As the honorary “junior curator" is actually a huge fan of the Big Broadcast, we’ll be “tuning in” tomorrow night:
(It’s almost shocking, albeit gratifying, that a 9-yr-old will put down his Nintendo DS to listen to the radio.)
We released the 1940 census on April 2, and this Thursday at 7 pm, we host a program on the radio shows that Americans of that era listened to!
Ed Walker, host of WAMU’s longest-running radio show “The Big Broadcast,” and Rob Bamberger, host of “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” will discuss the history of the show. They’ll also present a sampling of the vintage radio broadcasts and discuss how the programs enriched the lives of Americans in the 1930s and 1940s. (Details here: http://go.usa.gov/VvU)
What radio shows or stations did your family listen to when you were growing up?
Today the National Archives launched the 1940 Census online. This is the first time the census has ever been available online in its entirety!
The first census was taken in 1790, and has continued to be conducted every 10 years. Until 1840, Federal judges and marshals throughout the U.S. administered the census. In 1840, Congress passed the Census Act which created a central office for the census that opened and closed for each counting. Finally in 1902, Congress passed this act creating a permanent Census Office within the Federal government.
H.R. 198, a bill to establish a permanent Census Bureau, 12/2/1901, HR57A-B1, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
This is an original blank 1940 Federal Decennial Census Population Schedule.
The 1940 census questionnaire was printed on 23 3/4” x 12 1/2” paper. The double-sided forms had space for 40 entries on each side, plus two additional lines for the 5% sample questions. The reverse side was identical except that lines were numbered 41 to 80, and the sample-line numbers were different.
Just 4 more days until the release of the 1940 Census!
This census is a first for the National Archives: it’s the first time we have digitized and released the millions of census images online.
You’ll be able to search the 1940 Census online at 9 a.m. on April 2! (And join us at 8.30 am to watch the event streamed live from the National Archives—a link to the live streaming will be available here.)
This infographic comes from A Snapshot in Time on the U.S. Census Bureau website.
Just 6 more days until the 1940 Census!
This was the first time that census takers asked a random sample of the population (about 1 in 20 people) additional detailed questions. These included new questions for women. For women who had been married, they were asked: whether they had been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children born.
The photos above were taken by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration:
“On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler, Arizona. Grandmother and sick baby of migratory family camped in a trailer in an open field. They came from Amarillo, Texas, to pick cotton in Arizona. 11/1940”
“Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children, ca. 02/1936”
“Kern County, California. A couple from Oklahoma, now resettled in California. They came four years ago. Photograph is in large-scale potato field where husband is crew foreman and oldest son operates the mechanical digger. They own their home in Shafter, 04/11/1940”
The full citation has some great details on this family:
Roseville, Placer County, California. On the Freights. Five o’clock in the morning in Roseville switch yards for freight going over the Sierra. A family of Mexican agricultural workers heading for Utah to top sugar beets. The mother is twenty, the father twenty-one, the child three, and the other man is the brother of the father. They had slept out overnight in the grass without bedclothing; the child’s overalls are wet with dew and he wears galoshes. A veteran migrant, he has been traveling by freight ever since he was four months old. His family follow a circuit of beets and cotton through Utah, Texas, and California.
Just 11 days until the release of the 1940 census!
Enumerators (census takers) attempted to count as many people as possible. About 120,000 enumerators went out into the city and the countryside with instructions to count every house, building, tent, cabin, hut or other place where people might be living.
This photograph’s original caption reads: “Roseville, Placer County, California. On the Freights. Five o’clock in the morning in Roseville switch yards for freight going over the Sierra, 04/19/1940”
Looking at this image, you wonder if the enumerators manage to count this family on this move? And where was this family going?
Just 12 days until the release of the 1940 census!
It’s also Women’s History Month. Many women were employed by the Census Bureau, working in the office or in the field. These photographs from the National Archives document their work.
In processing the 1940 Census, operators transferred information appearing on the schedules filled out by enumerators to punch cards. This permitted processing of census returns by sorting machines.
Unit Wiring Boards for Tabulating Machines, Highly Trained Experts Prepared the Charts and Instructions for Wiring the Boards for Each Job, these Girls Did the Actual Wiring, No Small Job in Itself, 1940–1941
Alphabetic Accounting Machine Equipped with Gang Summary Punch, IBM, Census Used 12 Machines of this Type, 1940–1941
Enumeration, One Day was Devoted to the Enumeration of Trailer Camps and Other Places Inhabited by Transients, 1940-1941
Population and Housing Editors, Negro Section, 1940–1941
Geographers Division, a Planimeter, 1940–1941
Occupational Coding, Peak Employment on this Operation was 806, there are 25,000 Occupational Designations and 10,000 Industry Designations Classified in 541 Occupational Groups for Census Purposes, 1940–1941
Occupational Coder, Average Daily Production of a Trained Clerk was 1,886 Lines, and the Highest Record was 6,000 Lines, 1940–1941
Review Section in Machine Tabulation Division, All Work is Checked before Transfer to Subject Divisions, 1940–1941
Just 13 days until the online release of the 1940 Census!
The original caption reads:”New York City’s Sixth Avenue elevated railway and the crowded street below, ca. 1940.”
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of New York City was 7.5 million in 1940, making NYC the most populous city at that time. It remains at the top even today, with the 2010 census showing over 8 million inhabitants.
On Saturday March 24 in New York City, you can get ready for the 1940 Census with expert guest speakers, including our own Connie Potter and Dr. Groves of the U.S. Census Bureau. The program is free but requires registration.
Just 14 more days until the release of the 1940 Census!
The citizens counted in this census lived through the Great Depression. Many were part of programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, including Ephraim Counser, who was at Mt. Morris Camp, N.Y, on 11/16/1933.
The 1940 census had new questions on it that reflected the government’s efforts to find out how the Great Depression was affecting citizens: residence five years earlier, income, highest level of school completed and detailed questions on unemployment history.
Are you ready to start your research on April 2? Get ready with one of our programs across the United States!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Will you be researching your Irish ancestors in the National Archives?
Just 16 days left until the release of the 1940 census!
Caption: “27 June 1963 President’s trip to Ireland. Reception and tea at the home of Mrs. Mary Ryan, President Kennedy’s second cousin. Margaret Kirwan, Jean Kennedy Smith, Josie Ryan, Mrs. Mary Ryan, President Kennedy, Mary Ann Ryan, Mrs. Margaret Whitty, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, other guests. Dunganstown, Ireland, Kennedy ancestral homestead”
Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Just 19 days until the release of the 1940 Census!
Albert Einstein would have been counted in the 1940 census. He entered the United States in June of 1935 and filed this declaration of intent to become a citizen in January of 1936. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940.
Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!
Looks like a hot day for 232 questions:
Just 20 days until the release of the 1940 Census!
Farmers had to answer 232 questions as part of the Farm Schedule in the 1940 Census. The census taker is holding the large, portfolio-sized book that all 120,000 enumerations carried.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1940 there were 5.1 million
farmers (owners and tenants) and farm managers. In the 2010 census, there were only 613,000.
Just 22 days left until the release of the 1940 Census!
Although shown as president on June 1, 1850, Taylor had been dead eight weeks when he was listed as President on the census on August 31.
How is this possible? The census was taken on August 31, 1850. But the enumerator was asking was for “the name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first of June, 1850, was in this family.”
As of June 1, 1850, Zachary Taylor was still alive. He would not be taken ill until July 4, and he would die just 5 days later.
(Take a look at the column that lists place of birth for this 1850 census page. The 42 people listed on this page come from Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Massachusetts, as well as Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and England.)
Just 32 days left until the release of the 1940 Census…
It’s also the 140th birthday of Yellowstone National Park! The park was included in the many enumeration maps made for the 1940 census.
These maps are important because the 1940 Census does not have a name index. To search for a family, you will need to know the address where they lived.
If you have the address of an ancestor from 1940, find the address on the map and then look for the enumeration district number for that address. The ED number may be a two part number separated by a hyphen. The first number represents the county number and the second number the number of the enumeration district within that county.
Save the enumeration district numbers for the opening of the 1940 Census on April 2, 2012. You will be able to search the digitized copies of the census by ED number and then browse for your family members’ census entry.
For a more detailed explanation, visit our web page to help you get started!