How To find a missing person on census records

Where is Percy Green in 1940?

Don’t you just hate it when you can’t find a family member on some census record when you “KNOW” the person has to be there?

In my last blog posting I talked about find the obituary for Irene V. Greene , creating a family tree to find a real Family Tree for her and how I could not find her or her husband Percy on the 1940 census.

In this blog posting I will give you step by step instructions on how to find Percy.
As you know from the previous posting he is on the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census.

Time Line Percy Greene
Time Line Percy Greene

The first thing I did was to bring up the transcript page for the 1930 census record.

Percy 1930 transcipt
Percy 1930 transcipt

Next I looked at the district he comes from and brought up the original census image.

View Original
View Original

Once the original was up I looked for a street name and number for his family and once again noted the enumeration district he is list on.

1930 census Street Names
1930 census Street Names

Since I couldn’t make out his street name I looked at the street name next to his and wrote down a number I could read which was 180 Winters Lane. I did a Google map search for it.

Map 1
Map 1

I made the map bigger on the screen so I could read the other street names.

Map bigger
Map bigger

The street name Shipley seems to match the scribble on the census record.

Shipley Ave
Shipley Ave

I then typed in Percy’s address 10 Shipley Ave in a Google map search.

Map with 10 Shipley Ave
Map with 10 Shipley Ave

I then made a list of major roads which might be used in a district boundary. The map you will see already has the roads which were used for his district boundaries.

Main Roads
Main Roads

I went back to the 1930 census record to make sure I had his correct address and district.

1930 street name
1930 street name
enumeration 1930
enumeration 1930

I then went back to Ancestry.com to do a random search for 1940.

Random 1940
Random 1940

I put in a common name”Smith” and Baltimore, Maryland as a place they lived.

Random 1940
Random 1940

What came up was a list of all the “Smith’s” in Baltimore, Maryland in 1940 and the name of the town where they lived. I knew Percy lived in Baltimore Catonsville Maryland.

Random Smith
Random Smith

I was lucky to get the first one living in the same area as Percy, so I click on that person.

Random Smith original
Random Smith original

What came up was the transcript page and the icon for original image which can be selected to view it.

Random original census
Random original census

I went to the top of the page and clicked on the district 3-7, because I know Percy lives in
Maryland, Baltimore, Catonsville but may live in a different district. When one clicks on 3-7 what comes up is the list of all the enumeration districts for 1940 in that area.

enumeration list
enumeration list

I noticed the scroll bar at the far right which told me that there are many enumeration districts. All I have to do is read the description of the boundaries to find one that fits the 10 Shipley Ave address. I looked at the map once again to see all the major streets that were on it which helped me review the descriptions. I looked for Edmondson Ave as a southern boundary line in the description and it was almost the last district on the list.

Enumeration district
Enumeration district

I went back to the map to make sure the boundary description fit the address and it did.

Map with major roads
Map with major roads

I then clicked on that district 3-8 and reviewed page by page looking for the name Greene, Green, with Percy or Irene’s. Luckily there were only 30 pages and on page 9 I found them. The whole family was listed which matched the 1930 family.

Found Percy
Found Percy

In the 1940 census image Ancestry.com has put in a feature which allows you to mouse over a name and that name will appear as it has been transcribed, so that is what I did and found that they thought the name was Greece not Greene.

Mouse Over
Mouse Over

Having that information I went back and did a search for Percy Greece in the 1940 census .

Search for Greece
Search for Greece

I got the record and the transcription page.

1940 Percy Greece
1940 Percy Greece

I know it is a long process to go through to find a person but it is better than having a hole in your timeline.

Now this may not work with all missing records as we saw in the Small Pox posting on my January 19 blog.

This may not work if the family was never counted in that census record. I remember I had such a case looking for an address in the 1920 census which had been on the 1910 census in Chicago and I went through all the steps and still could not find the address. I wasn’t even looking for a person just an address. I called the historical society in Chicago and explained the problem. The person said ”Oh, we’ll find it right away for you.” He came back to the phone and said “Are you sure you have the correct address, because we don’t find it on the 1920 census record.” I told him I did and that it is there in all other census records since the time it was built in 1885, it just doesn’t show up in 1920. He said ”That happens sometimes, it just didn’t get counted.”

