Yesterday I tested the 1940 census Enumeration District maps on addresses that I knew - that of my aunt and uncle in Glendale, California, which I suspect will reveal a clue as to where my father and mother were in the 1940 census, and of the home of my father-in-law's parents in Jacksonville, Florida.
Remembering well the layout of the street on which my aunt and uncle lived, as well as the street on which they owned another home which they rented out, I was able to find the Glendale district map in no time.
Jacksonville has been a much harder nut to crack. As I said in yesterday's blog entry, the map for the district in which my father-in-law's family lived was not there. I found, in Dear Myrtle's blog, another way to approach the ED maps, through the Online Public Access. What I found there was even more frustrating, because I was made to feel like King Tantalus, the desired goal being just out of reach.
What happened is that the access to the ED maps for Jacksonville revealed that there are more maps than are showing. In fact, there are, under each of the three divisions mentioned in yesterday's entry, multiple maps. Under Jacksonville itself, there are six maps, but I could get only one to show up. I would select for "Jacksonville," and very briefly I saw six selections flash by. The browser did not stop on the six selections, but jumped immediately to displaying the first one. No matter how may times I clicked on the next page button, I could not get the view to budge off that first map, the same one I saw last night.
I do not know whether that was a glitch caused by too many hits on the website or what. I guess I'll have to try again. Or perhaps the National Archives need to put up instructions for the feebly inept, such as myself.
However, that is my adventure with the known.
Today I had a little adventure with the unknown. It is a bit easier to use the ED maps if you have in your own head a clear map of the area from having lived there or visited there. Much harder is it, says Yoda, if you have no familiarity with the area. Just for a test, I picked Chicago. I found someone, their identity is not relevant, in the 1930 census and noted the address of their dwelling. I then went to the Chicago ED maps, and had the same experience I had with Jacksonville: I could not access more than the first one. There were more, I just could not get at them.
Also, when I did look at the one map of Chicago I could get, there were no street names on a large portion of it. A study of a marked street map, preferably one from 1940, would in this case be necessary.
So for me, there is a lot of work involved in using the ED maps.
I could just take the easy way out and wait until the index is done. But I will at least search in Glendale, for which the ED map has been quite helpful, to see if my mother and father were there in 1940.