I have issues of my own, and it started with my mother! My ancestors have been here for centuries! My father, why, he was a wheel! The FIRST wheel! Do you know what he transformed into? NOTHING! But he did so with honor! DIGNITY, damn it! — Jetfire, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I have issues of my own, and it started with my mother! My ancestors have been here for centuries! My father, why, he was a wheel! The FIRST wheel! Do you know what he transformed into? NOTHING! But he did so with honor! DIGNITY, damn it!
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Welcome to My First 40 Finds in the 1940 US Census! This blog series is a tribute to the first 40 entries that I located without the use of an index.
The 1940 US Federal Census was released online to the public on April 2, 2012. Within the first three days, I had already found 40 families from my various tree branches. I spent six months prior to the release researching the exact addresses and locations for these families so I could find them quickly upon the census release.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Josephine (Grabowski) Sowulewski and her husband Joseph R Sowulewski. This entry is further down on the same page as Josephine’s uncle and aunt Andrew S. Dreffs & Stella Marie (Kryska) Dreffs. We explored Andrew and Stella’s entries yesterday.
Joseph was 36 and employed as a carpenter at a lumber yard. Josephine was also 36 and was a housewife. Their children were Dorothy Sowulewski (15), Arlene Sowulewski (13) and Joseph Sowulewski (10). They owned the home at 2409 Robinwood which was valued at $3,200.
In their household also lived Josephine’s brother Thomas Grabowski. Thomas, age 37, was employed as a core maker in a foundry.
Josephine and Thomas were the children of Hattie (Dreffs) Grabowski, the sister of Andrew S. Dreffs and Walter Anthony Dreffs.
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-47A, Sheet 11A, Lines 33-38.
Find out more about Joseph Sowulewski in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Joseph Sowulewski on FindAGrave.com.
Synchronized Napping - Cheetoe & Lucky (April 28, 2012)
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Andrew S. Dreffs & Stella Marie (Kryska) Dreffs. Andrew is my grand-uncle; he is the brother of my grandfather Walter Anthony Dreffs. Andrew and Stella owned their home at 2424 Robinwood in Saginaw which they also resided in during 1935. It was valued at $2,500.
Andrew Dreffs, 35, was born in Michigan. He was employed as a punch press operator at a factory in the “clocks, watches, jewelry, or silverware” industry according to his industry code. He had a 4th grade education while his wife Stella had an 8th grade education. She was born in Pennsylvania and was a housewife. Their son Edward Dreffs, age 15, was a student and had completed his 8th grade year.
Stella’s brother, Theodore Kryska, also lived in the household. He was 26 years old, single and employed as chromium plater at a plating factory. Theodore had completed his freshman year of high school and was born in Michigan.
Further down on the same page you will find Andrew’s niece Josephine (Grabowski) Sowulewski and her husband Joseph R Sowulewski. I’ll explore their entries in tomorrow’s post.
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-47A, Sheet 11A, Lines 5-8.
Find out more about Andrew S. Dreffs in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Andrew S. Dreffs on FindAGrave.com.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Stanley Remyszewski and Veronica “Vera” (Dreffs) Remyszewski. Vera is my grand-aunt; she is the sister of my grandfather Walter Anthony Dreffs. The family was living at 2323 Lowell Street in Saginaw, Michigan which they also resided in during 1935. They owned the home which was valued at $2,000.
Stanley Remyszewski, age 55, was born in Poland and was attending school. He had filed his Declaration of Intent (code “Pa”) but was not yet a naturalized citizen. He and his wife Vera only had a 1st grade education. Stanley was a laborer in a graphite factory and had worked 42 weeks during 1939 for earnings of $1,020. Vera was a housewife who was born in Michigan. Their children were:
Stanley & Veronica (Dreffs) Remyszewski
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-47A, Sheet 9B Lines 77-80; continued on Sheet 10A Lines 1-6.
Find out more about Vera Dreffs in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
My friend Sarah and I just returned today from six full days of research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. We spent six months preparing for these six days, so we thought it would be most appropriate if we presented our top six tips for your next visit to the library. There are many sites on the web that offer incredible tips for preparing and visiting the library. These are things we learned upon our arrival and through trial and error.
When you’re done reading these tips, check out all of our photos from the Family History Library on Flickr.
We’ve also posted short videos showing the main areas for:
Many sites recommend you to bring magnets to quickly refile microfilms. We didn’t see a single patron doing this except for us, and it was such a huge time saver! We picked up these Quartet ReWritables Dry-Erase Magnet Boards prior to our trip and found them to be an amazing way to retrieve and refile microfilm in the stacks. You can pick these up on Amazon.com or in stores at Wal-Mart. Simply determine which film you need, and write the film number on the magnet. Take it into the stacks and retrieve your film. Place the magnet on the outside of the cabinet. When you’re done with the film, easily locate the cabinet by finding your magnet. Erase the film number, and start over again! Cheap, effective and fast.
