Pleas for Cooperation during the 1940 Census
Mar 23rd, 2012 by Jessica

Bad Year For a Census - Cooperate Please!

Bad Year For a Census - Cooperate Please!

This political comic was published on the front page of The San Diego Union newspaper on April 1, 1940. It joined several articles about the controversial census questions and the parties on either side of this epic census battle.

Bad Year for a Census – Cooperate, Please!

What’s your income and where did you get it – and is there a mortgage on your house?

Both Republicans and Democrats had a lot to gain – and lose – from the results of this critical census. Our country was making its way out of the Great Depression and heading straight into World War II. If only our ancestors knew what was coming in just two short years, they may have cooperated a little more with the enumerators.

Regardless of your political disposition, I urge you to volunteer as an indexer for the 1940 Census.

Did you know you can index from your smartphone or your tablets with the FamilySearch Indexing App?  You don’t need to be at your computer to contribute as an indexer.

Check out and for more information on how to volunteer your time as an indexer. Even just a few minutes of your time will make a difference to the genealogical community.

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Safety First in Seattle during the 1940 Census
Mar 22nd, 2012 by Jessica

Census Takers To Show Cards When Asked To

Census Takers To Show Cards When Asked To

What would you do if a stranger knocked on your door today with a giant book, a pen and a smile, asking to come inside to quiz you on your family details? My neighbors wouldn’t open the door. I’d even bet a few of them would call the cops.

Back in 1940, it seems things were a little different here in America. Our kids were generally still safe when playing in the front yard. The neighbors were more apt to wave hello and gossip about you behind your back than ignore you altogether and slam their front door.

Even so, precautions had to be taken to ensure that seedy salesmen didn’t take advantage of Census time for additional sales. Check out this article from The Seattle Daily Times in Seattle, Washington that was published on April 1, 1940.

Census Takers To Show Cards When Asked To

Census enumerators who will call at Seattle homes beginning tomorrow will be require dto show their identification cards if the person to be interviewed so requests, Charles H. Heighton, Western Washington area census manager, announced today.

The identification card carries the photographer and signature of the census-taker.

Heighton said enumerators ordinarily will not present their census cards when calling at homes, but merely will say, “I am the census taker.”

“But if the housewife believes the person might be a salesman, she has a perfect right to ask for identification,” Heighton said. “In fact, we suggest that a person ask for the identification, even if there isn’t any doubt as to the caller’s identify.”

Heighton added that salesmen who make representations they are census-takers are subject to a heavy penitentiary sentence.

Was your grandmother a 1940 Census enumerator? Check through those memoribilia boxes in the closet to see if you can find her enumerator card.

When you’re done, head over to to find out how you can volunteer to index the Census. Take a few minutes to give back to the genealogical community the way so many volunteers have given their time to help you find your ancestors.

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Did your ancestor help enumerate the 1940 Census?
Mar 21st, 2012 by Jessica

Was your ancestor a census enumerator? You might check the local newspaper to find out.

In this article from the Rockford Register-Republic in Rockford, Illinois published April 1, 1940 we are fortunate enough to get a list of the names of local enumerators by district. It also gives us a glimpse of what how the workers prepared when they were employed in the noble profession of “census taker.”

I’m surprised at how many of the enumerators were women.  I wonder today how many women would volunteer to go door to door and enter into the homes of strangers. I sure wouldn’t!

Anticipate No Census Trouble

Anticipate No Census Trouble

Anticipate No Census Trouble

Local Enumerator Staff Sworn, Get Supplies; Start County Tomorrow

Census enumerators of Winnebago, Boone and DeKalb counties received their supplies and final instructions today, preparatory to the start of actual house-to-house and farm-to-farm canvassing tomorrow in the 1940 census of population, housing and agriculture.

While eleven nationally prominent business and professional leaders were issuing a joint appeal for citizens’ cooperation in the 16th decennial census, District Supervisor Tauge G. Lindquist, in charge of the census in six counties of the 12th congressional district, declared today his staff anticipates no difficulty in securing answers to census queries.

