Historians, genealogists and other reseachers are eagerly awaiting the release of the 1940 U. S. Census on April 2, 2012. Along with access to information about individuals – age, residence, family status, occupation and workplace, and so much more, there are nuggets to be gleaned about relationships, life and life style in pre-World War II America. Over at Forgotten New England today’s posting gives us some information about those days – how citizens reacted to the census survey – bits about the enumerators (census takers) - with a local Lowell flavor. There’s even access to an instructional video put out by the Census Bureau back in 1940. Here’s an exerpt from the post:
Locally, in Lowell, Massachusetts, fifty enumerators descended upon the city. A newspaper article from the day before revealed some of the prevailing thoughts among the citizenry as they thought ahead to census day. William Tully, the Lowell Sun reporter writing the article, noted that local women felt reluctant to give their ages to census enumerators. Through interviews documented within the article, Tully spoke with various women. One thought that certain facts should not be collected, like income, since it was already captured in the income tax returns. She also thought collecting information about the amount of a mortgage on one’s home was unnecessary.
Another woman, who worked in the executive office of a large department store in downtown Lowell, replied: ”I know nothing about the census questions and I haven’t, as yet, looked into the matter. As a rule, my husband knows more about these things than I do.”
Read the full article here at forgottennewengland.com.
What does the release of this in formation mean to you? Will you be rushing to the Pollard Library, the UML/Center for Lowell History or signing up as for membership in Ancestry.com? There have been a number of workshops at the PML on how to access and use the 1940 Census. Did you attend any?
A U. S. Census fact:
“In keeping with the Census Bureau’s commitment to confidentiality, the Census Bureau information collected in the Decennial Census of Population and Housing on individuals does not become available to the public until after 72 years.”
U. S. Census Bureau Homepage link: http://www.census.gov/