09 August 2012

Blogiversary and the Strangest Census Page Ever

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!  This has been a slow year for blog posts, but GreatGreats is hanging in there.  I think the other stuff is getting under control and I can back to genealogy pretty soon...

Alhambra CA; ED 19-668, ancestry image # 20 of 42
My anniversary post is about the strangest census page I have ever seen....  The 1940 census is not a big deal to me--I'm pretty solid for all of the 1900s.  Looking for family in 1940 is just a curiosity, but a couple of nights ago, I succumbed and searched for Grandpa Porter.  Quick and easy, he was right where he should have been with Grandma and Uncle Bill: on Westboro Avenue in Alhambra.  But where are mom and Uncle Ray? 

I ran a general search for Ray and Mom.  They came up at the top of my search, nineteen pages after their parents and brother.  According to the index, they are childen of and in the household of Ethel Magnuson, along with 14 other people, all listed as part of Ethel's family.  Hmmm...Ethel's "family" live on different streets and have lots of different surnames!
Alhambra CA; ED 19-668, ancestry image # 39 of 42
Leaving the index and going to the actual image is where I found the strangest census page I have ever seen!  Notice that house numbers, visitation numbers, surnames, ages, and birthplaces are all over the place.

Here's a part of the left margin.  By the many hand-drawn, horizontal lines and the street names for every couple of entries, it's "clear" that for whatever reason, the enumerator used this page to enter names somehow left off of their rightful page.  It is obvious that the enumerator never intended for these entries to be new households.

For Mom & Ray, the visitation numbers on the image 39 match that of their parents' on image 20. But few of the visitation numbers on image 39 are indexed as written.  All entries on images 39 and 40 appear to be additions by the enumerator.  Image 41 is marked that it was done by the "OFFICE."  Image 42 is entirely blank.

Some of the entries on these 42 pages are indexed correctly as residing in Alhambra.  However, many are indexed as residing in San Gabriel.  I can understand how the "San Gabriel" got there, but why is it inconsistently?

I've started annotating/commenting on Ancestry.com's  indexed info on these 3 pages.  It will take quite a while to "fix" all the transcription (and enumeration) errors and to add comments to make it easier for researchers to "reunite" families.

So, yet another example that we must always check the original image and read the whole page!



  2. Happy Blogoversary MHD - glad to see someone shares this day with me!

  3. Three years!!! That's a big deal! Happy Blogiversary! Love and miss you!

  4. Wow! What a great blogiversary serenade! Thank you very, very much ladies! It is a special honor that three great and busy bloggers took their valuable time to write to me. It is truly appreciated.

  5. Happy Blogiversary!-Enjoyed your census story.

  6. There's nothing strange about the page where there appears to be a hodge-podge of names and addresses.

    If you looked at the sheet # of that page, you would see it's 61A. This and higher sheet numbers were reserved for people missed on the first sweep of the enumerator through the neighborhood. S/he might not have found the family at home, or only had information about part of the adults there, left an absentee blank form to be filled out, and then later picked them up. Those forms were transferred, per the enumerator's instructions, to a sheet with the number 61A or higher (regardless of what the actual page number was in the ED's sequence.)

    Notice on this page you can see the Family #, and you can then go back to previous pages to see the "main" household members.

    Joel Weintraub
    Dana Point, CA

    1. Thank you, Joel! Thank you very much for taking the time for such a detailed explanation. It sounds as though I would have benefitted from attending one of your workshops! But, as I said, it's unlikely that this census will give me any earth-shattering news. Still, it's best to be better educated. I'll amend the post to alert future readers to be sure to read your explanation.