U.S. census records from 1790-1940 are available for researchers
The 1940 census included several standard questions, such as name, age, gender, race, education and place of birth. But the census also introduced some new questions. The instructions ask the enumerator to enter a circled x after the name of the person furnishing the information about the family. It also asked whether the person worked for the CCC, WPA or NYA the week of March 24-30, 1940; and asked for their income for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 1939.
The 1940 census also has a supplemental schedule for two names on each page. The supplemental schedule asks the place of birth of the person's father and mother; the person's usual occupation, not just what they were doing the week of March 24-30, 1940; and for all women who are or have been married, whether this woman had been married more than once and age at first marriage.
Editor's note: The original version of this story posted on May 11, 2013 failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on March 18, 2014 and attribution to original sources were added.
Barry J. Ewell is author of "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History," and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.
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