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1940 US Census Community Project

The 1940 Census – One Year Later

This week has been a tough one for me. I never realized how hard it is to get back to your routine after a vacation! My vacations are usually quick weekend trips somewhere. They’re usually filled with so much planning and activity that we’re on the road home before I realize the vacation had even started. That wasn’t the case last week though! My Aunt Melinda, cousin Patty, Patty’s daughters and my family all made a two day trek down to Florida to visit my brother. We spent a whole day in St. Augustine, FL to get things started. I think that helped the rushed feeling go away. Then we descended on my brother’s house in the Fort Lauderdale area. We had no plans for our time there. So from Monday through Friday, we got up, got dressed and decided then what we felt like doing that day. Sometimes it was shopping, sometimes it was sightseeing, and some days it was just walking around his neighborhood for a little relaxation. It was wonderful!

Now that I’m back and rested, I’m finding it hard to get caught up but I wouldn’t exchange that week for the world! Plus, my last two months were spent on my brother’s birthday present and now I’m a little lost as to what to do during the day. Not that I don’t have plenty to do, I was just so used to getting up and working on that quilt!

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To get myself back on track, I’ve taken up the motto “little steps are better than no steps.” Somedays I get more done than others but I’m still moving and that’s what counts. There were a few subjects that came up leading up to my vacation and while I was gone that I wanted to comment on but didn’t have the time. I hope to bring up some of them a little later once I’m able to really read all the info on those subjects.



One of the subjects that came up this week, was the one year anniversary of the 1940 census release! I’ve been slowly getting 1940 census entries for my family tree, but in honor of the anniversary I wanted to do something bigger.

Checking my file showed me that I had only added about 120 1940 census citations. I think that’s a completely respectable number given the amount of time that has passed. We all broke a record on speed in indexing the census. I don’t think if you asked me this time last year I would have believed having 120 citations already! I decided that to go “bigger” I’d do a printout of my file for people that should have been alive during the census. To be on the safe side, I think I did anyone born after 1850 and then filtered out anyone who died before 1940. That left me with A LOT of people. 53 pages of people to be exact. Some of them I already have in those 120 citations, but I didn’t go through and cross them off first. I figured it would be easier to cross them off as I go down the list. Which I’ve completed one full page of already! I’m using a yellow highlighter for the ones I’ve found and using a blue highlighter for ones that might have passed away.

The only thing holding me back on some of the individuals is that I’ve got them cited with their parents but not after that. So instead of going through and finding them in every year leading up to 1940 and 1940, I’m just skipping them for now. I should probably do another highlighter color for that. In fact, I should have probably done green for found, yellow for skipped, and orange for the question marks/deceased. That would have been good to know one page ago, but I’ll probably still go ahead and switch to that color code. It makes more sense.

Enough rambling from me, time to get back to work!

Who I’ve Found in the 1940 Census

I’ve been indexing and searching the 1940 index since Monday. I’m sure plenty of you have too. For me, I wasn’t in a huge rush to see the images because obviously it’s another 10 years before another census is released. However, I was still excited to see the images! So I tried first thing and of course, there was an overload. As a website designer I’m very familiar with website overloads and slowed servers. So I was a bit disappointed in that, but decided to just try again on Tuesday.

The images are going up in many different places, the official 1940 US Census site,, FamilySearch, and My Heritage. There are probably more, but those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. For me, I’ve been mostly using the My Heritage site. It works best for my needs and it’s been super fast. Even in full screen view. So because of that I’ve been able to find all my grandparents and Great Grandparents in the 1940 Census already. Which is what I was hoping to find most. I’ve got some more generations in certain (more rural) parts of the country, but for now I’m just going to share my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents.


William L Moore, Llewellyn T Moore, William T Moore1

Database Links: William L Moore, Llewellyn Thorward-Moore

Clifford Herbert Redford

database link: Clifford Herbert Redford

Jane Parkin-Redford, Florence Redford2

database link: Jane Parkin-Redford, Florence Redford

My grandma actually was picked for the additional questions. Nothing new learned, but it feels like a win for some reason! She’s not the only one who got picked. I have a few more.

William H Mays, Iva Belle Moyer-Mays, Stanley Mays, Ralph Mays3

database link: William H Mays, Iva Belle Moyer-Mays, Stanley Mays

Interesting enough, the mysterious Ralph Mays was picked for the additional questions. Ralph has always been a special family member. I’ll have to write a post about that sometime.

Marshall Howard Taylor, Lula Applegate-Taylor, Emogene Taylor and siblings4

database link: none, they haven’t been added to the website database yet

This is the most interesting because I wasn’t looking for my Grandma Emogene and her parents here. I had actually looked for them in Bracken and Pendleton Counties in Kentucky first, but didn’t find them where I thought they were (or the usual folks to be honest). So I was looking for Moyers in the Washington township area of Clermont County, Ohio. To my surprise, BAM, there was the Taylors, in the midst of where I usually find Moyers. I knew the family must have eventually moved to Ohio, otherwise how would Grandma Emogene have met Grandpa Stanley? However, I didn’t know she was as young as she was when they moved. It really puts things into a new light. So now I have new questions about them:

  1. Why did they move between 1935 and 1940?
  2. Where did the other Taylors disappear to in 1940? I didn’t see them either.
Now, I haven’t delved back into the Taylors yet since my cleanup project, so I’ll have to see if there’s a mass exodus of the family, or if it was just a family losing a lot of it’s numbers and not having as many children as they used to.

So there you go! That’s all my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents.

