CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 4, Number 4
Genealogists have eagerly awaited the release of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For the past ten years, the most recent census available has been the 1930 census. This is because a privacy law restricts the release of the census to 72 years from the census date. As the 1940 census was dated April 1, 1940, the release date is today - April 2, 2012 (April 1st fell on a Sunday this year).
Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 census are being made available as free digital images on the National Archives website (www.1940census.archives.gov) beginning April 2nd at 9 a.m. Eastern time. BUT no index will be available, at least for several months. Until then, researchers will have to search the census geographically.
The 1940 census will be arranged by Enumeration District, or E.D. An Enumeration District was a geographic area that could be covered by one census taker during the census period. Before going online, you’ll first need to know the state, county or parish, and street address where your ancestors lived in 1940. To do this, you can talk to older family members, consult family papers, or search city directories. Also, if you know where they lived in 1930 and they did not move between 1930 and 1940, this will help you with your search.
Once you know where they lived, there are a number of online tools to help you determine the corresponding 1940 Enumeration District code number. The National Archives has census maps of some cities and towns. Instructions for finding and using these are available at http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/start-research.html.
Another useful online E.D. locator tool is found on Steve Morse’s website http://stevemorse.org/census.
So what information will be available on the 1940 census? In addition to name, age, gender, race, education, and place of birth, census takers also asked individuals for their place of residence five years earlier, their highest level of education grade achieved, occupation, and income.
The 1940 census will be particularly helpful to younger researchers who sometimes have difficulty getting started in their genealogical search. Once they’ve found a relative in the 1940 census, it can be fairly easy to then find them or their parents in the 1930 U.S. Census, then the 1920, 1910, 1900, etc., possibly back to the first U.S. census taken in 1790.
A volunteer effort is now underway to index all 135 million names on the 1940 census. The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, a joint initiative between Archives.com, FamilySearch, findmypast.com, and other leading genealogy societies and organizations to index the census has now begun. The resulting index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages where he or she is listed. The index will also be free forever.
One of the Louisiana societies which has signed up as a participant in the volunteer indexing effort is Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane. Members of this group who sign up and participate through the organization will help earn benefits and recognition for the group.
Anyone interested in volunteering can go to http://www.the1940census.com/society and register. Volunteers must download the indexing software and open an account, all free. Members of Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane are asked to select the society from the participating organizations listed alphabetically by name on the drop down menu on the profile screen.
Volunteer indexers will then view a digital image of a 1940 census page and type in the names and information highlighted on the screen. Organizers estimate that it will take between 30 and 40 minutes to index one page.
The release of one of the decennial censuses is always a major event in the genealogical world. With all the technological advances of the past few years, this year’s release is even more exciting.
Thanks go out to Judy Riffel for submitting this information for publication. She is one of the major genealogists in Louisiana (and the nation) and is editor of Le Raconteur, the publication of Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane.
JOHN McDONOGH DAY: Welcome to a Louisiana Statehood Bicentennial Event. This 122nd annual event honors public school philanthropist John McDonogh.
Living history interpreters will be present to discuss the Battle of New Orleans and McDonogh's role in it. They will be wearing authentic replica uniforms and will demonstrate loading an authentic replica rifle. Memorial speeches will be given and flowers will be placed on McDonogh's former tomb.
This will take place on Friday, May 4, 2012, 9:45 a.m., at McDonoghville Cemetery, 520 Hancock Street, Gretna. For details, visit www.johnmcdonogh.com, or call (504) 363-1580 or 1-888-4-GRETNA.
SOCIETY MEETING SET: The next meeting of the Allen Genalogical and Historical Society will be held on April 3, 2012 at the Kinder Library, 10 a.m., Kinder, Louisiana. From here, the group will proceed to the Allen Parish Leatherwood Museum in Oakdale.
Dues of $15.00 for 2012 are now due. Checks can be made out to AGHS and mailed to P.O. Box 789, Kinder, LA 70648. Their publication is called Crossroads, and it covers Oakdale, Oberlin, Kinder, Elizabeth, Reeves, LeBlanc, Mittie and surrounding communities.
This latest issue has an interesting article by Juliana Smith on proving or disproving family tales. However, the main part of the publication is devoted to the Lanier family along with color illustrations and local connections printed in red ink. Another feature is by Harold Winfrey who describes the black families of Hickory Flat.
This is their best issue to date, and anyone with ancestral connections to this area of Louisiana need to check out this organization and all their publications that they have available for sale.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries can be any length, and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. All genealogical/historical/preservation books are reviewed in this column format, but a review copy is necessary for this service. Another service is offered here too. Claitor’s Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service. It is a way to get out-of-print books back into the system and definitely is a great assistance to genealogists who may need this information.
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