Wednesday, December 11, 2013

City Directory helps in finding family in 1940 census

Today I was able to help someone from my Genealogical Society find her husband in the 1940 census as a 3 year old child.

She was telling me how she hasn't been able to find her husband in the 1940 census. I asked if she knew where he was living at the time. She stated San Gabriel, California. So since I had a subscription to I decided to go directly to the 1940 census and I typed in the location. Well there were a lot of different wards, so I decided I needed to try to approach this problem a little differently.

I decided to do a search on her father-in-law name. I found him in the 1930 census but he moved by 1940. Then I found a bunch of City directories. I scrolled through the list and found one from 1941. Sure enough the address that my fellow society member gave me was correct.

So I decided to look just at the City directories, and typed in the year 1941 and the street name. I then found a person who lived near where her father-in-law lived. I recorded the name of the neighbor.

I proceeded to go back and search the 1940 census in San Gabriel for the name of the neighbor that I had found in the City Directory. I found a good hit that appear to be the neighbor and when I viewed the census record it was the neighbor because I found the street and house number. I looked a few rows up on the page and on the first three lines was her father-in-law, her mother-in-law and her husband. When I hovered my mouse over the name of her father-in-law, his last name was mis-transcribed and the g in the last name was changed to a z and this is why her search attempts were not working.

I had tied to use a wild card search of Mag* but since the g was the mis-transcribed letter the wildcard was not working.

So the lesson learned here is that we sometimes need to approach our challenges with different techniques. Plus being a little lucky to find a city directory the year after the 1940 census didn't hurt either.

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