Friday, March 16, 2012

How Can I Find Out Where My Folks Lived in 1940?

We should all be asking this question as we prepare for the release of the 1940 United States Census on 2 April 2012.  The reason for asking the question is that there will not be an every-name index for the census until later in 2012.  If we want to find our folks in the census, we need to know their location.  Having an address in urban areas will really help.

What resources might provide clues to their address?

*  Ask family members and relatives if they know.

*  Find family papers, letters and envelopes sent by postal mail to or from your family members.

*  Diaries and scrapbooks may provide clues.

*  Family photographs might be dated and place-named from that period of time.

*  Vital records of family members may provide an address.

*  Newspaper articles or obituaries of relatives may provide the place of residence.

*  School records of family members

*  Church records (baptisms, confirmations, marriages, funerals, etc.)

*  Land deeds of family members executed around 1940.

*  Cemetery records, including gravestone inscriptions, may provide clues.

*  Passports of family members obtained or stamped around 1940.

*  Naturalization records obtained around 1940

*  United States Alien registration around 1940.

*  Passenger lists for family members who traveled abroad around 1940.

*  Military records from World War II, including World War II draft registration forms ad enlistment forms.

*  Social Security Applications (if you have them) for persons born around 1940, or for persons who signed up around 1940, might provide an address.

*  The 1930 U.S. Census will provide the address ten years before - you can start there!  But people moved a lot, especially from the Midwest states to the West.

*  Voter Registration records provide an address for registered voters.

*  City Directories will provide an address, and are probably the best resource.  Local libraries should have nearly complete runs of them in each city or town.  Some are online on from the 1940 time period.

What other record sets do you recommend for finding addresses of your folks in the 1940 U.S. Census?

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

For people born before 1940 their home address may show on their birth certificate as it does for my brother.

Wonderland Girl said...

After realizing that my parents did not live in the same house I was born in, 7 years later, I scrabbled around in my files and found a notification of my older brother's birth certificate being available from the state of Oregon. The envelope was there as well, with address, dated in January 1941. I'm ready to look for my parents in the 1940 census.