What Were They Doing in 1940?

With all the excitement over the last couple of week with the release on April 2nd of the 1940 U. S. Federal Census, this is such a perfect time to investigate about those ancestors who lived in 1940 and were counted in that census.  Of special interest would be the ones that were young adults or older.

A good starting point is with photographs.  Go through those organized and labeled photos you have of relatives which were taken about 1940.  NOW true, you may not have them completely organized, labeled or even scanned yet … but it is on your ‘to-do list’.

Set aside just an hour or so, looking through those photos and select ones you either know are from 1940, real close to 1940 or might be 1940. Any of ancestors in front of their house, at a job, at some entertainment is an added plus. Maybe they got engaged or even married during 1940, wonderful photo opportunity there.  If they had a baby, now you know photos were taken.  Portraits are good but do try to locate an image of an ancestor doing something that interested them; like fishing, drawing, bicycling, playing baseball, anything that will mark the year 1940 as special.

Get assistance from other relatives about the few photos you have selected to help verify who is in the photo, what is happening and when it occurred. Collect as many of different ancestors as you can.  Certainly try to find photos of parents or grandparents, aunt and uncles.

Make copies or scan them to digital place them collectively. Print copies can be placed in a scrapbook or collage, with each name named and what they are doing. Make sure to include the year 1940. With the images in digital format there are many different presentations that can be done.

The image above is a sample of my family and how it can be displayed.  The gentleman to the top left is my father, a career serviceman since 1927, stationed in the Panama Canal Zone in 1940.  He was also the coach and manager of the military base baseball team which was victorious that year.

The center right portrait is my mother as she was attending Eastern University, Mt. Vernon School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the only female in her law class from which she graduated in 1941.

At the bottom center is my mother’s cousin whom she was very close to.  She learned to fly a plane before she got her driver’s license.  She purchased her own Kennu Bird bi-wing plane and flew across Florida including down in the Caribbean by herself.

See how much can be sparked with just one image at one point of time.  So let the introduction of the 1940 census help you take another look at those ancestors and what they were doing in 1940.

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Zulema 8/04/12

Celeb cesesunsCan you look at the census data on anyone famous? Yes and no. As we mentioned in our answer about , records are only released to the public after 72 years. So you can they just have to be really old (or dead).But that time lag doesn't mean there's nothing interesting you can check out! Indeed, some of the fun of reviewing old census data is finding famous people from the past. US resident Charlie ChaplinWe looked up one of the world's first film stars Charlie Chaplin and found that he was living at 1103 Cove Way in Beverly Hills, California in 1930. (The house has since been renumbered and has an address on Summit Drive.)Here's a look at the census data with The Tramp himself (and if you have , you can :Census for 1930 Beverly Hills City, CaliforniaName: Chaplin, Charles SRelationship (to head of house): HeadRace: WhiteAge: 41Estimated birth year: about 1889Birthplace: EnglandMother's birthplace: EnglandFather's birthplace: EnglandLanguage spoken: EnglishValue of home: $200,000Occupation: ActorIndustry: Motion picturesOther famous people in the censusAs for other celebrities, think presidents and historical figures, actors and musicians, generals and criminals. Some names with census data at the links below:a0Fred Astaire, Emily Dickinson,a0Betty Grable, Wyatt Earp, H G Wells,a0Beatrix Potter,a0Louis Armstrong,a0John Wilkes Booth,a0Harriet Beecher Stowe,a0Karl Marx and Charlesa0Dickens to name but a few.GD Star Ratingloading...
Ayana 8/04/12

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