Those Places Thursday: What was Life Like in Texas in 1940?

It is “Those Places Thursday” and this blogging prompt allows me a chance to reminiscence about how and where their ancestors lived and to write about “those places” via stories or photos. Today, I’m reminiscent about what life was like for my Texas ancestors in 1940. What really got me thinking about this particular decade in our country’s history was the new Texas infographic I saw online last week at Ancestry.com’s Blog.

Check out the infographic below and tell me if you remember any, or all, of these 1940 events from Texas’ past!

Texas in the 1940s

Click to Enlarge

The 1940 Texas highlights according to this infographic were:

  1. ‘Corny” dogs arrive as Neil and Carl Fletcher serve their first at the Texas State Fair
  2. Tote’ms become 7-11s
  3. First beers sold with the Lone Star name
  4. 6,281,537 head of cattle means almost as many cows as people in Texas
  5. 1940 Population  – 6, 414, 824

Even though this decade was ten years before my time, there were some events from this decade that carried over to the next that I’m very familiar with. The first one is the Tote’m, or U-Totem, convenience stores that later became 7-Elevens, and then Circle K stores before leaving the Houston area completely. I sure miss those Big Gulps, don’t you? And I may not have been around when corny dogs were introduced to everyone at the State Fair of Texas, but that’s a food item I’ve enjoyed as a kid and still enjoy today!

Infographics like this one and the one I posted last year (Online Family History Trends at Archives.com) are all the RAVE with the Internet community. I must admit I like them too and love sharing those relevant to genealogy with everyone via email, social media networks, and on this blog! Those of you wondering what are infographics, Wikipedia offers a great explanation:

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.”

Once Ancestry.com completed indexing the 1940 Census, they created an infographic for every state highlighting what life was like in that state in 1940. Visit the Ancestry.com Blog to see all the interesting facts and images for each state. While you’re there you might as well download your state’s infographic and share it on your blog, website, or social media profile too!

Do you remember any life events in Texas during the 1940’s that this infographic didn’t capture? If you do, share that/those event(s) in the comment section below!

My First 1940 US Census Find!

1940 US Census @ FamilySearch.org

Are you wondering how the indexing of the 1940 Census is going? Yes?! Then visit FamilySearch.org to get their status on image availability by state. The entire 1940 US census will be indexed by a community of volunteers and made FREE to the public at Family Search for perpetuity!

According to their website as of today (May 15, 2012), there are a total of twenty states fully indexed with six of them — Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Virginia — searchable and ready for genealogists to explore . . . woo-hoo! The minute I saw Kansas on the searchable list, I knew right away that my paternal great-grandparents, Birdie (Green)  — “My Fearless Female Ancestor Who Made the News — and Morgan Aldridge, who lived and died in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas would be my first 1940 Census find!

So I began my search for them by entering the state, county, and city where they lived in 1940:

Click to Enlarge!

After clicking the search button, 19 Enumeration Districts containing “Parsons” in Labette, Kansas were retrieved.  According to the 1920 and 1930 US Census, my great-grandparents were enumerated in Parsons City Ward 3, so I immediately began scrolling down the list until I came to Enumeration District (E.D.) 50-28A & 50-28B for Parsons City Ward 3. Another clue that let me know that I had located the correct enumeration district was the fact that my step-grandfather worked for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (M.K.& T)/Katy Railroad for many years and always lived near the rail yards he worked:

Click to Enlarge!

 

BINGO! There they are in E.D. 50-28B, sheet 12 B, on lines 48 and 49:

Click to Enlarge!

They were living at 2207 Morgan Ave, Parsons, KS 67357 in 1940. According to what my great-grandmother told to the enumerator, the highest grade level of school completed for Morgan was 4th, and the highest grade completed for her was 6th grade. Both of them were born in Texas, but they had been living in Parsons, KS as of April 1, 1935. Birdie was a homemaker while Morgan was employed for 52 weeks in 1939  as a Boiler Washer for the Railroad Roundhouse earning $1,350 that year!

So, if you have a Morgan & Birdie (Green) Aldridge in your Kansas/Texas family tree, let me hear from you because I’m . . . Claiming Kin!

 

Was April 2012 a great month for genealogists?

Month of AprilWas April 2012 a great month for genealogists? I truly believe it was! If nothing else, it was one of the BEST and most EXCITING months for me in the world of genealogy!

It began with the most anticipated genealogical event to date — the release of the 1940 United States Census on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9 AM sharp Eastern Standard Time! Despite the overloaded databases the first few hours and days by so many genealogists trying to access these records, I’ve been able to successfully search the census records and find new and existing family members, as well as, identify those who went MIA in earlier records. But more importantly, these records have given me some great insight into how much my family and America has changed since the 1940s!

Next, Family History Expo 2012 rolled into H-town. With sessions like — “New Avenues in Genetic Genealogy,” “Google Earth for Genealogy – Rock Your Ancestor’s World,” and “The Challenges of Genealogical Research in Ghana” to name a few (you can see other sessions I attended via my online conference directory at Lanyrd.com), I came away with some excellent research techniques and best practices that will certainly enhance the accuracy of my genealogical investigation and much more.

Last, but certainly not least, the results of my genetic DNA test are in– woo-hoo! That’s right! The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test that I ordered from Family Tree DNA during the first quarter of this year is back and I look forward to sharing those results with you in the coming weeks. Now, take one look at me and my family tree and it doesn’t take a genius to know that my ancestral origins are in Africa. But knowing more about the geographical region and the possible subculture groups that make up my ancestry is what makes genealogy via DNA so fascinating!

So . . . do you think April 2012 was a great month for genealogists? How successful were you in locating your ancestors in the 1940 Census when they were released last month? Have you tried DNA testing yet? What other genealogy activities did you delve into the month of April 2012? Share your thoughts with me!

Tuesday’s Tip: On Your Mark, Get Set, Ready … GO – 1940 Census here we come!

We are just a week away from the release of the 1940 Census and thanks to the National Archives, they have setup a direct link to the 1940 Census records at http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/ and a brief, yet informative video I’ve posted below, for anyone planning to access these records on April 2, 2012.

 

So why is the 1940 Census so special?

This census describes our country during the Great Depression, which began when Wall Street crashed, October 1929. According to Wikipedia.org, This crash “. . . marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement.”

So what can you and I do right now to prepare for the grand opening of the 1940 Census?

We can begin by:

  1. Making a list of all the people (our ancestors, their parents, siblings, cousins, etc.) we want to look up in the 1940 Census.
  2. Collecting as many addresses as possible for these people by referring to:
    • City Directories
    • 1930 Census
    • World War II Draft Records
    • Naturalization Petitions
  3.  Identifying the Enumeration District (ED) where our ancestors lived.What are Enumeration Districts? These are geographical areas of a city or county that were assigned to a census taker.To locate the Enumeration Districts where our ancestors’ lived, go to the National Archives’ Online Public Access Search (OPA) at http://www.archives.gov/research/search/.
    To look up an Enumeration District, type –
    1940 census enumeration district description + the county + the state
    To look up an Enumeration District Map, type –
    1940 census maps + the county + the state. Another option for locating an Enumeration District is to visit Steve Morse’s website at http://stevemorse.org/census/ed2040.php?state=&year=1940 to access his free tool for converting a 1930 Census ED to a 1940 Census ED in one step.
  4. Accessing a blank copy of the 1940 Census forms below to become familiar with the various questions asked by census takers on that form:
    Blank 1940 Census Form
    Fillable 1940 Census Form

For more information and free resources for Genealogist at the National Archives, visit them online at http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/

Happy Researching!