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Guide to Questions Asked on 1790-1940 Census Records
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1940 Census Findings


1940 Federal Census Information & Downloadable 1940 Census Form at Ancestry

View free information about the 1940 census, view the headers of this coming census AND

 get a free download of the 1940 census form you will need to record your ancestors in the 1940 Census.


What information can be found in the 16th Federal Census of the United States?

Questions Asked on the 1940 Census

LOCATION

Column 1: Name of street, avenue, road, etc.

Column 2: House number (in cities and towns).

 

HOUSEHOLD DATA

Column 3: Number of household in order of visitation.

Column 4: Home owned (O) or rented (R).

Column 5: Value of home.  If owned, or monthly rental, if rented.

Column 6: Does this household live on a farm? (Yes or No).

 

NAME

Column 7: Name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household.

BE SURE TO INCLUDE:

                   1. Persons temporarily absent from household.  Write "Ab" after names of such persons.

                   2. Children under 1 year of age.  Write "Infant" if child has not been given a first name.

                   Enter X after name of person furnishing information.

 

RELATION

Column 8: Relationship of this person to the head of the household, as wife, daughter, father, mother-in-law, grandson, lodger, lodger's wife, servant, hired hand, etc.

 

PERSONAL DESCRIPTION

Column  9: Sex, -Male (M), Female (F).

Column 10: Color or race.

Column 11: Age at last birthday.

Column 12: Marital status - Single (S), Married (M), Widowed (Wd) Divorced (D).

 

EDUCATION

Column  13: Attend school or college any time since March 1, 1940? (Yes or No).

Column  14: Highest grade of school completed.

 

PLACE OF BIRTH

Column  15: If born in the United States, give State, Territory, or possession. 

                      If foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937.ex, -Male (M), Female (F).

                      Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English and IrishFree State (Eire) from Northern Ireland.

 

CITIZENSHIP

Column  16: Citizenship of the foreign born.

 

RESIDENCE, APRIL 1, 1935

IN WHAT PLACE DID THIS PERSON LIVE ON APRIL 1, 1935?

For a person who, on April 1, 1935, was living in the same house as at present, enter in Col. 17 "Same house," and for one living in a different house but in the same city or town, enter "Same place," leaving Cols 18, 19, and 20 blank, in both instances.

For a person who lived in a different place, enter city or town, county, or State as directed in instructions. (Enter actual place of residence, which may differ from mail address.

Column  17: City, town, or village having 2500 or more inhabitants.  Enter "R" for all other places.

Column  18: COUNTY

Column  19: STATE (or Territory or foreign country).

Column  20: On a farm? (Yes or No)

 

PERSONS 14 YEARS OLD AND OVER - EMPLOYMENT STATUS

Column  21: Was this person AT WORK for pay or profit in private or non-emergency work during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No)

Column  22: If not, was he at work or assigned to, public EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NVA, CCC etc.) during the week of March 24-30 (Yes or No)

If neither at work nor assigned to public emergency work. ("No" in Cols 21 and 22):

     Column  23: Was this person SEEKING WORK? (Yes or No).

     Column  24: If not seeking work, did he HAVE A JOB, business, etc.? (Yes or No)

For persons answering "No" to quest. 21, 22, 23, and 24:

     Column  25: Indicate whether engaged in home housework (H) in school (S) or other (Ot).

If at private or nonemergency Government work ("Yes" in col. 21).

     Column  26: Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940.

     Column  27: Duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940 - in weeks.

OCCUPATION, INDUSTRY, AND CLASS OF WORKER

For a person at work, assigned to public emergency work, or with a job (Yes" in Col. 21, 22 or 24), enter present occupation, industry, and class of worker.

For a person seeking work ("Yes"  in Col 23): (a) If he has previous work experience, enter last occupation, industry, and class of worker: or (b) if he does not have previous work experience, enter "Newworker" in Col 28, and leave Cols. 29 and 30 blank.

For a person who lived in a different place, enter city or town, county, or State as directed in instructions. (Enter actual place of residence, which may differ from mail address.

