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More 1940 Census Tips and Tricks

Happy Friday, and it is a good one here in the land of everything family history!  As of early this morning all of the 1940 images are live! Over 3.8 million images are now available to view. In addition, we have our first two indexes rolled LIVE as well on the site. Now you can search through Nevada and Delaware using a person’s name, not just page through the images.

So who besides me is making an appointment with their eye doctor for tired eyes? Wow, those enumeration district (ED) maps can take a toll. But how fun is it to zero in on the place where your family lived and then find them in those amazing records?  That feeling of satisfaction from the thrill of the hunt is multiplied when we get to learn about our family during that pivotal time in history—between the Great Depression and World War II. As I was reminded in one of our Live Look-up Chats, this census offers a parting glimpse of so many heroes who went off to fight, and ended up dying for our country. For these and many more reasons, it’s so important for us to find our family and preserve their memories. So let’s get to it.

First Up, Finding Addresses on ED Maps without Going Insane

OK, so as I mentioned, my eyes are threatening to leave their sockets unless I find a better way to search these ED maps. One thing I’ve started doing is pretty basic and some of you may already be doing this. I’m pulling up the address on a current map site, like Google maps. I search for the address and note surrounding streets and any landmarks that will help me find the spot on the ED maps.

Once I’ve gotten my bearings in the close up shot, I zoom out to see the wider area. Getting this perspective helps me to figure out which ED map I should use and is very helpful. I can see if the address is to the southeast of the city, or that it’s on the west side of a river, or that a diagonal thoroughfare runs near it, for example.

Even though some of the maps are broken up and span multiple images, you can tell where the tops and edges are and get a fix for which sections of the maps will have the section for the southeast portion of the city, the northwest section, etc.  The more I work with them, the easier it gets.

Next Up, Screenshots, Take Two

After last night’s post (if you missed it, it’s here), I heard from several of you wondering about how to grab a screenshot. There are several ways to grab an image from your screen that you can print or edit with online tools, and while I can’t get into particulars with any one program I’ll touch on some basic options that most of us have available to us through our standard computer accessories.

Commercial Products. There are a number of commercial products available and a quick search for “screenshot software” or screen capture software” should pull up a list of products to review—some free and some are available with a paid license. Most products offer a free trial so you can try them and buy only if you like it. Talk to other genealogists and see what they’re using. Our Facebook page  is a great place to network with other family historians, who are always eager to help and offer advice.

Windows. If you have Windows, you should be able to hit CTL and Print Screen (usually found on the top row of the keyboard above numbers and navigation controls). This will copy what you are seeing on your screen to an invisible clipboard. In your list of programs on the Start menu, look for Accessories and open that folder. Then select Paint. (You could also use a Word or Wordpad document for this purpose.) Open it up and click CTL and V. This will paste the item from that invisible clipboard to your document or image. In Paint you can save it as an image file, or if you’ve pasted into a document, it will save as that document type.

From there you can print your map or insert shapes like arrows or lines that help you delineate enumeration district (ED) boundaries, highlight numbers, mark intersections near your family, or whatever else you’d like to do. If you’re a paper person, highlighters work fantastic. This makes it easy for you to glance back and forth at the map while you’re navigating the census images and zero in even faster on the address you’re looking for.

Mac. OK, for this one I had to call my boss, Jeanie, for advice. I don’t have a Mac, so she’s my go-to girl for this. If you’re a Mac user, look in your applications, click on Utilities, and look for Grab. Then go to Capture and choose from there. You can find more information and other options for grabbing a screen shot here

Happy hunting!

Juliana Smith

Juliana@Ancestry.com