Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Guess Your Ancestor's 1940 Census Data

This is a fool's errand in my case, but I'll play!  Live, from Randy Seaver's Genea-musings, it's Saturday Night! 

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it (come on, you know that you want to!), is to:

1)  Pick one of the persons from your ancestry who should be in the 1940 United States Census.

2)  Using the column headings below (from 1940 United States Census Questions), predict what the entries will be in each column.

3)  Share your predictions on your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook status or a Google Plus post."

  I'm going to take my chances with my father, Arden Packard (no middle name).  I actually have no idea where he and my mother were in 1940, but I will take a stab at it.  My predicted column entries are in red:

*  State:  California or Florida
*  Populated Place: Could be Pensacola, Jacksonville, or Miami, Florida or Los Angeles (least likely), Glendale, or Pasadena, California.
*  Ward of City:  No clue
*  County:  Either Escambia, Duval, or Dade counties, Florida, or Los Angeles County, California.
*  Township or other division of county:  I do not know.
*  Block Nos.:  I do not know
*  Enumeration District:  I do not know, and have no basis on which to hazard a guess.

1.  Location - street, avenue or road:  I do not know
2.  Location - house number:  I do not know

3.  Number of household:  I do not know
4.  Home owned or rented:  Rented.  They never owned a house the whole time they were married.
5.  Value of home (if owned) or monthly rental (if rented):  $60-80/mo, and that is strictly a guess!
6.  Does this household live on a farm?  No
7.  Name of person:  Arden Packard
8.  Relationship of this person to head of household:  Head of household

9.  Sex:  Male
10.  Color or Race:  White
11.  Age at last birthday:  28 (birth date 29 April 1911)
12.  Marital Status:  Married

13.  Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940:  No
14.  Highest grade of school completed:  college graduate

15.  Place of birth:  California
16.  Citizenship of foreign born: N/A

17.  Residence on 1 April, 1935 - City or town:  possibly Norfolk, VA (stationed on an aircraft carrier out of Norfolk)
18.  Residence on 1 April, 1935 - County: N/A (Norfolk is an independent city)
19.  Residence on 1 April, 1935 - State or foreign country: Virginia
20.  On a farm?  No

21.  Was this person AT WORK for pay or profit in private or nonemergency Gov't. work during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No): Yes
22:  If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No): No
23. If neither at work nor assigned to public emergency work. ("No" in Cols. 21 and 22), Was this person SEEKING WORK (Yes or No):  No
24. If not seeking work, did he HAVE A JOB, business, etc.? (Yes or No):  Yes
25. Indicate whether engaged in home house-work (H), in school (S), unable to work (U), or other (Ot): N/A
26. Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940: 40
27. If seeking work or assigned to public emergency work. ("Yes" in Col. 22 or 23); Duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940 - in weeks:  0

28.  Occupation: Trade, profession, or particular kind of work, as frame spinner, salesman, rivet heater ,music teacher:  engineer
29. Industry: Industry or business, as cotton mill, retail grocery, farm, shipyard, public school: I have no idea
30. Class of worker: skilled [?]
31. Number of weeks worked in 1939 (Equivalent full-time weeks): I have no idea

32.  Income in 1939 (12 months ended December 31, 1939): Amount of money wages or salary received (including commissions):  $8,000-10,000 [and boy, is THAT a guess!]
33. Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary (Yes or No): No
34.  Number of farm schedule: N/A

Well, there it is.  Pure guesswork.  It will be interesting, once I do find out where they were, how well -- or poorly! -- my guesses line up with the facts.

1940 Census: Getting Ready has provided us, the 1940 Census Aces, with some information about Monday's release of the 1940 census images:

The National Archives and Records Administration will open the 1940 U.S. Federal Census on April 2, 2012—the first time this collection will be made available to the public. Once we receive the census, we will begin uploading census images to our site so the public can browse them. Initially, this collection will be what we call a browse-only collection. This means a person can scroll through the pages of the census districts much like you would look at a microfilm or a book. At the same time, we will be working behind the scenes to create an index of the census that will eventually allow people to search for their family members by name as they currently can with all other censuses on Note also that the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be accessible free of charge throughout 2012 on

As to how long it will take to get all the states online, this is going to be a rather massive project.  As puts it:  "We like to use this analogy: think about how long it takes to upload all of the images on a memory card onto a home computer. Now imagine that memory card holds 3.8 million, very-high-definition images. You get the picture."