Not an Inquisition

Final instructions from Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins to the 120,000 enumerators counting noses throughout the nation were to be polite and remember their task is not an “inquisition.”

Rockford district enumerators, although anticipating practically 100 per cent cooperation from the public, have been specially instructed to maintain a polite attitude, Lindquist said.  Cases of refusal to answer inquiries will be reported to the district office and will be dealt with by a special department, but “no one is going to break down any doors,” the district supervisor asserted.

Family heads may answer the much-discussed question on income by writing their answer and placing it in a sealed envelope which will be delivered by the enumerator to census headquarters unopened.

A staff of approximately 230 enumerators will conduct three separate inquiries throughout the six-county 12th congressional district – the population count, housing survey, and agricultural census.  There will be approximately 65 enumerators in Winnebago county.

4 Cents Per Name

The population count in urban areas is to be completed within two weeks, while the rural census is to be finished within a month.  Enumerators will be paid at the rate of 4 cents a name of the population census and will receive additional payments for each housing and agricultural schedule returned.  Lindquist said the average enumerator will be doing well to earn $4 per day.

Seventeen Winnebago county enumerators had been sworn in and given their supplies up to noon today and the remainder were to report this afternoon.  Names of Winnebago county workers already sworn in and of Boone and DeKalb county enumerators definitely scheduled to start work tomorrow follow:

Winnebago County

Lorin Hold, 1440 Greenwood avenue; Richard G. Myrland, 2234 11th avenue; Park H. W. Thompson, 220 Paris avenue; Olga J. Hutchinson, 719 High View avenue; Hazel M. Frey, 409 Hollister avenue; Isabell F. Hughes, 1219 Crosby street; Louise D. McGaw, 1121 Crosby street; Myrtle W. LaForge, 1315 Jackson street; Isabel E. Lundgren, 814 8th avenue; Solange M. D’Hooghe, 509 South 3rd street; Walter J. Somers, 712 Lafayette avenue.

Kenneth F. Lundberg, 2232 8th avenue; Edward W. Anderson, 725 Davis street; Margaret B. Seger, 1411 15th avenue; Roberta M. Ford, 2010 Harvard avenue; Gertrude E. Johnson, 1315 12th street.

Boone County

Harry Clark, George P. Browne, Norma P. Carlson, Nelle Sullivan, Bernice F. Schindler, Minnie L. Dillman, Ellen Vandewalker, all of Belvidere; Jasper F. Sexton and Elmer E. Brockmann, both of Garden Prarie; Alexander Wilson, Caledonia; Louis Y. Schmidt and Elizabeth J. Johnson, both of Capron; Irene H. Dimond, Poplar Grove; Elmer C. Welin, rural route 3, Belvidere.

DeKalb County

Dorothy C. Wilcox, Emma E. Smith, Harriet C. Holderness, Ruth V. Hickey, Lucille Smith, Eva L. Walters, Robert Pottenger, Chauncey Broughton, all of DeKalb; Vivian V. Schriver, Kirkland; John E. Williams, Donley Purr, Dorothy Johnson, all of Genoa; Bernice N. Barr, Cortland; Grover S. Hart and Delmas Johnson, both of Shabbona; Edgar Warner and Ellen Evans, both of Malta; Mrs. Irma Benson, Paw Paw.

Appeal for Cooperation

In the national appeal for citizens’ cooperation with census takers, the eleven prominent signers pointed out that the census is one of the greatest scientific undertakings of our government and said:

“Its findings are equally available to all, regardless of political or economic beliefs, to guide our actions and shape our future policies.

“A complete, accurate census for 1940 is vital.  Its compilation is difficult at best.  Its totals are composites of individual inquiries, and that is the only way they can be obtained.  Resistance and unnecessary delay in answering the inquiries will increase the difficulty, the cost and the time required, without any compensating advantage.  This is not a partisan matter but one of deep concern to American men and women of all parties.

