Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ready or Not, Here it Comes!

Note: If your local genealogical society is not participating, and you are in need of a group with which to sign up, please feel free to select either Second Life Chapter APG (UT) or Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR (CA). We'd love to have your support in either group!

1940 US Census Project Update
Release of Images in Two Days!

Get Ready, Get Set . . .

Thank you for your interest in the 1940 US Federal Census. This will be the last email you receive on behalf of the 1940 US Census Community Project before the images start to become available online.

What You Can Expect on April 2

The 1940 US Census Community Project is creating an index to the 1940 US Federal Census that will be made available for free. This is a joint effort between Archives, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, hundreds of societies, and tens of thousands of individual volunteers. The resulting index will be made available on the websites of the primary sponsors.

On the morning of Monday, April 2, NARA will release the digital images of the 1940 census to multiple parties, including the 1940 US Census Community Project. We will immediately start uploading these 3.6 million images to servers, where they will become available online over time. The ability for people to start accessing some of these images through the community project will take hours, not minutes.

As the first five states are loaded to servers, corresponding projects will be set up to index those images as state projects. We anticipate the first five states will be available for volunteer indexing by 10pm EDT.

The first five states to be loaded and ready for indexing on April 2 are the following:
  • Delaware
  • Virginia
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • Colorado
The process of uploading images and setting up indexing projects by state will continue until all of the states and territories for this project are published, which may take up to two weeks to complete. Every day more images will be made available for browsing and indexing, so you will want to check back often to see which states are available.

The indexing process will be taking place through FamilySearch indexing. If you are already a FamilySearch indexing volunteer, these 1940 census projects will appear as new projects in the indexing software. No new software download or registration process is necessary to participate. If you are not currently a volunteer but want to participate in this historic opportunity, get started by downloading the indexing software and registering today.
What You Can Do Now

  1. Download and install the indexing software
    Watch an Overview | Get Started
  2. Learn how to index the 1940 US Census
    Watch a Video | Try the 1940 Census indexing simulation
  3. Let others know about the 1940 US Census Community Project
    Like the Facebook page | Follow @The1940Census on Twitter | Follow the page on Google+ | Tell friends about
You can keep up with the latest updates by visiting often over the next few weeks.

Thank You!
The 1940 US Census Community Project Team

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

My Grandparents are Missing

Where, oh where, can my grandparents be?

No, I don't mean that they've run away.

What I mean is... I can't find them. In the census.

My grandparents are missing.

In an attempt to prepare for Monday's release of the 1940 U.S. Census, and in an attempt to steel myself to finish assignment #5 of the NGS Home Study Course, I've been doing a census "research report" for everyone in my pedigree chart back to my great-grandparents.

What I've discovered is... I seem to have overlooked my grandparents.

Wow. What the heck have I been doing as a genealogist for the past 25 years?

First off, my father's parents are nowhere to be found in the 1930 census. I started my search by checking three separate search engines: Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Heritage Quest (the latter of which is incomplete anyway). I used every possibly spelling variation I could think of, including wild cards. Result: Nada.

What I did find was a 1930 Los Angeles City Directory listing my grandparents with an address. Bingo!

I moved on to to the incredible Steve Morse's One Step Census ED Finder (and might I just add that Mr. Morse is a genius. Just sayin'.).

I wound up back on Ancesty in 1930's Los Angeles, ED 772. My first pass through the 66 pages of ED 772 was to look for Ladd Avenue. Nothing. So I made a second pass through the pages, this time looking not only at street names, but also at every name in the census. Still nothing.

As I went through the pages, I followed Mr. Enumerator's progress on a contemporary map of that part of Los Angeles (which hasn't really changed much, thank goodness). And you know what? He never made it to Ladd Avenue. He made it to all the streets around Ladd Avenue, but never made the turn onto Ladd.

Was it possible that Ladd Avenue didn't exist back in 1930? Of course not; my grandparents were listed as living there in the 1930 L.A. City Directory (unless the Directory was published at the end of the year, and Ladd Avenue was a brand-new street). Was I in the wrong ED? Not likely, since the surrounding streets were enumerated.