Dry Erase Magnets
Use Dry Erase Magnets to quickly refile microfilms
It took the help of a couple of volunteers at the library for us to figure this one out. The FHL uses a modified Dewey Decimal system. It follows the pattern of numbers coming after letters, for example: “977.4 A5b” comes before “977.4 4a” in the stacks. What we also discovered is that slashes come after numbers. For example: “974.522 H2b” comes before “977.522/A9c” in the stacks. Pay attention to the slashes and make sure you are looking at the section following the last number.
We’d also like to note that books can be found in the stacks, in Overflow or in an area called High Density. Overflow stacks are located at the end of the main stacks in an area called “Q.” However, High Density books are not accessible to patrons and are not always noted in the catalog. If you can’t find the book you need, ask at the Access Services window. If it’s in High Density, you may need to visit another floor and ask them to retrieve it for you. When this occurs, be prepared to hand over your government ID until you return the book to Access Services.
Big Stack of Books
If you’ve requested vault films (and we hope you do ahead of time) note that they will be filed in with the rest of the microfilms. You don’t need to ask for them at Access Services. They simply show up. If they aren’t filed in with the rest, they may not have had enough room for your film, so look in the microfilm Overflow section which will be in the last row among the cabinets labeled “Empty.” Look for the Overflow tag attached to a cabinet in that last row.
You can scan books or microfilms and it is completely free.
Scanning books can be done on any multifunction machine located on any floor. Simply pick up the attached copy card (on a cord) and swipe it to begin. Follow the instructions on the top of the machine to insert your flash drive and scan the document. Note that books scanned in this fashion allow you to scan multiple pages at once, but all scans from your session are embedded into a single PDF file. If you are scanning different books, you may wish to end your session and begin a new one after each book so that it creates multiple PDF files. We found the multifunction scanners to be fast, but we had no idea if the results on the flash drive were what we were expecting. There is no feedback to the user with this method.
Here’s an example of a document I scanned which the machine descriptively named 20120620202819789.pdf. I had no way of knowing it was sideways or that it was cut off on one side until I looked at it on the computer.
Multifunction Machine - Scan, Copy or Print
Multifunction Machine - Copy card reader and USB drive port
Multifunction Machine - Instructions
You can add your name to the list at the Access Services window on the third floor for a 15-minute time slot on the flatbed scanner. While it affords better feedback to the user and allows you to determine exactly what you are scanning and the file name you are saving it as, the scanner is painfully slow. I found it much more effective to simply take photographs of the book title page and the pages I wanted to keep with my camera. The readability is the same when using macro mode and a steady hand.
Most floors have microfilm scanners. These machines are fast and easy to use, and volunteers are abundant and ready to assist you with the technology. Simply insert your flash drive and click on the button that shows a scanner with a USB stick (duh!) and you can choose what to call your file and where you want to save it. Make sure you are saving the file to your flash drive and not to the hard drive. The application keeps the previous user’s settings so always watch out for that. Also, I recommend saving in both .TIF and .JPG for the best results. The .TIF file will allow you to change exposure and contrast later with no compression loss, while a .JPG copy will be fast for sharing and posting online. It only takes a second to save it twice. Bonus tip – Use a label maker to adhere your name and cell phone number onto each flash drive you use. If you forget the flash drive in a computer somewhere, some nice soul might contact you to return it.
Note that you can’t use the microfilm scanners for long periods of time. The library expects you to find the location on the microfilms using the old fashioned hand crank readers, and then transfer your film to the scanner to scan what you’d like. Ask the volunteers for assistance if you need some help with the setup or the application.
Printing is not free. You need you purchase a copy card to print. Regular 8.5×11 black and white prints cost $0.05 each. Bonus tip – when you print to the print server from any computer, it asks you to enter your initials and an identifier so you know which document you are printing. One of the volunteers mentioned to me that it is advantageous to add extra spaces in front of your identifier because spaces show up at the top of the list. For example, ” My File” will show up before “My File” in the list of everyone’s print jobs. It’s a sneaky way to make sure your prints show up at the top of the list when you print your files.
Copy Cards Vending Machine
Copy Cards for Sale - $2 and up
Caffeine is a stimulator and an addictive substance, something that the Mormon culture does not support. You will not find any caffeine in the break room. No coffee; no Coke or Pepsi. They do have non-caffeinated beverages such as milk, chocolate milk, juice, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, Sprite, Cactus Cooler and the like. If you want a caffeine fix we recommend heading either to JB’s Restaurant for a break, or go to the gift shop or onto one of the floors in the Plaza Hotel next door where they have Coke products in the vending machines.
Vending Machines - Sodas
Vending Machines - Milk, Water and Juice
We cannot stress this last tip enough. We read this on a few sites during our preparation for the trip, but I’m going to tell you my story so it sinks in for you!
I’ve got a brick wall on my mother’s side. Her father’s father came to the USA around 1891 from “Germany.” That’s all I know.