“We appeal to the American people to cooperate in making this census a full and honest statement of fact and to convince their neigbors of the advisability of similar cooperation.”

With so many women behind the pen during the 1940 Census, I am hoping as indexers that means we might be blessed with somewhat legible handwriting. Have you signed up to volunteer to index all the hard work these enumerators did? Find out how you can help at

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The 1940 Census: A Great Fact-Finding Drive
Mar 20th, 2012 by Jessica

Great Fact-Finding Drive Starts Tuesday

Great Fact-Finding Drive Starts Tuesday

Some writers chose to encourage, rather than to discourage, their readers to provide honest answers to the enumerators of the 1940 Census.

This article, published in the Marietta Journal in Marietta, Georgia on April 1, 1940 urged local residents to cooperate for the good of their town.

Come on now, Grandpa!  “Let’s all answer the questions freely and honestly.”

Great Fact-Finding Drive Starts Tuesday

Enumerators Begin Censuses of Population, Housing and Agriculture, in Many Respects Most Important

The greatest fact-finding drive in the nation’s history gets under way Tuesday when approximately 120,000 enumerators start the censuses of population, housing and agriculture.

Approximately 260 canvassers will begin work in the Seventh district Tuesday morning, Maddox Hale of Dalton, announced today.  Local enumerators were not made known.

In many respects this census is even more important than the first, taken 150 years ago in 1790, to establish the first apportionment figures for determining the number of representatives in the congress.

There has never been a time in ths country when the need for accurate, unbiased facts has been greater.  The difficult years American has experienced since the 1930 census have presented many problems and facts are needed to give us the knowledge to solve these problems.  In addition to the usual questions about age, size, color, size of family, nativity and citizenship of the foreign born, vital new statistical knowledge will be developed in the 1940 census by questions on education, mass migration, employment, unemployment, occupations, standards of housing and distribution of wages.

Considerable misunderstanding has arisen concerning the comparatively few new questions to be asked in this census.

Directors welcome this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions which may be in the minds of those who are about to play an active part in this orderly process of Democratic government by answering the census questions.

The questions on income have created widespread attention and there was been much misrepresentation about them.  In the first place, they emphasize that no question is asked concerning total income.  The first of the two questions calls for the amount of wages or salary received up to $5,000; amounts over $5,000 are to be returned “over $5,000.”  The second of the income inquiries merely calls for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question, “did this person receive income of $50,000 or more from sources other than wages or salary?” The amount of income is not to be specified.  The wage income information furnished the census bureau will be used only for the compilation of statistical tables for correlation with other facts about the nation’s most pressing problems.

Directors cannot stress too strongly the confidential nature of individual census reports.  They cannot be used for purposes of taxation, regulation or investigation.  They cannot be furnished to any other agency of the government.  They are made confidential by act of congress.  in-view of certain misstatements on this subject, they wish to point out that acts of congress cannot be set aside by executive order.

The 1940 census will provide a standard of measurement for our country and our cities for the next ten years.  It is the duty of every resident of the United States to help make this accurate, complete inventory of our people our homes and our farms.  Let’s all answer freely and honestly, secure in the knowledge that throughout its 150 year history the census has kept farther with the American people.

Are you eager to see what your great-grandparents gave as responses to this historic census? Become a volunteer indexer. With a little bit of time, together we can contribute enormously to the family history of millions of people around our country and the world. Find out more at

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The Battle of the 1940 Census
Mar 19th, 2012 by Jessica

The Battle of the Census

The Battle of the Census

A great battle of motive for the 1940 Census questions was publicly fought between Senator Charles William Tobey of New Hampshire and Secretary Harry Hopkins. The politics of this battle bled red and blue all over the front pages of newspapers across our great nation.

In this article from the Rockford Register-Republic in Rockford, Illinois published April 1, 1940 we gain an insider’s view of both sides of the antics.

I find it intriguing how both Republicans and Democrats blasted each other for what their opponents might use the responses for, yet both of them realized they were eagerly anticipating the details for personal gain or in some cases, political loss.