[UPDATE: In the comments, I was asked if I checked the 1929 L.A. City Directory. I had, but double-checked again this morning. My grandparents are listed in the 1928 L.A. City Directory at the same address on Ladd Avenue. The 1929 Directory only goes up to the letter "E" - I'm looking for "S" - as does the 1931 Directory. 1932 goes up to the letter "J." I found them again in 1933 at the same address on Ladd Avenue, under a misspelled last name. It appears that they were NOT driving down the street in a moving van in 1930 when the enumerator was walking their neighborhood.]

So what happened?

Like I said, Mr. Enumerator did not step foot onto Ladd Avenue. Or if he did, he didn't record it as such (or the page is missing).

But considering the fact that my grandfather was a postal carrier at that time, and the family moved around a lot, it's entirely possible that they were driving down the street in moving van at the exact moment when the census was being taken. Maybe they even waved at the enumerator.

What I do know is that I cannot find them in the 1930 census.

And then there's my mother's father. He's gone missing from the 1920 census. Again, I checked all 3 census search engines. Bupkus.

Marvin Dagle should have been about 7 years old, living with his parents in Big Sioux, South Dakota. His brother John would be born about 3 months after the census was taken.

Oh look! There's George and Azelia in the 1920 census, right where they're supposed to be! And there's Azelia's parents, Andrew and Louise, right next door! [waves]

But... where's little George? Where would a 7-year old boy go in South Dakota in 1920?

I checked his other set of grandparents... perhaps he was visiting? Nope. Not there.

Did the enumerator forget to ask if any children were living in the house? Not likely, since the neighbors have 6 children listed, including their 1-year old daughter.

Did Marvin's parents forget to mention him? No idea.

I did find Marvin in the 1930 census in Sioux City, Iowa, living with his parents and brother John. So at least I know they kept him.

(Thankfully my mother's mother is easily found in both the 1920 and 1930 censuses. I would really be kicking myself if they were all missing.)

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The moral of this story? Well, while everyone counts in the census, not everyone is counted. For whatever reason, people do get skipped. And that's a bummer for us as genealogists.

My real question is: How did I not know this until this week?

Here's my theory: When I started researching back in the late '80s, we had to do everything "old school." Not only were there no images online, there was no online, period. The NARA facility in Laguna Niguel was only open one Saturday a month, and was always crowded because everyone wanted to research on their day off. If you got there early and stayed until closing - which everybody did - you might get a couple of hours' turn on the microfilm readers. Research time very limited. Why spend valuable time looking up people you already knew? After all, I lived within driving distance of 3/4 of my grandparents for most of my early life; didn't I already know everything I needed to know about them?

Clearly, I did not.

And now they're gone, having taken all the answers with them to the grave.


Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, March 30, 2012

NEHGS to be Featured on "Finding Your Roots"

The following was received from NEHGS this morning. Please contact Alessandra Magno for more information.

NEHGS to be featured on new PBS Series
“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”
Show helps to uncover the mysteries of who we are and where we come from

Boston, MA – March 30, 2012 – The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is pleased to announce that it will be featured on the next episode of the new 10-part PBS series, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. NEHGS and Senior Researcher Rhonda McClure will be featured on the next episode of the show scheduled to run on Sunday, April 1st at 8pm ET on PBS.

On this episode, McClure helps uncover the family mysteries of Geoffrey Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Geoffrey Canada has become recognized internationally for his ground-breaking work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. In addition, television journalist and former co-host and chief correspondent of ABC News’ “20/20” as well as current creator, co-owner, executive producer and co-host of “The View,” Barbara Walters will learn and discover her fascinating ancestral background.

This season, Professor Gates examines the fascinating family histories of celebrities including Samuel L. Jackson, Harry Connick Jr., Condoleezza Rice, Kevin Bacon, Martha Stewart, Robert Downey Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, and many more.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to work closely with Professor Gates,” says NEHGS President and CEO, D. Brenton Simons. “All of us at NEHGS are thrilled to be a part of such an incredible television series and we wish Professor Gates and the rest of the production team a most successful season!”

