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:
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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:
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BINGO! There they are in E.D. 50-28B, sheet 12 B, on lines 48 and 49:
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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!
I want to thank family and friends for all the positive feedback I’ve received about my post, Five Steps to Getting Started with Your Family Research! Since I’m asked about my research process all the time, I decided to share those “how-to” instructions on this blog. Now whenever I’m asked how did I get started with my family research, I can just refer everyone to that information!
Now that you’ve been interviewing family members about your ancestors and locating home sources to gather names, dates, and places to fill-in your pedigree charts and family group sheets, you’re probably ready to turn to a variety of online and offline resources to round out your research. When considering the Internet as a place to start your research, there are hundreds and hundreds of excellent websites out there you will use and enjoy along your journey. Just the thought of listing all the ones I frequent would be impossible . . . WHEW! But if I were to select just five websites to recommend for jump-starting your family research, I would recommend the five below because I visit them over, and over, and over again!
This website, filled with billions of digitized records, feeds my need for searchable census and military records, as well as, birth and death indices. Anyone who visits this site can launch an electronic family tree for FREE by typing in your name. Once you’ve found information you want to attach or save to family members of your tree, you will need to become a paid subscriber of the website. I’ve been using Ancestry’s FamilyTree Maker software to manage and organize my family history for quite some time. But, I became a paid subscriber of Ancestry.com in 2011 and totally enjoy the syncing capability I now have with my software and the entire Ancestry online community.
This is my favorite “go-to” website to search for death certificates to download and attach to my family tree. Being able to download and closely review ancestors’ death records have allowed me to fill in some pretty important gaps in my research. I have also been able to dispel rumors, as well as, shed light on assumptions and truths about some of my ancestors. Be sure to read a post I wrote about how FamilySearch.org helped me to reveal that my grand-father, Joseph Chapple (who grew up as an only child), wasn’t the only child my great-grandmother, Carrie Blanton, gave birth to!
Knowing where your ancestors lived, worked, and died in the US is very important to your success in locating information about them. So when I’m not able to physically visit states, counties, and towns where my ancestors lived right away, I turn to two great websites – USGenWeb and The RootsWeb Project – for help! Both of these websites, maintained by wonderful volunteers, provide free resources for the genealogy community. USGenWeb focuses on resources and information that you may find about your ancestors at the state level, while RootsWeb allows researchers to access searchable database and indexes for ancestors at the county level. Both of these websites have played an important role in me successfully locating obituaries, deeds, wills, and affidavits of heirship about my ancestors.
Once I’ve had a chance to carefully review an ancestor’s death certificate, I usually head over to FindAGrave.com, a very valuable online community dedicated to recording the final resting place of individuals around the world. The content at this website, mainly transcriptions and actual photos of tombstones, is provided by volunteers who are more than happy to transfer the management of your ancestor’s memorial page over to you to complete if you contact them. I truly appreciate this community a lot and show my support by sponsoring family members’ pages when I locate them. Sponsorship is a one-time payment of $5 which goes to helping them sustain the website, as well as, remove all the flashing banner ads on memorial pages.
This massive and wonderful website, personally maintained by the one and only Ms. Cyndi Howell, consist of over 300,000 links to online genealogical resources organized in to 188 categories! WOW! Actually, I call this website – the genealogist playground – because anything genealogy you can think of is probably linked at this website! If you’re looking for specific online genealogy resources relevant to your ethnicity, then this website is a great point of reference. Finding what you’re looking for is not difficult at all; just use the site’s custom Google search box, or click “Categories” along the site’s left sidebar to explore!
Today is Follow Friday and I want to call special attention to a couple of blogs and online resource that I think beginners and experienced genealogists will enjoy!
If you’re looking for a blog site that’s loaded — and I do mean LOADED — with up-to-date instructions, tips, and explanations on best practices for using technology with your genealogy research, then I highly recommend you grab the RSS feed to FamilySearch’s Tech Tips and drop it in your news aggregator, or save it’s link to your social bookmarking web service or browser’s favorites today! I love technology and use it every chance I get with my research! But just when I thought I was using a couple of my mobile devices to the fullest, I came upon two tech tips, “Be Prepared for Genealogical Research with Your Smartphone” and “Kindle’s Personal Document Service,” that has taken my technology + genealogy to a whole new level.
A FREE website dedicated to African American genealogy and history in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida that I want to encourage you to visit as soon as possible (even if you aren’t doing any family research in those particular states) is Lowcountry Africana! I became aware of this site on Twitter and I started following them; I’m so glad I did! This site just went through a very elegant and smart re-design that allows you an opportunity to — explore, discover, research, and leave enlightened by all it has to offer!
One of my favorite online resources for all things “Genealogy” is About.com Genealogy. About.com, a New York Times Company, is divided into topic sites, which are grouped into channels that cover diverse subjects. All content is written by a network of writers called Guides. Professional Genealogist, Kim Powell, is the Genealogy Guide over this channel that’s divided into 4 main sections – Genealogy, Learn How, Search Online, and Share & Preserve. Each section is filled with original information, downloads, news, and advice that beginners and seasoned genealogists will find helpful with their research. There’s even a Genealogy Forum available to connect with Ms. Powell and other genealogists in conversation!
As you know, my genealogy road trip on January 1st was the result of my 2011 New Year’s resolution to return to genealogy and from some new information I uncovered about my grandfather (Joseph Chapple) and his parents (Louis and Carrie Blanton Chapple) in Ancestry.com. That road trip was very enlightening and provided me with more leads into the lives of the Chapples living in Houston, Texas during the early 1900’s.
Another online resource that I turned to after my road trip was FamilySearch.org. According to the website, FamilySearch.org is the largest genealogy organization in the world that has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for 100 years. This official website is the ministry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are committed to helping people connect with their ancestors because they ” … believe that families are meant to be central to our lives, and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life.”
Well, I am very thankful for and to LDS for their commitment to preserving family history at FamilySearch.org. Because of their work, I learned that my grandfather wasn’t the only child born to my great grandparents as my mother and others believed all these years. A simple search of my great grandparents’ names resulted in me downloading, for free, the death certificate of my grandfather’s little brother (my uncle) – Lewis Blanton Chapple. According to this certificate, baby Lewis was born October 19, 1910 and he died at home (815 Schwartz Street in the Greater 5th Ward area of Houston) from congestion of the lungs on December 9, 1910.
This new information provided two important puzzle pieces with this family:
1) My grandfather wasn’t the only child of Louis and Carrie Chapple, but he was their only “living” child through the years;
2) When the 1910 US Census was taken in April of that year, this family was living in Freedman’s Town and Carrie was in the first trimester of her pregnancy with my uncle Lewis. But this death certificate verifies that this family had moved later that year to the 5th Ward area where their second child died from health complications. Knowing when this family moved is significant because it tells me exactly when they arrived in the 5th Ward area which is the community where my mother was born by mid-wife, lived, and thrived as a child, teenager, and young adult!
So consider making FamilySearch.org a part of your genealogy research this year and beyond too!
If you have the surname — Chapple–falling out your family tree (especially if they lived in the Houston area) let me hear from you because — I’m Claiming Kin!