Column  28: OCCUPATION. Trade, profession, or particular kind of work as - frame spinner, salesman, laborer, rivet heater, music teacher.

Column  29: INDUSTRY. Industry or business, as - cotton mill, retail grocery, farm, shipyard.

Column  30: Class of worker.

Column  31: Number of weeks worked in 1939 (Equivalent full-time weeks).

INCOME IN 1939 (12 months ending December 31, 1939)

     Column  32: Amount of money wages or salary received (Including commissions).

     Column  33: Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary? (Yes or No).

Column  34: Number of Farm Schedule.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS - For Persons Enumerated on Lines 14 and 29.

Editor's Note: These supplementary questions were only asked of of those persons whose names happened to land as the 14th or 29th person on the census form. Questions in columns 35-41 were asked of persons of all ages.  Questions in columns 42-47 were only asked of those age 14 or older.

Column  35: NAME (Editor's Note: Only persons on line 14 & 29)

FOR PERSONS OF ALL AGES

PLACE OF BIRTH OF FATHER AND MOTHER

If born in the United States, give State, Territory, or possession

If foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937

Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English and IrishFree State (Eire) from Northern Ireland.

     Column  36: FATHER

     Column  37: MOTHER

MOTHER TONGUE (OR NATIVE LANGUAGE)

     Column  38: Language spoken in home in earliest childhood.

VETERANS

     Column  39: If so, enter "Yes"

     Column  40: If child, is veteran - father dead? (Yes or No)

 

FOR PERSONS 14 YEARS OLD AND OVER

SOCIAL SECURITY

     Column  42: Does this person have a Federal Social Security Number? (Yes or No)

     Column  43: Were deductions for Federal Old Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made from this person's wages or salary in 1939? (Yes or No)

     Column  44: If so, were deductions made from (1) all (2) one-half or more (3) part, but less than half of wages or salary?

USUAL OCCUPATION, INDUSTRY, AND CLASS OF WORKER

Enter that occupation which the person regards as his usual occupation and at which he is physically able to work.  If the person is unable to determine this, enter that occupation at which he has worked longest during the past 10 years and at which he is physically able to work.  Enter also usual industry and usual class of worker.  For a person without previous work experience, enter "None: in Col. 45 and leave Cols. 46 and 47 blank.

     Column  45: USUAL OCCUPATION

     Column  46: USUAL INDUSTRY

     Column  47: USUAL CLASS OF WORKER

 

FOR ALL WOMEN WHO ARE OR HAVE BEEN MARRIED

Column  48: Has this woman been married more than once? (Yes or No).

Column  49: Age at first marriage.

Column  50: Number of children ever born. (Do not include stillbirths).

 


Editors Notes:

The 1940 census is different in the fact that some of the most important questions for genealogy research have only been asked of a small percentage of the population.  This will leave many researchers with unanswered questions and cause a bit of frustration.  The foremost of these is columns 36 and 37 - BIRTHPLACE OF MOTHER AND FATHER.  The same goes for information about veterans in columns 39 and 40.  These questions were only asked of those persons found on lines 14 and 29 of the census form.  However, those of us who have anxiously awaited the first census to show us our parents or grandparents listed, will have a marvelous time researching the 1940 census.  Some of you may be looking for yourselves for the first time in a census record!  How exciting that must be!

 

Good Sense Census Tips: 

The 1940 census includes names of those who normally live in the household but are currently absent.  This could prove to be very helpful to the genealogy researcher. Men who were away for business reasons or in the military will continue to be listed in the household even though they are absent at the time when the census taker came to the door.

The questions asked on the 1940 census about all women who are or have been married on lines 48-50 will give researchers more information about the marital status and children of married women than any other Federal census has given.  You will now be able to tell if great great grandma was married more than once and how many living children she has born. 

The 1940 census asked for some in-depth information about the occupation of persons who were enumerated including: their income in the year 1939.  This will provide interesting details about the life and times of your ancestors.

