Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The 1940 Census, A Start Up Airline, And Several Digressions by Moi

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Getting Closer, Won't Be Long Now, Are You Ready?

The excitement builds, across the Blogosphere more and more posts are appearing reminding us, excitedly, that it won't be long until April SECOND, 2012, when the 1940 U.S. Census will become available to the public.

The census actually was recorded as of April 1, 1940, and even tho we are supposed to have access to it 72 years later, the 1st of April falls on a Sunday, sooooooooo we wait ONE more day!

The other evening my thoughts meandering here and there, I decided to try a search for what happened on April 1, 1940.  It did not matter what, just something. I found this web site, the accuracy of which I can not totally vouch for, but, hey, it is fun, so if you don't take it too seriously, have a lookie see.

They mentioned things like, hey, it is April's Fools Day.  But, of course.  It is also the birth day of Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 2011). April 1st is also Edible Book Day and Fossil Fools Day.  So, the fool that I am I guess I will be eating a fossil that day, wonder how the environmentalists will feel about that. Oh, never mind, silly foolish me!

Also mentioned on that page of things that happened in 1940 really got my attention, and, it had to do with airplanes!

Some of you may be aware that in my youth I took a few flying lessons, yes, as in airplanes.  I don't particularly care for big jets, but, I still have a yearning to fly the small ones.  If a plane or helicopter fly nearby, I will be craning my head every which way to see what is zooming overhead. So, needless to say, I was very interested to see that British Overseas Airways Corporation reportedly was founded in 1940.  I was slightly disappointed to discover that according the the Wikipedia page the founding date really was actually 24 November 1939.  But, unless you are shooting horseshoes or tossing hand grenades, November is pretty close to 1940 and hey they were still in their infancy in 1940!

One of the fun facts on this Wikipedia page was that "BOAC operated scheduled flying boat services to colonial possessions in Africa and Asia."  Flying boats, you have my attention now!  Have you ever flown on a flying boat??  I have, just once, as a teen, it was awesome!  Of course, I did not really think so then!  My daddy had taken us fishing somewhere in the far north country of Canada and there were no teen boys there.  I hated it, and made sure he knew all about it.  And, he never forgot it either!   LOL  Oh, now, I would just LOVE to take that trip, as long as I had a few good books along, I still don't care for fishing!  But, as usual, I digress - -

So, 1940 had BOAC in their infancy, and across the pond we had our 1940 census.

And, soon that census will be coming to a web site near you.  That said, it is going to be a bit rough finding your ancestors if they lived in a big city.  Did you know that each Enumeration District was something like 80 plus pages??  If you do not use Steve Morse's great hints to reduce the numbers of ED's you must search page by page through those big cites.   Even if you do use Morse's terrific finding aids, you are still going to be looking at a LOT of pages to find Uncle Eugene and Aunt Florence.

SOOO, why not join in the indexing instead. Just surf on over to this web site and sign up.  It will be fun and fulfilling and the very best that volunteerism has to offer, you can't beat this with a stick.

I'll let you in on another little secret, there are a lot of die hard family researchers that I know that will NOT be searching those ED's page by page.  They are waiting for the index.  Really!  They are waiting!  Why??  Because some of us have been there, done that with the 1930 census.  We could not wait to get at it!  And, then the reality hit, at just how many hours we were spending looking for just one family, remember, at first, there was no index for the 1930 census. Oh, and we were spinning film, not searching at the break neck speed of the internet.  Our experience has taught us, wait for the index.  The index will make your search easier and faster.  Besides if that fails, hey, you can still go do the 80 some pages of several ED's in those big cities looking for Eugene and Florence.

I will be indexing, will you??  Let's get this done, so those die hard family researchers don't have to wait long and remember, I have that encore trip Man and I are planning.  Help me, come index, send us on another trip.

And, that is how I can manage to chat about the 1940 census, the indexing project, the start up of an airline, a fishing trip gone bad, horseshoes, hand grenades and eating fossils in one blog post.

Please come put me out of my misery, SIGN UP TO INDEX THE 1940 CENSUS, you can tell, I really need help!  Lots of help!

* Photo is of the British Overseas Airways Company head office and G-AMOG. The photo was found on this Wikipedia page, dated 23 August 2008, taken by Chris, source data:  This image was originally posted to Flickr by Zippy's Revenge at http://flickr.com/photos/15218213@N06/2787638135. It was reviewed on 23 February 2011 by the FlickreviewR robot and confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0.

** The disclaimer, well, imagine my surprise to find out there were some possible side benefits for being a 1940 census ambassador.  Who knew, I did not sign up for prizes, but, hey, I'll play the game.  SOOO, I have been instructed that I need to reveal, as part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card, which is this weeks prize.  Since I almost never win anything I am sure that this fun stuff will not affect my desire to see the 1940 census indexed as fast as we can get it done.  But, I gotta tell ya this, so I have.


Jasia said...

Actually, I think Auntie Florence and Uncle Eugene will be pretty easy to find. I think they were still living at home with their mom and dad at the time of the 1940 Census. Of course I could be wrong but Eugene didn't marry until 1946. I'm not sure when Florence married but I was told "in the 1950s" so she was probably still at home too. I just hope I can find their mom and dad in the census. I'm far too curious to wait until an index is created to find them. I'll be looking for them come April!

And yeah, I'll probably be indexing too.;-)

Michael Pierce said...

Great article. Crazy to think that I spend a lot of my time in airplanes and the industry really just started in the 1940s.

I chose to write about technology in my post; would love to hear any thoughts/comments if you have a spare minute.