Sunday, February 10, 2008

1-Step Improvement - 1920 Federal Census

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Thanks again to Joy Rich who brought the following welcome announcement to Ol' Myrt's attention:

From Joy Rich
Subject: 1-Step Improvement - 1920 Federal Census
I'm distributing this information at the request of Joel Weintraub.

"I want to announce an expansion of the geographical search capabilities for the US Census at the Morse 1-Step website.

We presently have street indexes to Enumeration District (ED) numbers for large cities for the 1910, 1930, and even 1940 (opening 2012) censuses, and some location to ED information for the 1910 census for smaller communities. We also have incorporated the National Archives (NARA) 1930 database where all EDs are described (and searchable). Another tool we have are conversion tables from 1940 EDs to 1930 EDs (and more important, vice versa), 3,000 urban areas defined by their EDs in 1940 (and therefore 1930), and tables for the larger cities' 1930 ED numbers converted to 1920 ones.

Until this week, the only online method for finding easily 1920 EDs from location data was our conversion routines, but only for large urban areas. However, our ability to convert 1930 to 1920 ED numbers has now been augmented to include rural areas as well. Originally, I and some volunteers transcribed about 40,000 1930/1920 ED pairs for the large and medium cities (ending up with about 975 areas), and just this month, I completed transcribing the remaining 80,000 or so correlates for the smaller urban areas and rural communities (adding over 1,400 small urban area names to the database for 1930/1920). Steve Morse now has integrated the new database into the existing 1-Step utilities and expanded their capabilities. He has also combined some overlapping utilities on the 1-Step site in the census area.

If you find errors in the data or problems with the search engines, let Steve or me know.

So now one should be able to, online and for free, find most ED numbers on the 1920 census by geographical means, whether the target address is in a city, town, or rural area. (We already have that capability for 1930 and 1940.)

To summarize: if you can't find a name on a name index for the 1920 census, but know the location that your target was living at in 1920, then it is now possible to do one (or all) of the following on the 1-Step Website:

1. Find your 1920 large city address on our 1930 ED finder, and convert the resultant 1930 ED # to a 1920 one;

2. Find your small community name on our 1930/1920 list of urban areas, and see the 1930 and 1920 ED numbers for that area;

3. Take a 1930 ED number and find out what it correlates with in 1920 (and vice versa);

4. Use the NARA database through the 1-Step site to find your target location in 1930, and use the links there to the 1920 (and 1940) conversion utilities.

The 1930 to 1920 table source information (NARA T1224) was not as good as the 1940 to 1930 material, so the coverage we have isn't 100%. Some areas show ranges of EDs while others lacked information entirely or the NARA film was illegible, but we think that most searches will be successful using the new tables and expanded utility features. See the revised "Overview" essay on the "US Census and Soundex (1790-1940)" folder for more information at:

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA

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