Saturday, February 25, 2012

Who Will I Look For In The 1940 Census?

Amy Coffin at The We Tree Genealogy Blog has asked who we are seeking in the 1940 census. I don't plan on attacking the census full-fledged head-on immediately, but I had better at least start thinking about it. I am still working on cleaning up the source citations and events in my RootsMagic database, which is why I'm not ready to start delving into a whole new set of records. Of course, I will probably take small breaks from that project to take a peek at a few of my most wanted in the 1940 census.

This is the census in which 3 of my 5 grandparents will appear for the first time, so I am very excited about finding them. They will be the people I look up first. My biological maternal grandfather, John Peter PEMBERTON, was a one-year-old (born in 1928) at the time of the 1930 census. He was the only one of my grandparents living in 1930. My second maternal grandfather, Clifford Robert DROUILLARD, will not be in the 1940 census because his family was still living in Windsor, Essex, Ontario, at the time. I don't believe they moved to Michigan until c. 1945.

In 1940, I expect to find my five-year-old paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN, in the home of his parents around Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana (Police Jury Ward 1). They should be in the same place as his parents were in the 1930 census, since they lived on that land until they moved away c. 1945 to Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana. My grandfather was an only child, so I don't expect any siblings. I do expect his maternal grandmother, Marie Alice (Sonnier) BONEAUX, to be living with them or right next door.

My four-year-old paternal grandmother, Merlene Golda MERTENA, should be living in Mulhall, Logan, Oklahoma, in 1940. I don't believe her family moved to Ponca City, Kay, Oklahoma, until c. 1942. She should be in the home of her parents along with her 8-year-old brother, William "Bill" MERTENA.

My 11-year-old maternal grandfather, John Peter PEMBERTON, should be living in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan, in 1940 with his parents. They will probably be found at 729 12th St. This is the address given in his younger brother Theodore's obituary in 1935, as well as the address he gave when he applied for a social security number in 1943. It also appears as the family address in city directories from 1936-1939, so I'm fairly certain this will be the address in 1940. Also in the household should be his 10-year-old sister, Eva; 8 year-old brother, William "Bill"; 6-year-old brother, Frank; 4-year-old sister, Evelyn; and 2-year-old sister, Nancy.

My nine-year-old maternal grandmother, Violet Mae CURRIE, should be living in Flynn Township, Sanilac, Michigan. Her mother died in 1937, and she was an only child, so I expect it to just be her and her father, Archie. They should be in the same location as Archie was in 1930.

Here are some others that I would like to find:

My great-great-grandfather, Oscar TRAHAN, and his second wife, Bertha DUHON. They lived in Baytown, Harris, Texas, just outside of Houston, in 1930. Oscar was somewhat of a drifter, so I'm curious where he was in 1940. I will have to wait until the index is ready to find him.

My great-great-grandmother, Virginia PREJEAN, and her second husband, Louis SCHENKEL. They should be in or around Crowley, Acadia, Louisiana, in 1940. I cannot seem to find her in 1930, so maybe I can use her 1940 location to backtrack to 1930. I would also like to find her son, Claude DOMINGUE, in 1940. He would have been about 12-14 years old. I will probably have to wait on the index for this one too.

My great-great-grandparents, William Harmon PROFFITT and Emmer Link BAKER. They both died a few years after the 1940 census in Woods County, Oklahoma. William was a Methodist Episcopal preacher and moved around Oklahoma a lot, so I'm curious to know where they were in 1940.

My great-grandfather Archie CURRIE's sister, Bertha (Currie) DYE, and her daughter, Doris (Dye) MAZUREK. Bertha was living apart from her husband in 1930 in Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan. I am trying to figure out what happened to her after 1930. Since I discovered her a few years ago, I haven't had a chance to research onsite in Michigan. Doris is one of only two cousins that my grandmother remembers on her father's side, so I'm curious what happened to her after 1930. I wouldn't mind tracking down some of her descendants.

My uncle's paternal grandparents, Martin and Gertrude (Devers) CHAMBERLAIN. I won't ruin the story I've been blogging about by stating where they were in 1930, but I am very interested to see where they will be in 1940.

I'm sure there are several others I can't think of right now because this list seems kind of short to me. I really need to make a list from my RootsMagic database to see who I need to look for. The problem is that a lot of my old undocumented research is still sitting in my FamilyTreeMaker program that doesn't have a lot of reporting functions (it's the really old version 16.0).

In the meantime, although I won't be tackling the 1940 census right away for research purposes, I will be helping to index it. If you would like more information about indexing, please visit

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