The original 1940 census documents and their punch cards were destroyed by the US government, leaving only the microfilmed copies for research. This may be disheartening for some family history researchers if the pages of the 1940 census on which their ancestor is found, was not microfilmed well.

Soundex: There is not a Government soundex or name index for the 1940 Federal Census Records.  1940 City Directories will be useful in helping to locate ancestors in the 1940 census.  These may be found at local libraries, the Library of Congress, NARA and in the collections of genealogy subscription services.  Ancestry does have a large searchable collection of 1940 city directories.  It will include city and county directories ranging from 1935 to 1945 and may prove to be very helpful. Every name indexes of the 1940 census will begin as soon as the census has been released by both Ancestry and FamilySearch.org.

The Unified 1940 Census ED Finder is a handy utility provided by Steve Morse.  It can help you find the ED number you need to conduct a search of the 1940 census for your ancestors without a surname index. Steve Morse also provides 1940 Enumeration District Maps.


See 1940 Federal Census Information & Downloadable 1940 Census Form at Ancestry Here you will find free information about the 1940 census, view the headers of this coming census and get a free download of the 1940 census form. Furthermore, once the 1940 census begins streaming online... Ancestry will open it up for free use!

Also See Getting Ready for the 1940 Census

Also See View a blank 1940 Census Form at NARA

1940 Census Search


Which US States and Places Were Included in 1940 Census Records?

The 16th Census of the United States includes the entire continental United States, Alaska, American Somoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, all military and consular services abroad, and naval services abroad or in American waters, but not at a fixed station.

 


Where Will 1940 US Census Data be found?

1. Census Finder Census Directory - This is our own directory of free census records which can be found online.  Our directory is categorized by state and county and we have attempted to list every census index, census transcription, and even census images which can be found online.  Also See 1940 Census Search

To access the directory, Choose a State: Alabama Census, Alaska Census, Arizona Census, Arkansas Census, California Census, Colorado Census, Connecticut Census, Delaware Census, District of Columbia Census, Florida Census, Georgia Census, Hawaii Census, Idaho Census, Illinois Census, Indiana Census, Iowa Census, Kansas Census, Kentucky Census, Louisiana Census, Maine Census, Maryland CensusMassachusetts Census, Michigan Census, Minnesota Census, Mississippi Census, Missouri Census, Montana Census, Nebraska Census, Nevada Census, New Hampshire Census, New Jersey Census, New Mexico Census, New York Census, North Carolina Census, North Dakota Census, Ohio Census, Oklahoma Census, Oregon Census, Pennsylvania Census, Rhode Island Census, South Carolina Census, South Dakota Census, Tennessee Census, Texas Census, Utah Census, Vermont Census, Virginia Census, Washington Census, West Virginia Census, Wisconsin Census, Wyoming Census

 

2. Ancestry.com Census Records   Ancestry.com has completed the database of all US census records 1790-1940.  This is the greatest tool for genealogy research in the United States to be found online and it does include the entire collection of 1930 census records enumerated in the United States.  The 1940 census will be placed online by Ancestry as soon as it is released. While it is a paid subscription, it is well worth the money and they have so many more genealogy records in their databases.

 

3. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)  The archives maintained by the Federal US Government contains all United States Federal census records on microfilm.  They are in the process of placing their census collections online.  On their site, you will find an online catalog of available microfilm and a lot of useful information about what is available for census research. See 1940 Census Information.

 

4. FamilySearch.org The LDS (Latter Day Saints) Library in Salt Lake City also maintains the entire set of US Federal census microfilm and these can also be found or ordered for a fee at Family History Libraries located throughout the United States.  You can search for a Family History Library near you using this search The LDS Church is also putting many census records and genealogical indexes online and these can be accessed on their site.  Search at FamilySearch.org at Discover Your Family History and you may also view the entire list of LDS online records here.

 

5. Local libraries will often have history and genealogy departments with a (usually incomplete) collection of microfilm available for research and sometimes they will offer their patrons online subscriptions which can be accessed while at the library.

 


What questions were asked on the US Census?

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