The people at the Family History Library are a mix of staff, volunteers and professional genealogists. There is no way of knowing who is whom by just looking at them. You might approach one person and he is a volunteer missionary, and the woman sitting next to him might be a professional genealogist. It pays to keep asking until you get the help you need. Ask questions in different ways. Ask different people. Ask at different times or on different days. You never know where it might lead you.
We hope these tips help you during your experience at the Family History Center. Remember to take lots of breaks, and get out there to see the sights in Salt Lake City. The area is beautiful and has plenty of fun to offer.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Augustus “Gus” Carlton Sheets, my 2nd great-grand uncle. Augustus, age 60, was a Widow. His wife Ellen Josephene (Lindwall) Sheets passed away in 1923. He had an 8th grade education and owned his own business as a Barber. He worked all 52 weeks of 1939 and earned a very respectable $2,000 in wages. The family lived at 706 Morgan Street in Valparaiso. Augustus owned the home which was valued at $3,000.
Four of Augustus’ children lived at home with him. Daughter Berniece Sheets, the informant on this census, was 25 years old and a high school graduate. She was single and working as a clerk in a retail store, working 52 weeks during 1939 and earning just $100 for her efforts. Daughter Gladys Sheets, age 23, was also single and a high school graduate. She was not employed.
Sons Carroll and Melvin were also living in the home. Carroll Sheets was 21 years old, single and a high school graduate. He was employed as an inspector at Indiana Steel, and had worked 24 weeks during 1939 earning $800. His younger brother Melvin Sheets, age 16, had completed his freshman year of high school. He was not employed.
Augustus Carlton Sheets
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Indiana, Porter County, Center Township, ED 64-4, Sheet 6A, Lines 33-37.
Find out more about Augustus Carlton Sheets in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Joseph “Dock” Austin Fitzgerald and Rutha Jane (Stanfield) Fitzgerald. Joseph, a laborer assigned to public emergency work on a water project, was 62 years old. He had worked 52 weeks in 1939 for a meager $600 salary. His wife Rutha was 61 years old and a Housewife. The couple both had an 8th grade education and were born in Kentucky. They lived in the same town as they did in 1935, although a new home which they were renting for $25 per month.
Their youngest daughter Merle Fitzgerald (32) and her husband Donald W. Ainsworth (33) also lived in the home with Joseph and Rutha. Donald was a truck driver at a steel mill.
Joseph "Dock" Austin Jarrell
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Indiana, Porter County, Valparaiso, ED 64-3, Sheet 1B, Lines 78-80; continued on Sheet 2A, Lines
Find out more about Joseph “Dock” Austin Fitzgerald, aka Dock Jarrell, in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Joseph Fitzgerald on FindAGrave.com.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Howard Glenn Cole, my great-grand uncle. He is listed here with his wife Agnes Christina “Jensen” Cole. They are living with Agnes’ parents. Both Howard and Agnes are age 26, born in Indiana and both completed their sophomore year of high school. They were living in the same town as they did in 1935, but both are living in a new home. Howard is working as a Machinist Helper in a Steel Mill having worked 42 weeks for $1,000 in 1939, while Agnes was a Housewife. Their son Eugene was 11 months of age.
Howard Glenn Cole
Source citation: Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Indiana, Porter County, Valparaiso, ED 64-7, Sheet 2B, Lines 43-45.
Find out more about Howard Glenn Cole in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Kathleen is held by her father, Douglass
I’d like to wish my sister Kathleen a very HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY!
Just a little reminder that you’ll always be older than me. *tee hee hee*
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Valentine Rue Cole and his wife Loretta May (Brown) Cole. Valentine is 48 years old and was an electrician at a steel mill, having worked all 52 weeks in 1935 and earned a salary of $2,300. Loretta is 39 years old and was listed as a Housewife for an occupation. Both had an 8th grade education.
They are listed with their children Donald Clinton Cole (18), Lee Henry Cole (16), Jack Wilbur Cole (20), Jack’s wife Catherine May (Garrett) Cole (18) and their son Jack Timothy “Tim” Cole (1). They family are living in the same house they were in 1935, and in fact, still lives there today in 2012. Daughter-in-law Catherine had moved from Chesterton in Porter County to join the family. They owned the home which was valued at $2,000.
Notice that Valentine’s brother, Clyde Clayton Cole, lived in the next household. His family continues on to the next page.
The grandson listed in this census entry, J. Timothy Cole, is an incredible Cole family historian. He has collaborated with my father and I for genealogical research for the past 30+ years. Check out his website at www.colescorner.com for more information about the Cole family.
Valentine Rue Cole
Source citation: Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Indiana, Porter County, Liberty Township, ED 64-13, Sheet 3B, Lines 73-79.
Find out more about Valentine Rue Cole in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Valentine Rue Cole and his wife Loretta May (Brown) Cole on FindAGrave.com.