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Ask Ancestry Anne: Finding my grandparents in the 1940 census

One of the first families I will look for will be my paternal grandparents Gilbert Gillespie and Ann Gillespie nee Feazell.  This will be the first census where I will see them married, and my Aunt Madeline will be on it as well.  My dad was born in September of 1940, so he just missed appearing.


Fingers crossed that one of them is on line 14 or 29 and was asked supplementary questions, but I’ll be happy enough to find them.

No one has been able to tell me if my grandmother graduated from high school…the answer should be on there. Was my grandmother listed as Ann, Irene or by the name we all knew her by, Judy?  The story there is her brother saw a Punch and Judy show, and started calling his sister Judy.  And it stuck to the day she died.


Did they own a home?  They hadn’t been married for long.  Did they live on or near Houston Street near my grandfather’s parents? Or were they living in Buena Vista near my grandmother’s parents?  My dad can remember sitting on the porch at the end of World War II watching a parade to celebrate the end of the War.


Was my grandfather working?  What was he doing?  I know he spent most of his life working for Burlington Industries.  Had he already started? Had he been working steadily?  And what about his parents? Brothers? Sisters? This will be the last census record where I will find my great grandfather Wyatt – he dies a year later.


I suspect that I won’t learn anything mind blowing on this census, but I can’t wait to find them on the form. you just never know what new detail is going to jump out at you and make you say “Wow, I never knew that.”

Happy Searching!

— Ancestry Anne