Monday, April 2, 2012

My Grandmother, Lola - 9 April 1940

Today, April 2, 2012, the 1940 US Federal Census was released at 12:01 AM by the National Archives. These scans were released to a few different organizations including and has been uploading pages by state and today they began to upload California (along with Pennsylvania, Maine, New York, Guam, American Samoa, Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Nevada, Panama Canal Zone, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands and Virginia. has uploaded Kansas, Oregon, Colorado, Virginia and Delaware.

Mind you, none of these pages have yet been indexed by name, so in order to search for your relatives, you must have an idea of where they might have lived and then determine the enumeration number for that area. There are maps available at the various sites, including the National Archives, but I haven't been able to really figure the numbers out.

This evening I checked at Ancestry for the progress of California and found Ventura County was up. I checked it and found that the city of Camarillo was available and there were only five links. The last of the links was the one I needed. It included the now closed Camarillo State Hospital (or as it was called in 1940, Camarillo State Mental Hospital). I knew from the hospital records I was able to obtain, that Lola was at Camarillo in 1940. When I opened that file, it was huge - 93 pages! This meant 93 pages to search without the luxury of names being indexed (which makes the search SO easy). My sister and I got on it and began to look through the pages, looking for Lola. Now, we knew that she was in the system as Marie and not Lola, so that was the name we were looking for. My sister was checking ahead of the pages I was checking and finally she said, "here she is". I asked what page she told me page 63 and line 34 (please see last line below).

National Archives
 The 1940 Census has some great questions, including address in 1935, yet, apparently all these great questions weren't all that important of anyone that was in a State Hospital in 1940. Basically, the only information that was apparently EVER going to be important to any family members in the future was Name, Age, Sex, Race, Marital Status and Place of Birth. I find that rather disturbing.

There was a time in my search for Lola that I really thought my only means of finding her was either going to be through the assistance of a medium like James Van Praagh or the 1940 Census. If I hadn't found her, I sadly realized today that I still wouldn't have a clue about her from this census. I hope that isn't going to be the case with her sister, Bessie! Time will tell though.

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