Genealogy and the Census

What can you learn from the 1940 Census?

Census records are an invaluable source of basic information in genealogical research. While each census since 1850 has asked some of the same basic questions – name, age, place of birth, etc. – each census also asks unique questions. Unique questions in the 1940 census include queries about the individual's place of residence in 1935 and their level of income in 1939.

Here is a quick glance at the depth of information available on your ancestors available in the 1940 census.

  1. LOCATION: Household address
  2. HOUSEHOLD DATA: Was the home owned or rented? What was its value? Was the home a farm?
  3. NAME: Names of family members
  4. RELATION: relation of individuals listed in household to the head of household
  5. PERSONAL DESCRIPTION: Gender, race, and age of household members
  6. EDUCATION: Has the individual attended college? What is their highest grade completed?
  7. PLACE OF BIRTH: State or country of origin
  8. CITIZENSHIP STATUS: Is the individual a US citizen?
  9. RESIDENCE APRIL 1, 1935: Where did the individual live 5 years prior to the date of the 1940 census?
  10. OCCUPATION & INDUSTRY: What did the individual do for a living?
  11. INCOME IN 1939: What was the individual's income in the year prior to the 1940 census?

Ancestry Library Edition provides key sheets for each US Census. These key sheets can be a big help in the interpretation of census data, and are easily accessed with a few clicks.

  1. Click the Charts and Forms link along the top of the Ancestry home page
  2. Click the Census Forms link from the Charts and Forms page
  3. Click the link for the appropriate US Census form
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