Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Dear Randy: How Do You Explain This 1940 U.S. Census Entry?

Genea-Musings reader Jenny asked this question, noting:

"I ran across a scenario in a 1940 census record that I haven’t seen before and thought you might be able to explain the situation behind it.

"In trying to clean up profiles, I realized that I didn’t have the 1940 census record for a first cousin/once removed. What I found odd was that I did have the rest of her family listed in an entry for 1940. I found her several pages later listed with several other “miscellaneous” entries with referencing notation. You can see the notes on Marilyn Bossio tie back to the page with her parents, Peter and Mary Bossio and the rest of their children. I’ve attached the 2 records so you can see what I’m referencing. Do you know why several folks were listed along with Marilyn like this? I didn’t think the census taker came back to an area."

Here are the two 1940 U.S. census pages Jenny provided:

On the first image, the Peter Bossio family in Bonner County, Idaho is on Sheet 9A, in household #173, on lines 22 through 30 for the family members - Peter, wife Mary, and seven children.

On the second image, Marilyn Bossio (age 7) is on Sheet 61A on line 3.  Here is a magnified snip of the entry:

There is a notation in Column 3 that this is for household #173, and in the left margin is a note that the household is on page 9, line 22.  In Column 2, there is a note that the information was obtained on April 17th.

To Jenny's question - how did this happen?  

The answer is in the Instructions for Enumerators - Population and Agriculture - 1940 publication at

On page 26 and 27, Section 363 of the Instructions say:

So this section and other sections explains it - little Marilyn was not enumerated on the first visit on April 16, and the enumerator may have been notified about it, or left a form to fill out, and made a second visit on April 17 and added her to Sheet 61A, per the instructions.  Perhaps the father, who was the informant according to the first image, forgot about little 7 year old Marilyn on the first visit, or the enumerator didn't write it down.

Note that on Sheet 9A, there is a notation in the left margin for Peter Bossio to see page 61, line 3.  The key is to always note the notation in the left margin of the page, and then check Sheet 61A and following sheets to find persons missing from the enumeration the first time around.

The entire set of Instructions for the enumerators is interesting - how they tried to cover every potential problem that the enumerator might encounter.

Thank you to Jenny for asking the question, and I imagine this will be new information for some of the Genea-Musings readers.


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Kat said...

Thanks Randy! I had a similar issue with the 1910 census where a servant was enumerated on a separate page which contained various people from 12 different streets. There were six people from her street but the house numbers and family numbers related back to the correct families. I will have to check the 1910 instructions

Sharron said...

Thank you so much.