Staff Picks: Genealogy
The 1940 census is going to be released at 9 a.m. (eastern standard time) April 2. The good news is that is it digitized and ready to be viewed-the bad news is that it is not yet indexed and probably won't be entirely indexed for 6 months to a year. You can start by looking where your family was in the 1930 census. The National Archives has prepared a guide on how to use the enumeration district. The enumeration district is geographic area assigned to each census taker, usually representing a specific portion of a city or county. Stephen P. Morses's website has indexed Enumeration Districts of the 1940 census. You may also use city directories as a finding aid-The University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections has a collection of city directories for Fort Worth on microfilm (coverage for Arlington is hit and miss.)
If you are interested in helping get the 1940 census indexed Familysearch.org is looking for volunteers to help with the indexing. This is the first census lots of our parents and grandparents will be included it-it will be exciting to hear what they remember about it.
I just received a Facebook message from one of my relatives about the inspirational words she found while reading from a book our ancestor, William Bradford, wrote. And of course this reminded me that this month is family history month. I've put together 4 suggestions for "celebrating" the month.
1. Come visit our local genealogy society
This month the subject is pictures that Polly Smith took during the 1930s for the Texas Centennial. Every month the Arlington Genealogical Society have interesting and informative topics. It is also a great way to meet fellow family history researchers and get tips and tricks from people dedicated to the past.
2. Talk to a family member
Family history research is boring if it's just names and dates. Find out exactly what the Great Depression was like or even get interesting stories about grandma's first date. I recently found out that even though my grandfather passed away 15 years ago and has been gone from San Angelo, Texas, for 50 years, people still remember his name because of his work as a doctor in the 1950s and early 1960s.
3. Pick an ancestor and research them fully
Maybe your stuck on a particular problem or maybe are just getting started in genealogy and just have a bare bones outline. Choose one of those people and try to get a complete picture of what it was like for them at the time. Search local histories not just for their name but also for the stories and characters that they might have interacted with at the time. Check out our microfilm newspapers on the second floor of the Central Library or Ancestry Library Edition at any library's public computer.
4. Use new resources
Don't be afraid to randomly open a book and read! Or better yet, do a focused search on Google Books. Sometimes you can get a whole book, but many of the books come from authors and publishers who participate in their Partner Program. For those books you might get a few sample pages to the whole book. But if you know that your ancestor's name is in a book, it makes you want to search out and try to find the reference and we can help with that through our interlibrary loan. While many genealogy books are not able to be sent to our library, you can request copies of the pages found in Google Books. For instance, I found a reference to the afore mentioned grandfather in the 1939 edition of Nu Sigma Nu's (a medical fraternity) bulletin. It only shows me a fraction of the sentence about him. But I can gather the page number and other pertinent information and hopefully find the reference for myself!
Of course, these are just my suggestions. Here are links to suggestions from other websites. I hope your Family History Month is fruitful!