Friday, April 6, 2012

1940 Census - John William Mendenhall Family

Wilma Mendenhall in 6th Grade about 1940.

The 1940 census was made available on April 2nd at 12:01am.  The census is not indexed yet, so it takes a little bit of research to find the person that you are interested in locating.  My first search was for my mother, Wilma Mendenhall.  I knew that she lived in Cedar City in 1940.  I first looked at the 1930 census and found that she lived in ED 11-2.  ED stands for Enumeration District.  The US Census is split into enumeration districts - geographical areas designed to allow a census taker or enumerator to visit every house in the district within a two week period.  I browsed the 34 pages of  ED 11-2 without success.

Because I didn't know the house address where the Mendenhall family lived, I next tried Steve Morse's conversion tools and discovered that ED 11-2 in 1930 could be ED 11-4, 11-5A or 11-5B or 11-6 in the 1940 census. I worked through ED 11-4, ED 11-5A and 11-5B without any luck. My last hope was ED 11-6. I found what I was looking for on image 33 of 55. After reviewing 136 census pages, I found my Mother in the 1940 census. 

1940 Census Header

1940 Census Mendenhall Family

 My mother was 12 years old in the 1940 census.  My grandfather, John William Mendenhall was 58 and worked as a mail carrier.  He worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $900.  He worked 48 hours the week before the census was taken. My Grandmother, Elsa Mendenhall was 51 years old and was the person that spoke with the census enumerator.  She worked as a housemaid at a hotel.  She worked 32 weeks of 1939 and earned $600.  She also worked 48 hours the week before the census was taken.  They owned their home (as opposed to renting) and it was valued at $1500.  The house address was 1633 6 West.  There were 3 children living at home ages 12 to 19.

This is an amazing glimpse into the lives of my mother and grandparents in 1940.