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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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11. Finding your Ancestor on the 1930 US Census

     An earlier post stressed the importance of interviewing the oldest living family members and gathering records on hand.  That information should be extracted and recorded on a pedigree chart and a family group sheet or entered into a family history database.  This will help you quickly access birth, marriage, and death information that will help you determine if you ancestor may be found on the 1930 Census.
       If you do not know your ancestor's date of birth, you can still use death records to determine if he/she would be listed on the 1930 Census. Many online indexes and links to actual images of death certificates are being made available.  If you know the county and state where your ancestor died and an approximate date of death, you can use FamilySearch Wiki to determine where a death record can be accessed.  Be sure that you are familiar with the dates that the state began to record death records.  Many records are being made available at beta FamilySearch, where you can access historical documents free.
     The US Social Security Death Index is another resource which can be used to identify birth and death.  If you have no idea where your ancestor lived in 1930, try searching the place where the Social Security was issued.  This information is usually available on the index.
     Using the family group sheet, you will be able to identify whether your ancestor was a child or a parent in 1930.  If your ancestor would have been a child, for example, you would not look for him/her as a head of household on the census.  The family group sheet will identify each member of the family, and this will be useful if you have any difficulties locating your direct-line ancestor.  You can search for each individual in the family group who would have been living in the same household as your ancestor.
     The 1930 Census can be accessed online at  or at  These databases are available at various libraries and institutions or by subscription. You can also order census records on microfilm at a family history center.
     Some of the types of information that you may discover about your ancestor on this census would be (see sample below):
1.  own or rent home
2.  marital status
3.  age
4.  birth place
5.  parent's birth place
6.  occupation

After you have located your ancestor on the first census, remember to record your findings on the Census Checklist.  As you search the next census for your ancestor, you will be able to more easily determine the make-up of the family group in that year.


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