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The Family Neighborhood

My biggest discovery in the 1940 census was something I’d always known, but never understood until I saw it on paper—virtual paper that is.

My dad’s stories about his childhood always included his cousins, whether they were climbing trees (and breaking arms) or racing homemade boats in the irrigation canal. 


My dad (the smallest boy in the front row) with his brothers and cousins ca. 1940

I knew my dad’s cousins must have lived nearby or they wouldn’t have spent so much time together. I just never realized how close. When I found the census record for my dad on Tuesday (yes, it took me a day to finally get access!) I was amazed to find the entire neighborhood populated with my extended family. Living on the same street were his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. 

I understand a little more now why they’re such a close-knit family—and it sure cuts down on the number of census records I need to search for!

Tana Pedersen, Ancestry.com Employee