Sunday, April 8, 2012

1940 Davis Census Enumeration Forms Now Available (51)


The 1940 U. S. Census enumeration forms were made public on April 2.  

I poked around on the web and found those for Davis, CA. They are, indeed, available. Anyone who wants to look at or download them can begin here:

Listing information on about 40 people on each wide-format enumeration sheet, it would appear that the Davis enumeration takes about 40 sheets. (Some of the sheets are blank or nearly so and I have not yet had time to download and count the exact number of sheets actually filled out.)

Having worked with census enumeration sheets on Davis from previous censuses, I see that the form for 1940 is setup very much like those in earlier decades.

For those not familiar with these forms, I provide an extract from one of them. This extract reports on the families of Louie Young and of Herbert A. Young, who happen to appear close to one another on the same sheet.

Notable features of the forms from a practical research perspective include: a) the line of data on each person is very long (that is, wide) and therefore challenging to follow; b) the information is complex and coded; c) the handwriting is sometimes unclear or unreadable; and, d) the form has been scanned crooked and without sufficient contrast.

For reference, I have extracted the 34 columns of information headings on the basic form, rotated the text printed vertically, and pasted all the text on the accompanying page.

Because houses and other buildings in Davis were not numbered until the early 1920s, this is only the second census from which we can say with any routine certainty where people lived in the town. That information is, though, most welcome.

It would be a great service to Davis history buffs if someone downloaded all the Davis and nearby area forms, cleaned them up, and posted them on a local Davis history website. For this last, I volunteer posting space on the archive website Davis History which is at www.davishistoricalsociety.org.