So you see you may not be able to find the person using these steps but then again you might.

I hope this will help you in your quest for that elusive relative.

As a bonus you might also find the actual house your relative lived at back then as I did with Percy’s house 10 Shipley Ave.

10 Shipley Today
10 Shipley Today

Thank You.

By Jose A Munoz

Retired General Motors designer who now works on subjects dealing with genealogy. I create trees using items I find in old Google News Archive newspapers and I contact other tree owners notifying them about the news item concerning their relative and send them a link to the tree I created. I post a screen print of the news item on the tree for others to copy, so that my work will benefit others. Occasionally, I will post about the tree I created or the item that I found, always with a "how to" in-bedded in the post. I want my blog posts to help others with their family trees or with their genealogy experiences.

113 comments

  1. I have an obituary and there is a sister Mary listed but I can’t find her listed in any of the census records. The deceased and his siblings can be found in the 1920, 1930, and 1940 records, but no record of Mary at all. I know she didn’t die in between the censuses because she got married and is listed in the ‘survived by’ section of the obit. Why can’t I find any record of sister Mary?

    1. Don’t you just hate that… Okay, give me the info and I will look for her. You can send me the info at naujelyk@aol.com. Many times the children had to go live with relatives [https://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/why-you-should-add-data-to-other-branches-of-the-family-tree/] so you might want to look at uncles, aunts, grand parents… Send me the info so I too can have fun looking for Mary.
      Thanks
      Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

  2. Do you have any tricks or tips for finding someone on a census when you can’t be sure where they lived at the time? My Great Grandfather, Frank (Francis) Alexander Oravits (Oravec/Oravitz) was born 1907 in Boonton New Jersey. I have him in the 1910,1920, and 1930 census. I know his first child was born in 1933 ( Joseph John Oravits ) so I assume he was married between 1930-1933 and I know his wife’s name was Sophie Krisanda. My goal with finding them on a census is I am trying to find information on his wife, such as a birth date/age. I assume that she grew up in Boonton NJ as well but I have nothing to substantiate that. I have searched for Sophie Krisanda’s born around the same time and around the same area and I have actually found multiple matches and any one of them could be the right one. I have one that I am suspicious is the correct one, Sophie Krisanda born in Montville NJ (about 5 min away according to google maps ) born in 1910. Just like my Great Grandfather, I can find her on the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census and then she simply vanishes. I can’t find either of them on ANY census, city directories, death records, obituaries in the paper… nothing. I was starting to think maybe they left the country but I have photos of my Grandfather and Great Aunt ( Frank and Sophie’s children ) as children and they are labeled as being taken in Boonton. I actually can’t even find much information on the children either except for my Grandfather, Joseph John Oravits, and that’s only after he joined the military. Anything before that is just a mystery. I wish so bad that I had learned all of this while I had the chance. Anyway, if you have any suggestions for me, could you please email me at launicafarms@yahoo.com? I would really appreciate it. I do love this genealogy stuff but I have to admit the roadblocks and holes are driving me crazy. It is so beyond frustrating when I have documentation such as an obituary that claims one thing and then I can’t find any way of proving it. Example, I have an obituary that claims by GGG Grandfather was a professor at Trinity College in Dublin, I haven’t been able to prove that as of yet, I have sifted through a couple 1,000 pages of archives with no luck so far. Even more frustrating, I have a family biography that my Great Grandfather wrote and even submitted for publication. He goes all of the way back to the 1600’s and goes into great detail about battles fought in the Revolutionary War by his Great Grandfather and beyond. The amount of information is staggering. He goes into detail about George Washington, General Lafayette, about dinners and all sorts of things. Of course, I haven’t been able to verify the first word of it. Maybe I am just not very good at this genealogy stuff. Anyway, like I said, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thank You Kim for stopping by my blog. I have already started working on your query and have sent you three e-mails. Maybe we will be able to solve the questions however I sent you questions of my own about your family and tree.

  3. I have been searching for three years to find some family members. In one case the mother lived with her daughter. After the daughter died, the mother no longer can be found on a census (Milam County, Texas). Another the whole family disappeared around the civil war time. I cannot find one of the 5 family members living. The last one of that family that I can’t find……I find the children but not the parents. I assume they died but I am not finding them on Find a grave or billion graves. Any recommendations on any of these?

