1940 US Census – 9 Days Away — #Genealogy, #Preparation

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has finished his preparations for the 1940 US Census (sans index). After the index is finally transcribed, I will query widely for years. But for 2012, I needed to be able to search via the Enumeration District.

As I said before, I made extensive use of Drs:  Steve Morse & Joel Weintraub 1940 Census Tool .

I created a spreadsheet. I listed the most important people I wanted to find in 1940. I used the 1930 US Census and recorded their Enumerated District (ED). This is a necessary precursor to looking up the ED’s for 1940. The only other way is to start from a street address. Now use the link to the 1940 Census Tool [see above] to convert your 1930 EDs to 1940 EDs (or your last known address to 1940 EDs). I made sure that when I got a long list of possible 1940 EDs that I used their ED descriptions and the Google Map to highlight the most likely ED (or EDs) to start with.

I also used the Ancestry.com City Directories (Beta) to finalize my analysis. While doing that I got the idea to pose and hopefully to answer with the 1940 Census some questions. I noticed in a 1941 City Directory that one of my Gawlik/Gawlikowski families started using, Gawlick . In fact due to emails with another genealogist I was prepared to accept Gawlick for this family already.

Well there they were using Gawlick for their family name. There was also another detail in the city directory. It showed that Kath (the wife) was a widow (of Anthony) in 1941. OK, so now I had a boundary for the last possible year for Anthony Gawlick (aka Gawlik) as 1941. I tried to use Ancestry.com’s older city directories and I noticed that they were sparse (not all years) and also when they had a year, it was not always a complete scan of that city directory so my use of Historical City directories was hit or miss for some families and/or streets. But none the less, I was able to find Anthony alive in the 1939 city directory! Ok So now I had a short range: alive in 1939 … to dead in 1941. So maybe the 1940 will tell me is,  “Anthony alive or dead in 1940″? I added that question to my list of questions.

Questions

Will I find Rose Wlecial Gawlik’s brothers living with her? Why have I had such a hard time locating her borthers (Boleslaw & Leon) in city directories? Is Anthony Gawlick alive or dead? Is my grandmother’s older half-brother Frank Leszczynski still alive in 1940 (he declared his intent to be a US Citizen in 1931)? He’d be about 75 years old in 1940. I wonder what age he use (70 or 75) since I have multiple birth years for him? Also, I learned in my preparations that he used a younger half-brother’s address in 1931. So I wonder is Frank Leszczynski living with Michael Leszczynski in Buffalo/Depew at 257 Broadway in the 1940 Census? Until I had access to historical city directories, I had never realized that Michael and Frank had both lived at the same address — nobody ever mentioned that in any interview or email.

So beyond the facts that the US Census will provide about who is where and how old they are and whether they are US citizens or not, I am hoping to see what the older men were veterans of which US conflicts. The questions related to the Great Depression will also be interesting for all and will certainly be relevant to the political discourse of today — particularly as we march onward to the November elections.

Most of my immigrant Eliasz (aka Elijasz) forebears are deceased before 1940. My grandfather (Joseph) died in 1930 and my grand-uncle (John) died in 1936. So only Mary Eliasz Gronek can be found. Will I get any clues about Detroit Stanley Elyasz (a 1st cousin of my grandfather) and how about Buffalo Stanley Eliasz (is he a cousin or a sibling of my grandfather)?

The suspense and the anticipation is growing. Good thing we had WDYTYA last night and tomorrow night we will get the first episode of Henry Louis Gate’s genealogy show on PBS. Those can help ease the suspense for now until a week from Monday.

How are you preparing? Are you done yet? Are you doing something similar to what I am doing? This is what I am using (email me please) …

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