The Ubiquitous Card File

The National Archives recently digitized the Card File of Population Data Relating to the 17th Census, 1950 (National Archives Identifier 2990400). While this card set is mundane and may not be extraordinarily useful, it serves as a good reminder that BCE – “before the computer era” – people, businesses, and government alike used “card files” as a data management tools for quick storage and retrieval of important, useful, or frequently accessed information as discussed in my recent blog post, Census Fun Fact #5 – The Geography Division’s Quick Reference Card File of 1950 Census Population Data. Check it out.

P.S.: The 1950 population census will become available to researchers on April 1, 2022.

Census Fun Fact #4 – The Nonresident Schedule of the 1940 Census

Census Fun Fact #4 – The Nonresident Schedule of the 1940 Census is the fourth installment of my “Census Fun Facts” series on the “History Hub” website. This post takes a quick look at how people away from home were enumerated – and how evidence of one Wisconsin couple’s trip to Florida in the winter/spring of 1940 came to be preserved in the 1940 census.

Census Fun Fact #2 – Fictional Names: Just Call Me Another Time

Census Fun Fact #2 – Fictional Names: Just Call Me Another Time is the second installment of my “Census Fun Facts” series on the “History Hub” website. It features some folks with interesting names who are “hiding in plain sight” in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the 1910 census.

Butter Makers and More: The 1929 Census of Manufacturers

The Great Depression began with the stock market crash of 29 October 1929.

The 1929 Census of Manufacturers may help local historians learn about economic activity in the community at the cusp of the Great Depression. Genealogists may learn about a business owned by an ancestor. Alternatively, if an ancestor was known to have been a wage earner employed by a specific firm, the census schedules may provide insight into hours worked and wages earned.

The purpose of the census was to obtain useful statistical information about industry size, production, employment, power equipment, and fuel consumption. The data was collected partly by mail and partly by paid canvassers. Preliminary results of the data were published in press releases, and subsequently with more substantive analysis and detail in nearly three hundred reports issued in 1930 and 1931. The census included only manufacturing establishments that made products worth five thousand dollars or more.

The U.S. National Archives has placed some of these records online as “Schedules of the Census of Manufacturers, 1929-1929.” As of December 2017, images of schedules for Industries 101 (Beverages) through 518 (Printing and Publishing) are available. Separate digital files have been uploaded for each industry code by state. Within each state, the schedules are arranged in alphabetical order by county. Additional schedules will be placed online in the future.

Read “Butter Makers and More: Revelations of the 1929 Census of Manufacturers” to see and read examples of information recorded about two facilities in Ashtabula County, Ohio, and Bourbon County, Kansas, that made milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream.

More information on the 1929 manufacturing census is available on the Census Bureau website. “General Explanations” provides good background information. Detailed reports and results are at “Census of Population and Housing.” On that page, click on “Special Collections and Reports” (near the bottom of the page), then click on “Manufacturers,” and then choose the report of interest.

The photo of the butter vendor, ca. 1917, is from United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 456, February 5, 1917, p. 8.

1950 Census Enumeration District Maps Are Going Online

There’s still 5.7 years to go until the release of the 1950 Census on 1 April 2022, but the National Archives and Records Administration has been working for some time to get ready for that event.

Enumeration District maps involve no privacy restrictions so they can be made available to the public at any time. In “Snapshot USA: 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps,” staff member Ellen Mulligan describes the maps and the behind-the-scenes work needed to get them online.