The Battle of the Census

First of Three Articles Discussed How Row Over Questions Began


Washington, April 1 – (AP) – Twelve New Hampshire voters armed themselves with 36 cents in stamps and an irresistible urge to write their congressman.  And the 1940 battle of the census was on!

Thousands of privates enlisted for the duration, on both sides.  Firing became – and still is – general.

Those 12 New Hampshire voters may yet occupy a place in political history not unlike the niche in world history of that Serbian youth who took a few shots at an archduke’s car, and touched off the world war.

For, in the long run, the battle of the census will be a real battle.

What those New Hampshire voters started was a curtain raising skirmish.  The real battle to come – a struggle for survival of the fittest politician – may last for months, perhaps a couple of years.  And before it’s ever political blood will flow in many a state in the union.

Funny what a few voters with postage stamps and an urge can do in a democracy!

Tobey Got an Idea

Bald, spectacled Senator Charles William Tobey of New Hampshire got the letters – and an idea.  Hadn’t somebody in upstate New York protested against income questions in the census?  If 12 of his constituents didn’t like them either, maybe he had something here.  He’d see, so he asked the census bureau not to bother his voters with questions about their private affairs, like incomes, divorces, physical fitness to work, and what not, or at least let them answer to Washington by mail.

“Too late to change our setup,” said the census bureau.

“Oh yeah?” retorted Tobey, making a beeline for the nearest microphone with a nationwide hookup.

The senator’s strategy clicked.  After one month, he claims 14,000 recruits throughout the nation.  Hundreds more letters poured in on other senators and congressmen.  The census bureau said it got a few hundred, too.

Angry pen wielders said the income questions weren’t half of it, either.  They’d been told over the radio they’d go to jail if they didn’t answer.  As red-blooded Americans they’d just go to jail.  So there.

The heat was definitely on.

“Un-American, unlawful,” shouted Tobey.

“Un-American yourself – absurd,” sputtered harassed Harry Hopkins, formerly of the WPA, and now responsible for census questions as secretary of commerce.

Epithets burned the air at both ends of Constitution avenue.  And still they come, buring the merits of the issue in blasts of hot words.  It sounds more like the babble of the census.

“Business Sought Data”

For public consumption, Tobey insists the income and divorce questions violate the bill of rights, and exceed the authority of the secretary of commerce under the census law of 1929.

Also for the public ear, Harry Hopkins replies that the demand for the questions originated with professional and business groups and statesmen who needed to know something more about the incomes of people who make less than $5,000 a year.  Furthermore, says Hopkins, the facts about unemployment – our biggest unsolved problem – can be gathered accurately in no other way, and they’re legal.

No doubt they both believe sincerely in what they say.  But, this being election year and all, is that the whole story behind the battle of the census?  Hardly.
Where did the questions come from, anyway?  The census bureau’s expert, Dr. Leon Truesdell – a rock-ribbed Republican from Maine – framed them in response to demands for questions about the “economic status” of Americans.

Statistical, economic, business and insurance organizations – substantial groups – have all talked economic status questions with the bureau for ten years and more.  Some of these groups are what impolite new dealers refer to privately as tory outfits, too.

Income data will tell them not who makes how much, but where the various income levels lie in the nation’s towns and cities.  That’s the same thing as telling business people where business is good for different qualities of goods and services.  It’s money in their pocket.

Many politicians and statesmen want the income data for speeches, programs, bills, and what-have-you, dealing with unemployment and relief.  Some of them are curious to know, too, whether the President was right – or talking through his hat – when he said one-third of the nation is ill-clad, ill-housed, and ill-fed.

Hopkins Interested?

It could be asked whether Harry Hopkins, a right bower in the White House, might not be interested in those questions for similar reasons.  Would they prove the President’s thesis?  Justify new deal spending for low-income Americans?  And wouldn’t the census taker’s answers to those questions be ready to release to the public (and orators) in the heat of the coming Presidential campaign? Maybe so, maybe not.

