introducing them to the procedures and documents of immigrants going through Ellis Island.  See the flyer for the talk and simulation at http://tinyurl.com/yc3mx6v5  This main immigration station into the U.S. was most active from 1892 through 1924.   About 70% of immigrants to the U.S. during this time came through Ellis Island.  The Ellis Island talks may include the history of the Island including the Wall of Honor, and the changing Ship Manifest forms of the Immigration Service;  the pressures of the "Great Migration" leading to immigration quotas;  the persistent myth of name changes at Ellis Island.  Twenty percent of immigrants ended up on detention sheets, and most of these talks find out where those can be found. Talks on finding elusive ancestors at Ellis Island include case studies involving as many as nine search strategies.  After these presentation, my audiences should have a clearer idea of the process the immigrants went through, and a greater appreciation of the Manifest as a genealogy research tool.  To see an essay by Joel on the myth of name changes, go to http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/ellismythnames.html

Another recent talk that Joel developed concerns the biographies of an important mid-19th century collector of natural history in California and the Southwest.  Forty years after the death of Adolphus Heermann, the first biography appeared based mainly for personal information on two people who knew him.  Very little is presented on his early years.  The next biography relied on information provided on the family by a granddaughter of his father, and that turned out to be inaccurate, but most subsequent studies used the same information.  By using modern approaches to family research, Joel has been able to document the true date of birth and death of this naturalist, and to fill in many important details of his fascinating life.  The talk emphasizes, in a case study, the pitfalls and promises of genealogy research and what is the nature of documentation and genealogy "facts."  When this talk was given to natural history groups, the collecting experiences of A. L. were emphasized.  (This research was published in the Journal Cassinia.  To see a scan of the article: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12108455/Cassinia%20Paper.pdf)


Links for "Searching the US Census by Geographical Means" (Locational Searches)

A. Census Bureau Age Search

B. Census Day of Federal Censuses
C. Enumerator Instructions
D. Ancestry Search - Census Years

D. One Step Ancestry Search Engine
E. Steve Morse One Step Website
F. NARA 1930 ED Finder
G. One Step 1880-1940 ED Definitions
H. One Step 1900-1940 City ED Finder
I. City Directories: Inventory
I. NARA City Directories Circa 1930
I. Family History Library City Directories
I. Don Krieger's City and Street Directories
J. Volunteer Site to Look Up Records
K. One Step 1920-1930-1940 ED Finder/Converter
L. One Step City Street Name/Renumbering Changes
~~~Talk Handout~~~

Links for "The US Census: Questions, Confidentiality, and the 72 Year Rule"

(Alternate Title: Why the 72 Year Rule: Lessons for Genealogists)

A. Joel's 2008 Article in Roots-Key on the 72 Year "Rule"

B. 1952 Exchange of Letters
C. 72 Year Rule (In Part b)

D. 1973 Hearing
E. 1976 Hearing
F. CDC Life Expectancy Tables

G. Census Access Rules (Appendix 3 Flaherty)
H. 1975 Hearing/Access Restrictions/Federal Register 1977 Notice
~~~ Timeline/Talk Handout~~~

One Step Website Background

Using One Step Utilities (Essay by Steve Morse)
2007 Video Interview: Eastman/Morse/One Step Site

Links for "Preparing Locational Tools for the 1940 Census Opening"

(Updated title: 1940 Census: Locational Search Tools For Finding Families)

A. 1940 Questions IPUMS
B. 1940 Schedule

C. 1940 Questions NARA
D. Hotel Enumeration Form
E. Confidential Wage Form

F. One Step 1940 ED Definitions
G. One Step 1900-1940 City ED Finder
H. One Step 1930-1940 ED Finder/Converter
I. One Step City Street Name/Renumbering Changes
J. 1940 Census Bureau Reports
K. Text (and some audio) transcriptions of Two 1940 Radio Spots

L. U.S. Mobility 1935 to 1940
M. Draft Copy of Jensen's Procedural History of the 1940 Census of Population and Housing

N. National Archives (NARA) 1940 Info Website

"Preparing for the 1940 Census Opening"

~~~ Talk Handout~~~

  "Here Comes the 1940 Census (75 minute talk)"

