Monthly archives: April, 2012

Which Site Has the Best 1940 Census Images

There are four sites that are indexing the census (see prior article, “Confused? Thought the indexing of 1940 census was a cooperative project by all?“). But if all are indexing the 1940 census, why wouldn’t the images look exactly the same?

When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter why they don’t but which one is the best. Fortunately for me personally the top two are the ones I use the most. What about you?

Mary (Elise) Mason’s Scrapbook

Mary (Elise) Mason’s Scrapbook ~ compiled by Limestone County Historical Society, April 2010

Review published March 2012Lady at manual printing press - Genealogy
About the book
~ from Preface

“Miss Mary E. Mason developed a comprehensive scrapbook that resulted in a significant historical data base for Athens and Limestone County. This scrapbook was developed in seven volumes roughly organized by subject. … Most of the material in these volumes are newspaper clippings … [they were] turning dark and [were] very fragile. The binders that contain these were literally falling apart. This fragile condition did not lend them to access to the public. … The original material had no index; only a limited topic list for each volume was included at the beginning of each volume. A detailed index was developed for four of the volumes … [then this 2010 publication includes] an index for those volumes not previously indexed …″

~ from Subject Table

Subjects listed are:
» Business
» Railroads
» Schools
» Legal
» Newspapers
» Postal Service
» Civil War
» Gov. Officials
» Health Care
» Athens College
» Activities/Events
» Churches
» Municipal
» Residents
» Early History
» General History
» Homes
» Deaths & Obituaries
» And a list of contents included that are Outside Limestone County

Table of Contents:

Volume 1
Early History, Homes, General History, Families, Social and Community Activities, Municipal Activities.

Volume 2
Churches, doctors, Legal Profession, Newspapers

Volume 3
Historic Homes, Residents, Civil War Memories, Belle Mina, Mooresville, Decatur, Country Club, Railroad, County Fair, Local Society

Volume 4
Community Leaders, Deaths and Obituaries, Local DAR, Early History

Volume 5
Athens Progress, Athens College, Local Schools

Volume 6
Civil War Memories, Residents and Personalities, Events, Bibb Home, Decatur and Lawrence County

Volume 7
Drinking Fountain, The Springs, Rest Room, Bass Tablet, Masonic Corner Stone, Post Office, City Hall, Bakery, Fire Company, Bus Station, Hospital, L & N


NEAGS Reviewer Comments

Miss Mary Mason was a historic leader not just in Limestone County but in all of Alabama. The amount of material she compiled is amazing.

A hand-written note from her states regret that she did not start the scrapbook earlier because those who had affected the county & area had already passed.

Many pictures from newspapers are included as well as copies of other images that Miss Mason obtained or had in her personal collection.

Note: Which newspapers the clippings came from is not always rarely shown. Dates are not always available either. But that does not lessen the value of these seven volumes.

Some Excerpts …

NE AL Settlers Excerpt Vol 49 No 1

Excerpt from old diaries or journals can be fascinating. Often the writer tells it just like it is. Below is a portion of Lt. Fenton Noland’s Diary of 1835.[1]   Lt. Noland was a regular army officer, a dragon who was dispatched from Washington to perform a preliminary investigation of the Cherokee Indian Nation before their forced removal to reserved land west of the Mississippi.

The diary portion in the NORTHEAST ALABAMA SETTLERS, Vol. 49 No. 1, April 2010, pp. 6-9 begins as he leaves the area of what today is Chattanooga. Lt. Nolan is interested in who is living in the Coosa Valley & along the highlands between the Tennessee & the Coosa Rivers. He also needs to examine the terrain & improvements made to the region. Note: Members of NEAGS receive the quarterly as part of their Membership Application.

What’s an Enumerator? What did they ask?

A census enumerator is the person who went from home by home to take the census.

The 1940 census asked many questions. If you are familiar with researching prior censuses, the 1940 census asked “those” questions but even more.

  • Wouldn’t you LOVE to know on the census who gave the information to the enumerator? In the 1940 census, the enumerator was to place an “X” by that person’s name.
  • The 1940 census lists the highest grade of school completed. Note that last word of that sentence; I suspect some gave the last grade they attended.
  • Where did they live in 1935!!!! That’s wonderful. Don’t we wish we had this for 1925, 1915, 1905, 1895, etc.
  • The 1940 census collected data on those 14 years of age or older especially in regard to the WPA, CCC, etc. Question was asked specifically about the week of March 24-30, 1940. This section is quite detailed. If not working, were they seeking work? Were they unable to work? How many hours did they work?
  • We’ve used occupation from the censuses for years but never had this data — the number of weeks worked in 1939 (equivalent full-time weeks).
  • Three questions on their income in 1939. One is the “Number of Farm Schedule”. [Note: Admit that I will have to look up what is a Farm Schedule. Even though I was raised on a farm, I don’t remember that term ever being used.]
  • And 5% of the population were asked even more questions.

See the complete list of the 1940 Census Enumerator Instructions which includes a Symbols and Explanatory Notes table