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.
The first thing I did was to bring up the transcript page for the 1930 census record.
Next I looked at the district he comes from and brought up the original census image.
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.
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.
I made the map bigger on the screen so I could read the other street names.
The street name Shipley seems to match the scribble on the census record.
I then typed in Percy’s address 10 Shipley Ave in a Google map search.
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.
I went back to the 1930 census record to make sure I had his correct address and district.
I then went back to Ancestry.com to do a random search for 1940.
I put in a common name”Smith” and Baltimore, Maryland as a place they lived.
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.
I was lucky to get the first one living in the same area as Percy, so I click on that person.
What came up was the transcript page and the icon for original image which can be selected to view it.
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.
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.
I went back to the map to make sure the boundary description fit the address and it did.
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.
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.
Having that information I went back and did a search for Percy Greece in the 1940 census .
I got the record and the transcription page.
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.