And another stickler:

Why have none of the professional groups outside government that originally told Harry Hopkins he had their okeh on census questions No. 32 and 33, come charging to the rescue of the beleaguered secretary?

They’re not saying.  But maybe they don’t like to back publicly inquests into private incomes, or they figure they’ll be singed in the political bonfires this fall.  Or if they’re anti-new deal, maybe they agree with that senator, who said a couple of “silly questions” might lose the Democratic party a million votes this fall.

Republicans Cautious

And why hasn’t the Republican party high command come blasting down the political highway to back up Senator Tobey?

Now we’re getting warm.  Positively hot, in fact.  The Republican party’s high command knows – as does the Democratic high command – that the real battle of the census is still to be fought.  And it’s not strictly a party affair.  Jealous members of the house of representatives in both parties, especially members in both parties who may lose their seats when the census man’s figures are totaled, are the primary strugglers in this battle.

Reapportionment’s the word for it! And it means political blood-letting every ten years.  But that’s another story.

To date we have only three developments in the opening skirmish of the census:

1. Lots of people don’t like the idea of discussing their incomes and divorces with the census taker.

2. Senator Tobey’s blast may damage the results of the 1940 census.

3. And Tobey or no Tobey, John Q. Citizen will be asked about his income if he makes less than $5,000 a year, although he may seal the answers away from the eyes of the census taker, and mail them to Washington.

Senator Tobey wins his fight – and also loses it – because (A) the senate won’t push through his resolution asking the census bureau not to ask the income questions, and (B) the courts won’t have time to pass on the legality of the questions before the census takers arm themselves with blank forms, umbrellas, overshoes, and smiles, and assault the nation’s doorbells.

This article is part one of three. You can view the others with a subscription at

If you haven’t already done so, visit to find out how you can volunteer to index all of this yummy confidential and personal information about residents throughout the United States in the 1940 Census.

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The 1940 Census Release: 15 Days and Counting!
Mar 18th, 2012 by Jessica

The 1940 US Federal Census will be released on April 2, 2012.  As an avid genealogist and volunteer indexer, I am excited about this amazing opportunity to find new information about my ancestors and to give back to the genealogical community.

Who receives the honor of the first person I will search for in the 1940 Census?  My mother’s father, Walter Anthony Dreffs.

Grandpa was 39 years old in April 1940 and I can’t wait to find out if he was single or married when the census was taken.  This will tell us a lot about a span in his life I know little about.  I know he was drafted in the Army during WWI in 1918 but he never served.  I know he was a boarder in the 1920 Census and was single.  He’s listed in the 1929 Saginaw City Directory, but he left town after that.  I have never found him in the 1930 Census although I have been searching for the past decade.  He started having kids with my Grandma in 1942 although they didn’t get married until 1951.

Did my Grandpa have a family before he hooked up with my Grandma?  Where was he between 1929 and 1942?  15 days and counting!

Visit for more information and ways that you can help index the 1940 Census.

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1940 Census Takers Cautioned to be Courteous
Mar 17th, 2012 by Jessica

Across the United States, it seems the enumerators were under direct orders to be nice to the 1940 Census subjects.

In this article published in the Dallas Morning Newson April 1, 1940 we get a sense for what it may have been like to go door to door asking strangers personal questions about their children, employment status and social security details. If information is power, enumerators could have had it made.

Census Takers Cautioned to be Courteous

Census Takers Cautioned to be Courteous

Census Takers Cautioned to Be Courteous

Government’s Survey Not an Inquisition, Hopkins Reminds

WASHINGTON, March 31 (UP) – Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins Sunday night warned 120,000 census takers that their task is not an inquisition and cautioned them to handle the people politely.

The assault upon the doors of American homes begins on Tuesday.  Hopkins advised the enumerators to remember that the survey is a “cooperative enterprise of free people for the common welfare.”

“You will meet people who have been misinformed, who are confused,” the Cabinet officer said in a statement to the enumerators.  “Give them the true facts.  Be polite and patient. Show your credentials willingly.

