Saturday, April 2, 2011

What (and Who) I Hope to Find on the 1940 Census

This weekend Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings is as follows:

3)  Where did your ancestral family members live in 1940 on Census Day?  Have you found all of the addresses in city directories or telephone books?  Please list the ones you know the addresses of, and the ones you need to find addresses for.

Most of my ancestral family members were living on farms at this time, so I do not know exact addresses, but I generally know counties and often the towns near which they lived. These are the main ancestors I will start looking for:

My great-grandmother Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith Bonner Brinlee. I imagine she will be in Collin County, Texas, living with her son Odell Brinlee and his family, or possibly with another son, Austin Franklin Brinlee. I am especially interested in finding more information on her, because she is my brick wall. Will this census finally provide an accurate age for her?

My grandparents Lawrence Carroll Brinlee and Sallie Frances Norman Brinlee. They will be living in Fannin County, Texas, somewhere near Bonham. I believe my Aunt Sarah Evangeline Brinlee will already be married and out of the house, but my father and most of his brothers will be living at home.

My grandparents Kirby Runion Moore and Eula Amanda Floyd Moore. They will be living in Baylor County, Texas, near Bomarton. I believe their four youngest surviving children (the youngest, Ray, died in 1932) will be shown living with them. My mother will be with her first husband; I believe they were still in Baylor County, but they might have moved to California.  Baylor County has never had a very large population, so I will be going over all of the images; there are bound to be numerous other relatives living there.

My great-grandparents William Henry “Jack” Norman and Sarah Jane Sisson Norman had died during the previous decade, but a number of their children would have been living in Fannin County, or perhaps in neighboring Hunt or Grayson counties. I am particularly interested in finding my Great Uncle Oby Norman, whom I could not find on the previous three censuses. I know that in 1925 a son, H.P., was born to Oby and his wife Edith Beulah Watson Norman; H.P. died in 1928 and was their only child as far as I know. On the 1930 census I found Edith living alone in California and in that same year she travelled to Hawaii alone. Where was Oby? The separation was apparently not permanent; they lived together in California until Edith’s death in 1956.

Lizzie Brinlee was the only one of my great-grandparents who was alive in 1940, but I do hope to find all of the siblings of my grandparents who were still living. Most were in Texas, but a few may have been in California. Of course, I do not have exact addresses for these siblings, but I will start by looking near where they lived on the 1930 census.

I am disappointed that the parents’ birthplace will not be included, but I do hope that the question on who provided the information will help me to judge its accuracy.


  1. If your targets fall on one of two lines of the 40 line population schedule in 1940, they were asked additional questions on the bottom of the sheet...and one of those questions was the birthplace of the person's mother and father. So you have a 5% (1 out of 20) chance that you will see that information.
    Joel Weintraub

  2. I can't wait for the 1940 census either, but I haven't taken the time to find out where they all were and what I want to see.

  3. jweintraub - I am definitely hoping that some of them (especially my great-grandmother) DO end up on those lines!

    Amy - This will be the challenge, won't it? Although I'm lucky in that I'm sure that some of my ancestors were living in low-population counties, some of these people were also really good at "hiding."