1940 U.S. Census Research Plan Part 1 – Census Events

I have been sitting with my Legacy Family Tree file figuring out the best plan of attack for researching the 1940 U.S. Census. At first I was just going to run a query of all people living during that time that might be candidates for searching.  This is fine, but since the 1940 census will not be indexed when it is released (see how you can help), I will need to know the Enumeration District that they lived in 1940.  What I need is a better planned approach, rather than just creating a big list of names.  This is the first part of a multi-part series in my planning efforts for the 1940 Census release and using Legacy Family Tree to prepare myself.

My first step is clean up my census events in Legacy. A while back I had decided to create distinct census year events in Legacy instead of the generic “census” event.  Now that I started using this method, I find it much easier to pull reports of people that I have not yet searched in a specific census year.  I also do this for the state census events as well. Here is a screenshot of my census event list today.

Event Definition List from Legacy

I also like how the event displays in the individual event list.  I can see what household and place the person of interest was located very easily on the Edit screen for the Individual. Click on any of the screenshots to see a larger image

Individual Event List from Legacy

I still have many people attached to the old generic Census event. Since I am happy with year/location specific events, I want to retire the generic event and replace with my new method. These are the steps I am going to use to accomplish this.

    1. Create a list of all individuals using the Census event
      1. Go to View–> Master Lists–> Event Definition
      2. Highlight “Census”
      3. Click on Show List – this gives you a list of all individuals using this event type
      4. Click on Create Search List – this will create a working list
    2. Replace each Census event with the Year/Location specific event
Search List Screen in Legacy
    1. Use the working list you created in Step1 by either going there when prompted after you created it or by going to Search–>View Search List
    2. Click on the individual you want to edit on the left-hand side of the screen.  On the right pick the Event tab.  Highlight the event you want to edit and click the edit button at the bottom of the screen.
    3. Edit the following
      1. Event/Fact: Replace with Year/Location specific event
      2. Description: Head of Household name
      3. Notes: I delete the first line as this is where I used to put the head of household description.  See below for before and after screenshots.
    4. Click Save and move on to the next. Continue working through the list until you are done.
Before Edit
After Edit

This is my chore for today.  I don’t think it will take too long since I can work from the search list and edit in the same screen.  This is really a nice feature of Legacy for doing bulk work.  I think I will be pleased with the results when I am through.

If you want to start getting ready for the 1940 cenuses, here are a couple of ideas to do this week.

  1. Visit the 1940 U.S. Census website for lots of ideas and how to get started indexing records.  Without the index, searching will be impossible.
  2. Watch the webinar Are you Ready for the 1940 U.S Census Images? hosted by Legacy Family Tree and presented by Thomas MacEntee on Wednesday, March 7.  Click here to register or view the recording if you miss the live presentation.