I was searching for someone in the 1940 census in San Bruno, California and I noticed something odd. Partway down the page, the enumerator’s handwriting changed from cursive to block printing. It certainly got my attention and I’m glad it did. I learned a new trick.
When you’re looking at a census for an enumeration district (ED), and you find the family you’re looking for, do you skip ahead to the last pages of the ED to see if there were other people in the same household that were listed on another page of the enumeration. Here’s an example from the 1940 census for San Bruno, San Mateo, California, ED 41-14, sheet 25A. On lines 37 and 38, residing at 509 Easton Street are 31-year-old Mercedes Fisher and her 62-year-old mother, Dolores Fisher. It was Dolores who provided the information. According to the number in column 3, this was the 721st household visited by the enumerator, Sarah Stanton Boynton. Since Ms. Boynton then moved on to enumerate household 722 at 501 Easton Street, you might have thought she’d listed everyone living at #509. Whoa. Not so fast there!
Take a look at sheet 61A for ED 41-14. There on line 15 is listed Fisher, Henry Peter, brother. No, he is not the brother to Hackney who appears just above him on line 14. He is the brother of Mercedes Fisher from Sheet 25A. How do I know this? Because in column 3 of Henry Fisher’s line, it says “721 Cont” meaning the continuation of household 721.
Henry Fisher’s isn’t the only household continued on Sheet 61A. If you look at Line 2 on this page, you’ll see Lucille Lena Cornell, living at 991 Mills, visitation number 206. Go back to Sheet 8B, line 77, and you’ll find Lucille’s sister, Wilma Rachel Cornell, listed as the head of household. If you looked only at Sheet 8B you’d think Wilma lived alone and never know about Lucille.
I can’t speak for every census, but I know this is not a problem peculiar to the 1940 census. I’ve seen similar “addendums” to households in the 296th ED in San Francisco in 1900. Word to the wise – always remember to check the last few pages of an enumeration district to see if any additional household members are hiding there.
This is just one of the 20+ tips in my Censation Census Strategies talk. I’ll be presenting it at the 2016 Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington on August 18th. I hope to see you there.
 Ancestry.com shows 55 images in ED 41-14. The images are in sets of two, an A and a B sheet, Sheets 1A-15B are images 1-30 in the set. Sheet 15B is appears again as image 31. Images 32-53 are labeled as Sheets 16A-26B. The final 2 images in the set, 54 and 55 are Sheet 61A and 61B.
 1910 US Federal Census for California, San Francisco, San Francisco, ED 0296, Sheet 8, lines 29-32, Pope family, (Ancestry.com image 15 of 21) and 1910 US Federal Census for California, San Francisco, San Francisco, ED 0296, Sheet 11, lines 29, Sydney Pope (Ancestry.com image 21 of 21)
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.