My 1940 Census Cheat Sheet

Here’s a cheat sheet for anyone who is interested but doesn’t have my family tree memorized. (I don’t know why you would but I wanted to say that. ha) The checks stand for those that I’ve found and the red circles with the line through them are for people who were deceased before the census was taken. I don’t have exact death dates for a lot of my mother’s Mays side, but their birth dates were in the early 1800’s so it’s a common sense judgement call on my part.

I want to thank the US Census Bureau, The National Archives, FamilySearch, and My Heritage for all the hours of entertainment and research they’ve given me this week! I was on a bit of a vacation so it was destiny I guess that everything worked out where I could devote so much time to indexing and researching!

  1. 1940 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2340. Essex County, New Jersey. West Caldwell township, ED 373, sheet 02-A, family 38, William L Moore; digital image, My Heritage ( []
  2. 1940 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2341. Essex County, New Jersey. West Orange township, ED 393, sheet 01-A, family 9, Clifford Redford; digital image, My Heritage ( []
  3. 1940 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 3041. Clermont County, Ohio. Monroe township, ED 015, sheet 17-B, family 367, William H Mays; digital image, My Heritage ( []
  4. 1940 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 3041. Clermont County, Ohio. Washington township, ED 029, sheet 05-A, family 84, M H Taylor; digital image, My Heritage ( []

The Census and the Presidency

I have a little fun sometimes, and I look up United States Presidents in the census. Don’t try to tell me you haven’t! In fact, I look up a lot of people in the census, not just presidents. This entry isn’t about them though, it’s about the presidents aspect.

Here are some interesting things I’ve learned about past presidents through the census.

  • Even though George Washington didn’t die until 1799 and was president at the time of the 1790 census, I was unable to find him on the census. There were only two George Washingtons that came up in both and FamilySearch searches. One lived in Massachusetts and the other in South Carolina. I’ll forgive our first president though, he was kind of busy at the time. You know forming a government and a little ol’ place called Washington D.C.

Also, am I the only one out there who wishes they could go back in time and just get a peek at Washington D.C. before all those monuments were built? Or maybe to see the White House and Capitol building but have nothing else be there? How strange would that be?

  • Martin van Buren was the eighth president but the first one to appear on the 1850 census, well actually the first president in the chronological list. He was joined in the 1850 census by fourteen other future and current presidents. Including a posthumous Zachary Taylor and his vice president Millard Fillmore.
  • A fun fact is if you happen to come across the presidents, there are usually arrows pointing to them in the margins!

Just from the 1850 census (no other outside influences), I learned that two presidents are the sons of ministers, Chester A Arthur and Grover Cleveland. Two presidents listed their post-presidency occupations as farmers: Martin Van Buren and John Tyler. There were many variations of pre-presidency occupations, Lawyer (Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B Hayes), Farmer (James Buchanan), Congressman (Andrew Johnson), and Army (Ulysses S Grant).

This obviously leads me to the 1940 census and what presidents should be on them. If you don’t keep count like me (because I’m weird), there should be eleven, Herbert Hoover, FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H W Bush. No president appears for the first time in the 1940 census, but a lot of them are becoming of age. So there should be some interesting details to be had!

The president at the time of the 1940 census was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He happens to be one of my Mom’s favorite presidents. Not because she lived during his time, but because she was always fascinated by him as a person. Some celebrities who could possibly be making their first census appearance are Tom Brokaw, Smokey Robinson, Peter Fonda, and Chuck Norris.

Who do you look for in the census as a guilty pleasure?

I’m a 1940 US Census Blog Ambassador

Photo: #1940censusA, U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office.

This is the first time in my family history adventures that I’m going to be witnessing the release of a census record. I wasn’t seriously researching at the time that the 1930 census was released, so I’m a little bit excited… Okay I’m a lot excited. I have a lot of family connections all over the country that started to lose touch around the 1940s and 1950s. So I think the 1940 census will help me bridge a gap that has been lingering for a long time in my research.

I signed up to be a blog ambassador as soon as I heard about it. One of the things that this program is meant to do is drum up some excitement about the census being released. I’m excited, so that’s a checkmark! The big idea though is to transform this excitement into participation! How many of you out there love to research genealogy but it’s going to cost hundreds of dollars and time that you just haven’t got? I’m one of those people. A lot of the time most of my research is done online. I send away for records when I have a general idea or exact idea of what I’m looking for. Mostly though, it’s very hard for me to find the resources and time to get away. Hopefully I’ll be able to start doing one research trip a year in the summer, but so far it’s not been able to happen.

That’s why I want to help get people involved. One of the things I love doing is going onto FamilySearch and seeing what kind of collections have been added. For a girl in Southern Maryland who has a hard time getting to Ohio, Kentucky, and New Jersey for research purposes, this site has been a godsend! Now FamilySearch,, and are sponsoring a project, the 1940 US Census Community Project. The purpose is to round up volunteers to help index the 1940 US Census when it’s released in 36 days!

The goal is to have a free index for everyone as quickly as possible. Having an index helps everyone out, and it makes you feel good to volunteer. I’ve indexed thousands of records over the past few years and each time a new collection is added to the website, I feel like I’ve helped people like me, who can’t get as close to their roots as they’d like. If you’re afraid it might be too hard to start, trust me it’s not! You just install the indexing program and then download a batch from a group you are comfortable with! I definitely suggest starting with the Beginner levels, or at least a record you are familiar with.

I can’t wait to post some more 1940s inspired posts in the next month!

Disclaimer: I am volunteering as a Blog Ambassador for The 1940 US Census Community Project. I am not being compensated. I enjoy indexing and I love the results of indexers, so I want to get the word out!

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