Sure, it will take some time.  And during the upload process, they will be working on the index, too.  I will be one of the ones waiting for the index to come out, because I do not have the slightest clue where to look for my parents.  I have other things to keep me busy in the meantime, including (and chiefly) getting ready to graduate from college.

So get ready!  The 1940 census is coming!

Now I think I'll go play with some ED maps, because I know where my grandparents were!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fearless Females: Words of Wisdom

Today's blogging prompt comes from Lisa Alzo,  The Accidental Genealogist:  Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

My mother was a one-man woman  She met and married my father in Pensacola, Florida, where he was a young Naval aviator, not long out of Annapolis, undergoing flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station.  They were together until he died in 1954.  She never remarried.

Like my mother, I am a one-man woman, and I found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with when I was in college.  And he was right in my own backyard - we had known each other since the age of seven, and attended the same church, though we went to different schools due to the drawing of boundary lines for each school in our district.  In high school, we were best friends.

But courtship is not always smooth, and there was a time when we agreed not to see each other.  That was a stressful time for me, and I felt very low at the time.

Then my aunt, who had never married, gave me some words of wisdom.  She told me that if he really loved me, he would return.  He did, and we were married in 1971, and have been together ever since.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just how wrong can a source be?

Sometimes, it can be plenty wrong!

The other day, my older daughter and I somehow got onto the subject of errors in official documents.  I told her I had a doozy in my files.

The military has a database called the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, known as DEERS.  Several years ago, when my husband and I first got involved with the military health system, we went to get our data into the system.  There was some wildly incorrect information already in the system about me.

Hilariously incorrect.

First of all, I am old, but not this old -- it had my birth year as 1683.  Please, people -- 1947 is long ago enough.

They actually had two databases being compared.  The other one had my birth date correct.  However, the DEERS database had my sex as "unknown" and the other database had me listed as a male.

Does someone need a pair of glasses?  I am quite recognizably female.  Besides, I've known a woman named Clifford, and read a historical document which mentioned a woman named Russell, but I have never heard of a male named Karen.

The DEERS data also had me as being on active duty at the time.  No, by that time, it had been about 20 years since I had been on active duty.

The data got straightened out, and now the system has correct information about me.

Just remember, if you see an ancestor's information on a government report or document, do not assume automatically that it has been well-vetted!  The information on it could be incorrect, and should be verified in other sources.

Friday, March 2, 2012

North Florida Genealogy Conference

Tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) is the second annual North Florida Genealogical Conference.  Last year, the conference was held at the main library of the Jacksonville Public Library system.  The conference was well-attended and quite a success.  This year, it has a different venue -- the LDS church in Orange Park.  One advantage to this year's venue is ease of parking!

I will be presenting one of my favorite talks, Spanish and English Paleography (old handwriting), showing attendees what to expect when looking at documents from the 16th through the 18th centuries.  This has been one of my more popular talks, and has been well-received wherever I have given it, from Tampa to Atlanta.

I will also be presenting my talk on beginning genealogy, which I call "Bare Bones."  I will be presenting this one in Spanish, and for that language, the title is "Primeros Pasos" (First Steps).  This will be a first for me, presenting in Spanish.  I hope it will go off well. 

And last night, I also volunteered to give "Bare Bones" in English in another slot, as one of the scheduled speakers has had to bow out due to an acute medical situation.  We all hope his health improves soon, and without complications.

The PowerPoints are all prepared, and today, after my class, I need to prepare the handout for "Primeros Pasos," and print all the handouts for the three presentations.

And Sunday, I think I'll just stay in bed!