Monday, April 2, 2012

Enumeration District Maps on

Having had much better success finding 1940 U.S. Census images on than on the NARA website (I still have not been able to see, let along download images there), I thought that I would see if the 1940 Enumeration District Maps were easier to use on than on the NARA Online Public Access (OPA) site (

The U.S. Enumeration District Maps and Descriptions, 1940 collection is at

I entered "San Fran" in the "Location" and selected the "San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA" item and  clicked on "Search" -- and that gave me no matches.  I got 620 matches when I picked "San Francisco County, California, USA" from the list.

I had used the Steve Morse Unified 1940 Census ED Finder previously ( and knew that I wanted ED 405.  So I searched for ED 405 and got:

I clicked on the link for ED 405.  The result page showed:

I was thinking "this is easy - they've linked to each ED!  Cool, the NARA map set doesn't do that.

Um, the map set doesn't do it either.  The Ancestry set of ED maps for San Francisco has 13 maps and you have to know where the street was in order to figure out which map has the target ED on it.  I knew that, and finally found 1287 37th Avenue on Map #7 of 13, but these maps are large images and take some time to download.

It worked, and this map was readable, but some of the ones I saw for San Francisco were difficult to read.

I tried San Diego maps on also, and finally found my Fern Street map with the ED on it in a set of 46 different maps.

My opinion is that, for large cities, researchers should use a site like Google Maps to find the address, note the cross and back streets, and then use the Steve Morse Unified 1940 Census ED Finder.

For large cities, my opinion is that the NARA OPA site is easier to use than the ED maps.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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