Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1940 Census

I certainly don't want to be left out of the discussions regarding the 1940 census.  Here is my experience to date.

I am a FamilySearch indexer and I did index three pages (120 names) on the first day - April 2.  They came online late in the afternoon.  My goal is to index at least three pages per day for the month of April.  I'll be away most of the month of May without computer access so I'll index more during April if at all possible.  I'm just picking whatever state pops up first - because my own states of interest - Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas - aren't available.  I was already an indexer, but these images are clear and readable - they are a pleasure to index.

Now, I was born in January of 1940 so I should be in this census.  The Instructions were to include those born prior to 1 April 1940 so that would be me.  I had the address of an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, that was on my Birth Certificate in January.  So early-on I went to the Steve Morse website and found the Enumeration District for that address - only one choice.  I was ready!  None of the sites had Tennessee available on April 2nd.  By Tuesday, the 3rd, Tennessee was up and I hurried to that Enumeration District.  Alas, alas - I found the address [obviously an apartment building which I expected] in a very short amount of time and the surrounding addresses reflected the block I had found through Google maps and Steve Morse's website.  No question this matched the address on my birth certificate.  But my parents and myself weren't there anymore.  Looks like they moved soon after my birth.  I'll have to wait for an Index for Nashville.  So sad!  I'll probably be clicking through that whole Enumeration District and those surrounding, as I have time - hoping they did not move far.

The success story.  My husband was born in early 1939 so should be age one in the 1940 Census.  I didn't know for sure, but believed his family was living in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas in 1940 - by the next year they had moved to Arkansas.  Without doubt his grandparents and great-grandparents were living in Ladonia, in 1940.  On Tuesday, April 3rd, I saw that Fannin County, Texas was up on and had only a single Enumeration District - 74-21.  Not surprising - I've visited this little town many times.  Was bigger then than now, but never largely populated.  There were only 36 images.  On 3B there they were!  My mother-in-law and father-in-law, my husband's older brother, age four, and one-year-old Robert D. Haden.   A poignant moment - my husband passed away in 2004 - the others deceased several years earlier.  From that small family only my husband's younger brother - not yet born in 1940 - is still living.  They were renting a house at 80 Church Street in Ladonia.  The next time I go back I can probably find the very house - and I'll be checking Google Earth.  My father-in-law was driving a truck for a wholesale vegetable company.  I happen to know that was his father's business - they grew a lot of sweet peppers and onions.  My husband's brother, when consulted at the time of his birth, had suggested they name my husband "Onion Plant".

With only 36 images for the whole town, I quickly found my husband's Haden grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as the families of two great uncles on the Haden side.  I found several cousins of my mother-in-law's family but surprisingly her parents aren't there.  However, they were farmers and it's likely they are in another Enumeration District outside the town - they have always been elusive in the Censuses.  I found Dr. Sam Fry who delivered my husband - rather he arrived just after the birth.  He was my mother-in-law's uncle on the maternal side.  Dr. Fry failed to note the baby's name on his birth certificate - years later when we ordered a copy, we discovered my husband was Baby Boy Haden.  Would you believe I own the antique oak hall tree that stood in Dr. Fry's reception area?   Dr. Fry had no children and when he died, his sister, my husband's maternal grandmother, inherited that piece of furniture and later gave it to us because of the very curious connection to the good doctor.

I have work to do - I did not download all of the above images and I'm sure in my haste to view the pages, I missed other people I'll recognize when I take the time.  My husband's families, both maternal and paternal, lived in this little town for over a century.  I also have two counties in Arkansas to visit....

Happy hunting to all of you!