~~~ Talk Handout ~~~

"Navigating the New York Census with Fewer Tears (input fr
om Steve Morse)"  (Updated to include both  Federal and State Censuses)

~~~ Talk Summary ~~~


Websites for Census Talks on 1940 Census

1. Origin of 72 year Rule (Joel's Paper): http://www.stevemorse.org/census/rule72.html
2. NARA 1952 Exchange of Letters:
3. Section 2108 spelling out "rule": http://www.archives.gov/about/laws/#nara
4. NARA 1940 website:  http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/index.html
5. Enumerator Handbook pdf:  http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/complete-instructions.pdf
6. IPUMS Enumerator Handbook Instructions 1850-1950: http://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/tEnumInstr.shtml
7. NARA 1940 Population Schedules Website:  http://1940census.archives.gov/search/#searchby=location&searchmode=browse&year=1940
8. NY Public Library 1940 Telephone Directories: http://directme.nypl.org/
9. One-Step 1940 Schedule Codes:  http://www.stevemorse.org/census/codes1940.html
10. One-Step Large City ED Finder:  http://www.stevemorse.org/census/index.html
11. One-Step 1940 ED Definitions:  http://www.stevemorse.org/ed/ed.php
12. One-Step 1930 to 1940 ED # Conversions:  http://www.stevemorse.org/census/ed2040.php
13. One-Step (all in one tool) Unified Page:  http://www.stevemorse.org/census/unified.html
14. One-Step 1940 ED maps:  http://www.stevemorse.org/census/xml1940edmaps.html
15. One-Step Comprehensive 1940 Tutorial: http://www.stevemorse.org/census/quiz.php

The 1940 Census June 2012 ALA Handout

Talk Outline:  1. The 1940 Census: a. Why and How; b. The Undercount; c. Notations and Codes;      d. Some 1940 questions.  2. Online searches: a. Name Searches; b. Searches by ED definitions & Maps; c. Searches using One-Step Tools; d. Troubleshooting

Constitution: Count number of free people excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons; The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.

72 Year Rule: 1902 Census Bureau established; 1934 National Archives established; 1942 Precedent established; 1952 Precedent formalized; 1978 Precedent codified

1940 Census Coverage: Continental United States; Alaska; American Samoa; Guam; Hawaii; Panama Canal Zone; Puerto Rico; Virgin Islands of US

Undercount = people missed on census: Movement; Refused to participate; Inaccurate enumerator maps/addresses; Crowded areas difficult to count; Isolated areas difficult to count

Enumerators: Good handwriting, could follow  written instructions, paid by the piece of work, had many tools for people not at home, could ask neighbors for information

Numbering, Notations and Codes:  3 sequences of page numbers (transients), who gave information, codes based on existing schedule information and put on sheets well after actual enumeration

Some 1940 Census Topics: Sampling, Education, Movement 1935 to 1940, Wages controversy, Married women sampling questions controversy

Name indexes: The Good- Efficient way of finding people; Don’t have to know about enumeration or construct of enumeration district; Get to right page without going through the entire ED. The Bad: Problem of unusual sounding names; Some people gave incorrect names; May have abbreviated names or put down nicknames; Confidentiality and penmanship; Name entry errors; Impaired census images; Handwriting interpretation.  USE WILDCARDS AND RELAX ASSUMPTIONS

Locational Searches: To find people when name indexes fail; To confirm a missed address; To look up “John Smith”; To find the history of a house; If there isn’t a name index. 

Address/location Sources: Address Books; Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates; City Directories and Telephone Directories (about 1/3 of US residential units had phones in 1940) including NYC; Diaries;  Employment Records; Letters, Envelopes, and other correspondence; Local Newspapers;  Naturalization Records; Photographs; Relatives; School and Church Records; Scrapbooks; Social Security Application; Their 1930 ED location if they haven't moved; WW II Draft Registration

Enumeration Districts:  Abbreviated ED;  Area an enumerator counts;  Each has a unique, two-part number within the state; Boundaries and ED numbers often change every 10 years

Using ED definitions….. great for rural areas, poor for urban areas. Boundary definitions and block definitions for urban areas.  What is on the original films and what was transcribed.

Using Maps… can be very good but may be missing for an area, multiple numbers on maps, no ED # prefix in many large cities, illegible, not indexed.  At NARA’s OPA, 1940 website, One-Step utility

Street Indexes on One-Step site: stevemorse.org NOT stevemorse.com.  Volunteers, have over 1,215 urban areas and covers 82% of urban populations in 1940.  Block searches.  Block numbers.  Example of use and assumptions

Conversion of 1930 ED # to a 1940 ED # One-Step tool.

One-Step Unified Tool

One-Step Tutorial

Troubleshooting 1940 Negative Locational Searches

My general strategy: 1. Redo the problem search; 2. Use 1930 One-Step ED Finder (if the urban area is there) and if an ED # is found, convert this 1930 #  to a 1940 #(s) and then…; 3. Check #(s) on 1940 ED definition scan to find the block of interest and see if there is an omission; 4. Check census ED map versus modern map for location to see if out of city limits in 1940; 5. If needed, I would check my 1930/1940 city maps and guides library.  The following are specific situations that are often brought to my attention.

No street name on One-Step locational index or street not shown within ED specified: Out of city limits in 1940?; “City limits” on 1940 ED definitions hides the underlying street name (which is the name searched for); Renamed street; Transcription error leading to omission; Not a residential street therefore not shown on population schedule; Street added to make search strategy work but isn’t covered by that ED #; McMillan/MacMillan, De Witt/Dewitt confuses user and doesn't find the street on the list; No street modifiers on city’s data set but is correct listing; Have misspelled street name; Shown as “unknown” on ED definitions or illegible or not named on 1940 ED map or description

Nonsense ED or very wrong #s: Renumbering of addresses?; Used ED definitions for boundary city for locational search; Misread map or misread address?;Entered non-block (outside) street name as cross or back street; Need to ask where did address come from?  Year?; Use another modern mapping program to see if location non on that block or on that side of street

Where is 15 Oak?: found 11, 13, 17, 19 Oak---Check Pages 61… where the enumerator went back and got people missed on the first sweep of area; Get block # and check that Enumerator covered that block.... the number is written on the top of the census page; Check Name Index but probability of finding person when can't find the house is low; 5% of Population Was Missed on the 1940 census

Where is 15 Oak?: found 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 or 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 thus you are close, address may be in adjacent ED; Was this a search based on ED boundary definitions?; Use different mapping program for area to see if the location maps on a different block or side of street; Find ED # on Census map and look for adjacent EDs and their numbers; Check ED definition on the NARA scans for area EDs and definitions

Joel's Email: census1940@cox.net