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Who lived in your house in 1940?
The Freakonomics blog has a posting up about the recent release of the 1940 census forms, and how the National Archives has scanned all the forms in for public access. What's available is high-resolution scans of the census enumeration forms, hand-written (no OCR or searchable text), broken down by enumeration district. It is much easier to track down an address than it is to track down a person.

If your house is old enough, you can find out who was living there then. It takes some searching, mind you.

In 1940, my house was worth $5000. It was owned by Charles A Weigand (62), who lived in the house with his son Charles William Weigand (28), his daughter-in-law Dorothy Pritchard Weigand (34), his grandson William Charles Weigand (2), and their servant/maid Helen Buelt(20). All 5 residents were white. Charles A was born in PA, the rest in NY. Charles A only completed 2 years of high school, while Charles W and his wife both had 4 years of high school. Helen had completed 2 years of college. The Weigands had been living here at least 5 years, while Helen had come from a farm in Geneva, NY. The two men and Miss Buelt were employed, Mrs Weigand did house work. The elder Charles worked long hours (58 the last week in March) as a meat cutter at a retail meat market, while the younger Charles was a junior clerk doing his 40 hours at a public utility. In 1939, the two men earned $1800 and $1500, respectively. Helen worked more hours than either, 60 hours as a domestic for a private family, but didn't have any reportable wages in 1939 (she did get paid in other ways, though). The elder Charles was selected for supplementary questions, and from there we find out his parents were both born in New York State, English is his mother tongue, he was not a veteran, he had a social security number, and he paid Federal Old-Age Insurance deductions on all his wages in 1939.

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My house was built in 1941, alas. But I am looking forward to more info on my family with the 1940 census release. Annoyingly, Footnote.com (now Fold3.com) used to have content from our local newspaper. I had found all kinds of family info and stories through them, but hadn't downloaded all of it (there was a lot). They changed their format to a military-records site and didn't bother to inform any of their clients that they would be deleting content. So I lost a lot of information, and I haven't had any luck in finding those archives online anywhere else.

Of the buildings extant where i live, exactly 8 of them were standing in 1940. The rest were built between 1963 and today.

LOL A. Smith Bowman is listed as a farmer. No mention of the bourbon still he ran, which still produces, though is no longer located here in the Sunset Hills section of Reston, nee Wiehle, VA.

Edited at 2012-04-05 07:55 am (UTC)

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