“Remember always that in three generations the census rarely has been forced to use any stronger authority than a sincere and straightforward appeal to the citizen to give his government the facts.”

Hopkins demanded that the enumerators explain the census cheerfully and accurately.  His instructions were issued as Senator Charles W. Tobey (Rep.) of New Hampshire contended in a radio speech that congress had not authorized inquiries about the personal income of the people and other queries of a like nature to which he is objecting.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Mr. Hopkins demanded the enumerators be cheerful?

I have a hard time getting my neighbors to answer the door to accept my offer of yummy Christmas cookies. I can’t imagine going door to door today asking people for their private information. I wonder what tools will exist for our descendents in 2082 to get information about us in the 2010 Census?

Find out more about how you can volunteer as a 1940 Census indexer at

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1940 Census Enumerators Begin Work in Arizona
Mar 16th, 2012 by Jessica

Census Enumerators Begin Work Today

Census Enumerators Begin Work Today

If you think that in 2012 we have it hard because the census won’t be indexed upon its initial release on April 2, think about what it took for these courageous enumerators to ride horseback throughout the Arizona desert from ranch to ranch for two full weeks to locate rural farmers. That, my friends, took major dedication to your work!  Remember, there were no Circle K’s to stop at for a cold beverage along the way.

The Arizona Independent Republic, “The State’s Greatest Newspaper,” published this article on the front page in Phoenix, Arizona about the beginning of the 1940 Census on April 2, 1940.

Census Enumerators Begin Work Today

An army of census enumerators will go into the field this morning to begin measuring Uncle Sam.

This workers not only will take his weight and physical measurements, but will study his blood pressure, heartbeat and other functions to discover what makes him what he is and how he is.

For the 1940 census, more than all others ever taken, will deal with social and economic as well as material values.

In Arizona, the census will employ some 400 enumerators who are required to have their job done within two weeks.  There will be 62 enumerators in Phoenix.

In heavily populated areas, the territory assigned an enumerator may cover only a few city blocks.  In sparsely settled areas, an enumerator’s territory may cover many square miles.

Problems Are Varied

Many and varied are the problems that will confront them.  For instance, the enumerator in the Salome district is faced with the necessity of driving some 25 miles to a ranch and from that point traveling via horseback another 10 or 12 miles to put his list of questions to three of four persons residing at an isolated mine.

Near Blue, the enumerator will spend two weeks in the saddle to cover the 30 or more widely separated ranches in his district.

At McNary, no census workers were available because there are no unemployed persons residing there.  Therefore, it was necessary to arrange for a resident of Springerville to handle this territory, with its population of about 1,200.

Phoenix Growth Recognized

The census bureau, D. Kelly Turner, area manager, announced yesterday, has recognized the fact that Phoenix has grown out of the 50,000 population classed in which it was placed in the last census, by authorizing the appointment here of two squad leaders who will be in the field and in close contact with enumerators.

Squad leaders are employed normally on the basis of one per 50,000 of population.

Preliminary population figures for Phoenix and other valley communities will be available soon after April 15.

Figures for Maricopa county are expected to be available in preliminary form by May 1.

Follow-Up Work Planned

Hoping to make this the best and most thorough census ever taken here, Turner and other census officials conferred yesterday with representatives of the Phoenix Chamber of commerce and of other civic groups on a plan of follow-up work intended to assure that no one is missed in the great nose-counting project.

Boy Scouts and representatives of the other co-operating groups will comb the various districts after the enumerators have made their canvasses in an effort to locate anyone who might inadvertently have been missed. informs me that the average temperature in Blue, Arizona on April 2 is a high of 69 and a low of 25.  I’m guessing the enumerator there counted his blessings that the 1940 Census was taken in April and not in July!

Take pride in the efforts of these courageous enumerators. Sign up to be a volunteer indexer for the 1940 Census, and give back to the genealogical community. Find out how at

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1940 Census Enumerators Waited to Begin ‘Counting Noses’
Mar 15th, 2012 by Jessica

Census Taking Waits Signal

Census Taking Waits Signal

As we wait eagerly to get our hands on the 1940 US Census images, we can look back at those who actually enumerated it and find solace in the fact that they had to wait too!

This article was published on the front page of The News-Palladium in Benton Harbor, Michigan on April 1, 1940.


Enumerators To Begin Job Of ‘Counting Noses’ Here Tuesday

Benton Harbor and Berrien county residents join in the national question and answer game which is the 1940 decennial census Tuesday.  In the city for the next two weeks and in the rural area of the county for the next 30 days – according to present plans – enumerators will be quizzing men and women for a wide variety of information.

Trained in courtesy and economy of words, the enumerators will attempt to take a complete “inventory” of the country, its people, and its resources.  More information about a more widely diversified field of facts than ever before sought in the census will be obtained this year, according to Mrs. Lucille Chamberlin, who is supervisor for the fourth Congressional district census.

Nineteen enumerators have been assigned to Benton Harbor, and the total Berrien county staff numbers 69 persons.  The enumerators will work on a piece rate, and are expected to average in excess of $5 per day.

As you prepare to search this wealth of information for your own ancestors, give some praise to the thousands of people who wrote it all down for us. You might also want to forgive them for awful handwriting ahead of time. Could you enumerate thousands of names by hand? I think my hand would fall off before I finished the first ten households.

I urge you to volunteer as an indexer so that everyone will be able to search these priceless records. Check out for more information on how you can volunteer.

Check out for more historical newspapers with cool articles like this.

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1941 Polk’s Saginaw City Directory
Mar 11th, 2012 by Jessica

In preparation for the 1940 US Census Release on April 2, 2012 I have been searching for my ancestor’s addresses in various city directories to locate their exact addresses.  Thanks a ton to my dear friend Sarah for looking these up for me and sending me the information!

In the 1941 Polk’s Saginaw City Directory, I was fortunate to see several of my family members listed.

Mary Karpuk in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

Mary Karpuk in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

This is my mother’s mother, Mary Rose Karpuk, listed at 520 Gallagher. I am incredibly intrigued to find out who she was living with in this census.  It will tell us a lot about the family in a period that is very sketchy as far as my grandparents are concerned.  I find it interesting that her husband Andrew Karpuk is not listed.  He is not living with her, and apparently he was not living in Saginaw at all.  They were separated at the time, although not yet divorced.  I wonder where Andrew ran off to?

Helen Stroik in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

Helen Stroik in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

This page of Stroik families shows Mary’s mother, Helen Frances Stroik, living right next door to her daughter at 524 Gallagher. She is listed as the widow of Andrew Stroik, who died in 1929.  Her son Anthony was renting at the same address.  I wonder who else was living in her household at this time?  I notice also that a lot of Stroik family members lived on Ruckle Street.  I’ll look for them as well.

Dreffs Families in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

Dreffs Families in the 1941 Polk's Saginaw City Directory

Most interesting to me is the listing of Dreffs families, which is blatantly missing my grandfather Walter Anthony Dreffs. Was he living with one of his brothers, Andrew, Carl or Francis in 1940? He wasn’t living with my grandmother yet. I want to know whether he was in Saginaw or possibly living in Gilford, Tuscola County near his father Joseph Dreffs.

As you may know, the census will not be indexed upon its release to the public.  I urge you to volunteer as an indexer to give back to the genealogical community.  Your contributions will help researchers around the world, just as millions of volunteers have helped you in your research.  Check out to become a volunteer indexer today.

To find addresses for your family members in 1940, consider searching in the following places:

  • World War II Draft Registrations
  • City directories
  • Vital records – birth, death, marriage
  • 1920 or 1930 Census records
  • Address books
  • Family members
  • Letters/diaries
  • Obituaries
  • Newspapers (announcements for engagements, graduations, weddings, etc)
  • Organizational newsletters
  • Passenger lists & naturalization records
  • Phone books
  • Photographs

I wish you the best of luck searching for your family in the 1940 Census!

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