Looking Ahead...

(Yes, I have a few more days in the month of February to finish writing and introducing you to a few select maternal ancestors - don't worry, they're coming!)

Making the decision to get involved with the release of the 1940 US Census earlier this week, and being completely involved with my family history as part of my blog, last night I went to bed thinking about my family during the 1940's.  The thought process was incredibly stream-lined.

When I think 1940's, and I'm sure like most people, immediately my thoughts turn towards the war.  But when I personally think of the war, I think directly of my ancestor who fought in the war and was a prisoner of the war for a short time.  I also instinctively began thinking of the packet of letters that I currently have in my possession - letters that were exchanged between a young man and woman before they were married, and then continued after they were married and were separated from each other due to his time served in the United States Army.

I sometimes wish that these were the incredibly romantic, drizzled with ooze and beautiful sap that we will often see in Hollywood's portrayal of letters between lovers during wartime.  But these are written by a normal guy who was in love with a normal girl.   A guy and a gal whose spelling is sometimes off, and where run-on sentences abound.  But what are you going to do?  It's honest, heart-felt emotion at a time of uncertainty.  Sometimes I'll read them and wonder why they wasted a stamp for that, and other letters I will read and I can feel the need they had for wanting to be together.

So - in honor of, and with the release of the 1940 US Census images looming just ahead , I will begin to share these letters with you.  I may decide to share a little insight of what I know personally with regards to what was written, and sometimes I will simply let the letters speak for themselves. 

And while we're at it, don't forget that you can still help get involved with the 1940 US Census community and help index the images once they're released!  These new images are going to provide a whole new set of answers to questions that we have currently unanswered.  On April 2, when I look at a 1940 image (because oh yes, I will be looking at an image on April 2), the information I see will include:

Where they lived
If their home was owned or rented - and if it was a farm!
The value of their home or monthly rental
Each person's name who lived there and their relationship to the head of household.
Age at their last birthday and marital status
Place of birth
Their residence 5 years prior (This is new!!)
Employments status and employment information

and also supplementary questions which include but are not limited to the birthplace of the father and mother, and whether the person was a veteran.  We may also gain insight into our female ancestors by hopefully discovering if they had been married more than once, the age at their first marriage and the number of live children born to them.

Whew!  That's a lot of information!  And with a population of just over 132 million...that's a lot of names to be indexed.

Sign up here and help us out, and while you're at it - enjoy this great little video.  The 1940 Census - are you in it?