    1. Derry, You have an interesting case that I think I would like to look at. I love a good mystery and sometimes I can solve it but other times I just play with the data and find nothing new. I wrote a post where I show why a person should add all the branches of the family tree because sometimes a family member goes to live with relatives and this may be a reason your relatives can not be found. If you have a public tree on Ancestry dot com, I can look at it to see what new items I can find. If you send me names and dates for the people you are missing then I will use the information to see what new items I can find. Now lets look at what you wrote: when the daughter died the mother had to go live with someone else; did she have sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandchildren in the area? Was the daughter in a City Dir? Look for the mother there. If the daughter died of some disease that the mother could have also caught maybe she died too but not at the same time and the news got lost because of the daughters death. The Civil War family might have moved to Canada as was the case for many families who did not want anything to do with the war, or after the war did not want to live in the states. Were they Union or Conf. ? That would give you clues. The children and not parents case is similar to hundreds of families and one should look at where other relatives were buried; sometimes there is a family plot which is remote and has not made it to the Grave web pages. Check the City Directories to see if they list the parents as having died the previous year. On many City Directories there is a page at the front of the book where they list the people who died and are no longer listed in the directory of names. Check the deaths of relatives; aunts etc. to see if the parents are mentioned in the obits or will and sometimes they will list if the person is still living or died. If they are listed as having died then you have a reference date because of the document date you are reading. Check the places where the people (any mentioned above as missing) were last listed and see where those town, cities are located (Wiki can help) then you check what big city is near that place; sometimes the big city directory will have the little towns listed in their directories. Also look for big city newspapers which might carry news of the community around them. I hope this helps. Send me the information to my email address — naujely at aol dot com and I will play around with it. Thank You for stopping by my blog.
      Jose, M.Ed
      from Clarkston, Michigan
      Blog: https://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/

  4. I have been looking for Cherry Emma Page (Cherry Emma Kight) my 3rd great-grandmother for ever and I find nothing. It is as if she never existed before her marriage to Benjamin J Kight. I have her birth date (May 11, 1859), marriage (Feb. 17, 1881 in Johnson Co., GA), children, and date of death (May 10, 1946), and burial place (Metter, Candler Co., GA), even a pic of her headstone, as well as a pic of her, Benjamin, and one daughter. However, I find no father, mother, or siblings listed anywhere. I have searched surrounding counties for families with the last name Page and nothing. Can you give me any suggestions?

    1. Tracy, I posted this on my Face Book genealogist group page to see if we can get someone to help. I will put this query in my to do list and get back to you if I find something. Thank You for stopping by my blog and thank you for the question.

    2. Here is the text I grabbed off of the FaceBook page: — Eileen Cusack Ansell Name: Chary Page
      Age: 1
      Birth Year: abt 1859…See More
      Eileen Cusack Ansell’s photo.
      Like · Reply · 1 · 20 hrs
      Eileen Cusack Ansell
      Eileen Cusack Ansell Hereis the link: http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=Jgh1
      Like · Reply · 20 hrs
      MaryAnn Dierolf
      MaryAnn Dierolf Here is family search link if you do not have ancestry…. Name: Chary Page
      Titles and Terms:
      Event Type: Census…See More
      Person Details for Chary Page in household of Thos T Page, “United States Census, 1860” — FamilySearch.org
      Discover your family history. Explore the world’s largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources.
      familysearch.org
      Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs
      MaryAnn Dierolf
      MaryAnn Dierolf Name: John D Page
      Titles and Terms: Mr
      Event Type: Death…See More
      Person Details for Tom Page in entry for John D Page, “Georgia Deaths, 1928-1940” — FamilySearch.org
      Discover your family history. Explore the world’s largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources.
      familysearch.org
      Like · Reply · 16 hrs
      MaryAnn Dierolf
      MaryAnn Dierolf Looks like a sister named her daughter cherry also…. Name: Thomas T Page
      Titles and Terms:
      Event Type: Census
      Event Year: 1900
      Event Place: Militia Districts 1201, 1405, Wrightsville, Span Wrightsville town, Johnson, Georgia, United States
      District: 53
      Gender: Male
      Age: 74
      Marital Status: Widowed
      Race: White
      Race (Original): W
      Relationship to Head of Household: Father-in-law
      Relationship to Head of Household (Original): F In Law
      Number of Living Children:
      Years Married:
      Birth Date: Jan 1826
      Birthplace: Georgia
      Marriage Year (Estimated):
      Immigration Year:
      Father’s Birthplace: Georgia
      Mother’s Birthplace: Georgia
      Mother of how many children:
      Sheet Number and Letter: 36A
      Household ID: 667
      Line Number: 24
      Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
      Affiliate Publication Number: T623
      GS Film Number: 1240207
      Digital Folder Number: 004120070
      Image Number: 00520

      Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
      Isaac Caraway Head M 54 S Carolina
      Sarah Caraway Wife F 42 Georgia
      Longie Caraway Son M 20 Georgia
      William B Caraway Son M 17 Georgia
      Martha Caraway Daughter F 15 Georgia
      Cherry W Caraway Son M 13 Georgia
      Isaac Caraway Son M 7 Georgia
      Thomas F Caraway Son M 5 Georgia
      Thomas T Page Father-in-law M 74 Georgia

      Citing this Record:
      “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3JD-Z54 : 20 January 2015), Thomas T Page in household of Isaac Caraway, Militia Districts 1201, 1405, Wrightsville, Span Wrightsville town, Johnson, Georgia, United States; citing sheet 36A, family 667, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,240,207.
      Person Details for Thomas T Page in household of Isaac Caraway, “United States Census, 1900” — FamilySearch.org
      Discover your family history. Explore the world’s largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources.
      familysearch.org

      1. I posted on FaceBook letting them know that I contact Tracy. — Thank You Eileen Cusack Ansell and MaryAnn Dierolf for the information. I passed it on Tracy on my blog page.

  5. I hope you can help me. I too have a maddeningly disappearing person on the census. My relative, William Gracy, was born in 1830 in Pittsburgh, PA. He’s listed as a “boy under 5” on the 1830 census under his father’s name, James Gracy, head-of-household. He appears as “boy under 10” in the 1840 census. He appears – finally! – by name, sort of (Wm Gracy), aged 20 in the 1850 census. Then…poof!…gone. The family had a burial plot in the city for family members and he’s not interred there (though several siblings are). So, he didn’t die in Pittsburgh, or anywhere nearby (since they moved nearby family to the plot). Here’s where things get a bit murky.

    He supposedly next appears in Trujillo, Peru, South America, with the birth of his first child, a girl (Ana, named after his mother, Ann), in 1872. My great-grandfather (his son Jorge, aka George, after his brother who died in the Civil War) was born in 1881 and he had said that his father died in c.1893 and is buried, predictably, in Peru.

    Now, here’s my biggest problem. All the papers in Peru said his name was William Gracey and he was from Pittsburgh, PA, born c.1830. The William Gracy that I found in the census records in Pittsburgh, PA is the only really suitable match, but we can’t be 100% sure until we know what happened to this William Gracy between 1850 and 1872! I don’t want to be spending time researching the wrong family, or the wrong branch. We need some way to verify that William Gracy of Pittsburgh is MY William Gracey who seems to have travelled VERY far from home.

    Questions of what port he may have left from?, why did he leave in the first place?, was he a Civil War veteran or a draft dodger?, etc., etc. Did the William Gracy I found die somewhere else, like the Civil War, or get married and move elsewhere, and I’m barking up the wrong family tree?

    One more note of possible interest, my grandfather always asserted that “Gracey” was an “English” name. We assume my grandfather meant British. This is odd, because all the Graceys we’ve ever been able to find are Irish (including William Gracy’s grandparents, John and Margaret Gracy, both born in Ireland). However, William’s mother, Ann Williams, was born in England and was, therefore, “English”. A misunderstanding? Hint? Clue? We don’t know yet.

    Any ideas? Advice on how to find this sneaky ancestor of mine?

    1. Interesting story and a good mystery. I will copy this message, break it down to it’s basic elements and then get back with you. Do you have a tree on Ancestry dot com? If you do I could take a look at it and see if there are clues there. If not no big deal I’ve worked on mysteries like this with less information. I may not be able to provide anything new but I will try.
      Thank You for stopping by my blog and for giving me this good mystery to work on.

