Monday, April 2, 2012

My First Family in the 1940 US Census

Here it is - April 2, 2012 and the day of the launch of the 1940 US Census.  Like so many other genealogists I have been eagerly waiting for this day and planning my attack method.  I will admit that I was pretty confident, though, that the much awaited census release would cause a major snafu with the National Archives and Records Administration and I was certainly correct.

Try as I might from early this morning until about 4 pm I was unable to gain access to any Michigan census records that I was hoping to find.  I had planned to search first for my mother in this census as she was 14 at the time the census was taken.  I have her on the 1930 census as a 4 year old child and that showed her family living in the "country" on the family farm on Cleveland Avenue in St. Joseph, Michigan which is where my mother was born.  Between 1925 and 1939 when my mother began high school, however, the family had moved 5 times into various rental homes in the city proper of St. Joseph and she could not recall exactly WHICH home they lived at in 1940.  They also traditionally had an open door policy for relatives that were in need of a home from time to time and I was interested in seeing if her grandfather was listed as living with the family in 1940.  Despite my best efforts today, nothing was working on NARA.

Other sites were offering the 1940 census but the pickings were limited to a few states that did not involve my ancestors.  But when I saw on Ancestry that they did have the 1940 Indiana census records I had a thought.  My mother's aunt and family had lived in South Bend, IN so I decided to go in search of their record.

First to the 1930 census I went in search of the family of Joseph and Rose (Kijak) Baker.  I found them easily (indexed naturally) along with their young daughter Rose M.  An interesting find was the neighbors on each side of them who were Rose's half sister and family on one side - Joseph and Mary Emma (Banner) Linehan and Rose's half brother and family on the other side - Frank and Bernice Banner along with two more half brother's Anthony and James Banner.  Here are these three families in the 1930 Indiana US Census:

The source for this image from is as follows: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

From this census I was able to ascertain the Enumeration District which was 71-3 in Clay Township, South Bend, Indiana and that took me back to Ancestry to look for these families in the 1940 Census.  Of course with no index yet this would be a bit more challenging.  The census for ED 71-3 consisted of 62 pages and I began scrolling and scrolling.  I will say that the quality of the film was excellent and I continued to scroll, scroll, and scroll.  My mother was standing over my shoulder watching me as she was caught up in the excitement of this event.  As the scrolling continued I began to despair thinking that these 3 families probably moved in the previous 10 years.  Finally my mother gave up at about page 50 and went back to her TV watching.

Not one to quit I continued.  Perhaps I should have started at the end and went backwards OR remember the phrase "and the last shall be first" because it was on page 62, the very last page of this ED, that I found Joseph and Rose (Kijak) Baker along with daughter Rose M as can be seen here:

The source for this image from is as follows: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.
This was an interesting census for me in that it showed Rose having had 7 years of education and I will be curious to see if her older brother, my grandfather, Joseph Kijak, had a similar amount of education.  As an added bonus, the supplementary census questions that were selected for some to answer were asked of my great aunt Rose and these correctly showed that her parents were both born in Poland, that Polish was the language spoken in her home when she was growing up and that she had given birth to ZERO children - the above daughter, Rose M, was adopted as my mother had always told me.

I did not find in this ED the other two families of Rose's half siblings but I am sure they are somewhere else in the South Bend area as they remained there their entire lives.  In any event I am pleased and can say that this family is the FIRST for me for the 1940 US census.

 Copyright (c) 2012, Cheryl J. Schulte