Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's 1940...Do You Know Where Your Parents Are?

I do! My parents were six years old on the day the 1940 census was taken. They weren't yet living in the same county, much less the same town, but they were at least in the same state. It wasn't until their teen years that both their families moved to the town where they met.

Dad about 1940
I wrote about finding Dad's census record in a previous post: "I'm Making History!!! And You Can Too!". They lived in a small rural area and which made it easy to find them. The highest grade his parents had completed was 7th. We knew that Grandpa didn't make much past 6th grade, but we didn't know Grandma didn't either. Grandpa was always a stickler for 1940, all six of his children were in school. The oldest had completed 10th grade and the youngest, being in 1st grade at the time, had not yet completed any. It is interesting to me to note that at least four of the six children went on to some form of higher education beyond high school, which they attributed to Grandpa's love of education. Some day I will blog more about him. He was an awesome guy.

Mom with her sisters about 1940
Mom was a little more difficult to locate. She lived in the Chicago area but she wasn't quite sure exactly which town they lived in 1940. I made a few passes on the One Step tool--the first one gave me a choice of nine EDs! I finally narrowed the possibilities down to three. I found her on the second one I chose to search and she was on page 26 of 61. They were renting their home for $25 month. Grandpa only completed 8th grade, but Grandma made it through 3 years of High School! Mom was the only one of the children in school yet and she had completed first grade. I think the enumerator made an error there...she was only six years old and her birthday is in November so she couldn't have started school early. Interestingly, they lived in Des Plaines in 1935, not one of the towns we knew they ever lived in. Grandpa was a bartender in a tavern and had made $1300 in 1939. That's significantly higher than the national median for men ($956)!

Have you found your parents or grandparents yet? If not, give Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub's tool "How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step" a try. It's easier than you might think.

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Oh my! Your dad looks like a character in a tv show. I think he'd play a bit of a rascal. And look at those little girls -- I bet everybody loved them. You have cute parents!

    1. From all accounts from his older sisters, he was definitely a rascal. :) I think they were cute, too. Thanks!