  6. Looking for a GG Grandfather. He was on the 1880 census living in Waymanville in Upson County, Ga. After that census we can not find him or his wife. He worked in the mill there and 3 of his daughters did also. His name was William Hewett and his wife was Mary. They lived in the Jug district ED139 on the census. Any information you can give me will be appreciated.

    1. Thank You Sybil for stopping by my blog. I will look into your mystery and see what I can find. I sent you an e-mail so we can communicate that way.

  7. My grandfather was married and I found his wife on the 1920 census as head of household and divorced. I have used every avenue I can think of to find him. I know he was living because he married my grandmother in 1923 and my dad was born 1925. I found his only brother, but he was not in that household. I looked in his hometown and didn’t find him. Those are the only two places I thought he lived. He signed up for draft in 1918 with his wife signing the form as well. Then he drops out of sign until 1923. I am trying to find the daughter he and his first wife had. Mysteriously, his brother and wife found a baby girl on their doorstep and adopted her. I have found some of her descendants through Ancestry. The only person listed in household of his first wife in 1920 is herself. I wonder if the girl his brother adopted was my grandfather’s daughter by his first marriage (my dad’s half-sister). I have never known any relatives from that side of my family because my grandfather died when my dad was 7 and all communication stopped when my grandmother remarried. The other quandary I face is my great grandfather. My grandfather and his brother carried the last name of their mother. I don’t know if they had the same father, but she didn’t marry until years later. I have no idea who my dad’s grandfather was. Any suggestions you can provide to find out who my great grandfather was and how to find my grandfather and his daughter would be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Thank You for stopping by my blog. You have an interesting family mystery and one that I will gladly tackle. The first thing I will do is rewrite your message showing only the facts to make it easier to follow the family branches. Then I will e-mail you and we can continue from there. You seem to have touched all the bases in your research and maybe he is one of the many who do indeed get lost to history; we will see. Luckily you are looking in a good time period (1920’s) where the records were not destroyed. Take Care till we talk again.
      Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

  8. Hello, could you help please? Where can I find someone “missing” (could also be death of unknown reasons or declare dead in absence) in Texas in 1930. Any records on line? I only know his name (Johnny or Jhonnie), the year, place and his age (around 7 year old), his parent were laborers. Nothing else.I was given this information and I need to check the veracity of that. The story behind is weird and we are not related to any person in the U.S (I’m from Chile). would be greatly appreciated!

    1. You will need to have a bit more information like “full name (first name and last name)”, where did the parents work “town, state”, exact date “day, month, year”, where were the parents born; where was the child born (town, country), birth date of parents (you can use abt 1912). With this information you might be able to pin point where the child died, because you can trace the family coming into the USA; if you know where they were born you might find them there and trace their travel information. By finding out where the parents worked you might be able to find pay records or housing records.
      The period you are talking about was during the Great Depression around the world and therefore there was a huge movement of people from one place to another, looking for work and records may not have been kept. I will e-mail you so we can chat some more.
      Thank You for stopping by my blog and I hope I will be able to help you.
      Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

      1. I am looking for my grandmother. I have requested every death record for her and none of them match her age or nationality. My grandmother had cancer and was dying at home. There are no hospital death records for her either. My grand mother had a private nurse caring for her and the nurse ended up marrying the nurse. My dad only said that his mother was taken away one night and he never saw her again. I’m thinking the nurse was in cahoots with a doctor and they did something awful to my grandmother. This all happened in New York in the 1930’s. Is there anyone or anything else I can do to find my grandmother? I’m starting to think something bad happened to her. I have checked all census records and she shows up to be certain year then nothing else on the census for her. It showed on the social security site that someone had been collecting her social security into the 1940’s.I need closure on this! I feel as though my grandmother was forgotten. You can email me at 2stevenancy@gmail.com. I need to solve this mystery.

  9. I do have all the names and dates needed. I dodvfind out my grandfather and grandmother were never legally married. Lots of family mysteries I need to solve.

    1. What census is that? What city, county and state. Maybe she is listed at the end of the book; I’ve seen such additions. Thank You for reading my blog post, Let me know where that census is and I will check it out.

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