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premiered nationally on Sunday, March 25th, and will continue to run through May 20th on PBS. Be sure to check out the next episode on Sunday, April 1st. Please check local listings for times.

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Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award-winning website,, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Evidence Explained on Sale Today ONLY!

Got Evidence? is offering Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (2nd Edition, 2010) for $35.95 today only. That's a savings of 40% off of their regular price.

In doing a little comparison shopping today, I found that is selling the book new for $48.42 and used from 44.85 (both hard cover).

Barnes and Noble is selling the hard cover version for $52.89.

The cheapest copy I found on eBay was $62.55.

Books-A-Million is asking for 65.95 (ouch!).

So you can feel confident that this is a super deal from!

However, if even the sale price is too steep for you - and who isn't watching his pennies these days? - you can still download a PDF copy of the 2007 edition for FREE from I keep a PDF copy on both of my computers, as well as my NookColor (and I had to pay for it!).  UPDATE: Sorry folks, but the download is only available to people who have previously purchased the PDF version from I blame insufficient coffee for making me jump the gun on that one.

And there's always a chance that your local public library will have a copy you can borrow. If they don't, give a whirl and see who does.

If you are serious about citations, you won't want to be without this book, regardless of where you get it our how much you pay. This is truly a book that should be in every genealogist's library.

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Second Edition
Buy Evidence Explained from

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FYI, other books on sale today include:

Virginia Court Records in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Records of the District of West Augusta and Ohio and Yohogania Counties, Virginia 1775-1780, by Boyd Crumrine, and

The Trail of the Huguenots: in Europe, the United States, South Africa and Canada. Addenda and Corrigenda by Milton Rubincam, by George Elmore Reaman.

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Note: Prices quoted were valid as of today, 30 March 2012, at 9:30 AM PDT.

And yes, I am a affiliate, so if you decide to buy, I would be hugely grateful if you would click on the Zencart link above. Thank you!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Groupon Gets Digital in Santa Barbara

Today's Groupon Deal of the Day for the Santa Barbara area is from ScanDigital:
Sophisticated scanners make sandwiching coworkers between two pieces of plate glass to preserve office-party memories a thing of the past. Take advantage of technological innovations with today's Groupon to ScanDigital. Choose between the following options:

For $40, you get $100 worth of digitization services.
For $115, you get $300 worth of digitization services.

Unlike a lunch sack filled with gummy worms in a postapocalyptic world, this Groupon cannot be used toward the purchase of hard drives or digital picture frames.

The celluloid specialists at ScanDigital have processed more than five million images since 2007, turning grainy 3"x5" photos and dented VHS tapes into dependable digital files that fill the future with images of a warm and wonderful past. With $100 worth of services, you can digitize roughly 200 photos, 175 negatives, 150 slides, six 3-inch 8mm film reels, or five videocassettes; mix any of the memory media of ScanDigital services (click here to see all the formats). The digitization process includes photo color correction and cleaning and prepping film to ensure the highest possible transfer quality.

To start a safe, digital archive so home videos of first-grade choir solos don't turn into terrifying, chipmunk-attracting warbles, go online to fill out a form that generates a shipping label, and then mail the materials. After four or more weeks, depending on your order, you get back the original copies along with their new, high-quality clones on DVD, ensuring that significant moments aren't stained and faded by Father Time’s clumsy coffee spills.

Today's $100 Groupon can be applied toward a bulk order (1,000+ photos)—combining the Groupon discount with a $0.10-off-per-photo bulk discount—but only one Groupon may be applied with this option.

The Fine Print

Expires Sep 12, 2012

Limit 3 per person, may buy 3 add'l as gifts. $300 option limit 1 per person, limit 1 per order. Not valid until 3/7/12. Valid only for option purchased. Not valid for hard drives or digital photo frames. Limit 1 $100 Groupon on bulk orders. $300 Groupon not valid with bulk order discount. See the rules that apply to all deals.
If you've got a closet-full of items to be scanned, this deal might be one for you. More information is here.

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Please note that I am in no way affiliated with either Groupon or ScanDigital. I'm just passing on what looks like an interesting deal for Santa Barbara-area genealogists.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal