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Ask Ancestry Anne: How Do I Decipher Census Columns?

Question: What do the numbers in column 30 in the 1910 census mean?  I have many relatives with different numbers in this column

— Jackie

Answer: Column 30 specifies whether the person owns (O) or rents (R) a home.  But I suspect that you are referring to numbers such as the ones written in on the right hand side. They look as if they are written in a different handwriting than the census itself and they don’t appear in every column.


A little research led me to Census Tick Marks and Codes – Revisited Yet Again! by Elizabeth Shown Mills where she discusses similar numbers on the 1900 census.  Some analysis led her to the number there, so let’s try it here.

Given that the codes do not appear on lines with no occupations, I hypothesize that they are occupation codes. We can create a chart to compare them easily.


You’ll notice that both Cooks have the code: 14-0-7-X and that the last three nurses are 1-5-6-X.  However, the first nurse is 9-5-6-X.  Am I wrong or did someone write this down wrong?

If you check other pages and the same occupation/industry pair you see the same codes. 

Now this doesn’t add anything new to your knowledge of your ancestor, but it does give you a place to start if you can’t read the handwriting.  Look for the same code, and maybe you can decipher the occupation that way. And nice job of looking at the columns on the census and every little detail!

While we’re looking at details, you may have also noticed that we have indexed a few more columns on the 1940 census, including marital status, street, occupation, industry, whether the house was owned or rented, and highest grade completed.

If I enter “Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia” for Lived In and “Houston Street” for Street and mark both exact, I can see everyone who lived on the same street as my great grandparents in 1940. This can help you locate other relatives and who lived around them.


I know my grandfather was a rug weaver in a carpet mill in 1940. If I put in the exact location and “Weaver” and mark it exact, I get a list of everyone in that town who was a Weaver.  I suspect these are the people he worked with and knew. 

The details are always important!

Happy Searching!

— Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: Finding Easton Page

Question: My father died when I was 9 years old and I never knew my father’s father. My father’s birth name was EASTON ROLLY PAGE. I have no idea what my grandfather’s name is. I have two different dates my father was born and he died on February 10, 1948 in San Francisco, CA and is buried in a military cemetery, I believe, in San Bruno, CA. I was told he was born on August 30, 1901 or 1904. So I’m confused and would very much like to trace my ancestors, but don’t have a clue. He was married before he married my mother and his 1st wife had, i believe 4 children. He had 2 or 3 girls and one son named Donald Page who was born around 1920-1924.So if you could possibly track some of my family, I’d be ecstatic just knowing they are still alive. Thank you so much.

Daniel Rolly Page

Answer: I’m sorry for your loss at such a young age. I have been able to find some information on your family.

I started with your father’s death date, and I found him in the California Death Index

It tells us that he was born on August 31, 1903 in Kansas and that his father’s surname was Page and his mother’s maiden name was Singleton.

I also found him in the U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1776-2006 data collection.which reports his birth date as August 31, 1901.  It tells us his Service start date was June 5, 1920, that he was a Corporal in the Army during WWII and that he is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery which is in San Bruno, California.

Birth years often vary from document to document, and if the 1903 date from the death index is correct, it may be that he lied about his age to get into the military. He would have only been 17 in 1920.

With this information, I start working backwards through the census records. In 1930, Easton was living with his wife Lucille, who he married around 1923, and their four children, Eileen, Norma, Donald, and Anita.  They were living in Los Angeles, California with Lucille’s parents, Henry and Emma Ahlers.  Easton was working as a Spring Coiler in a Furniture Factory.


In 1920, Easton is living with his parents, James and Hettie Page in Newbury, Wabaunsee County, Kansas.  His father is a Carpenter in the Locomotive industry and they owned their own farm. 

In 1915, Easton is living with his parents, J. W. and Hettie and his older sister Orpha who is school teacher.  Orpha was born in Arkansas eight years before Easton; so the family moved to Kansas sometime before Easton’s birth. (Note: on the Kansas State Census, make sure you look at the page after the name page for all the information.)

In 1910, Easton was living in McFarland in the Newberry Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas.  He is living with his parents James W. and Hettie D. Page and his sister Orpha M.  Hettie had six children, but only two, Orpha and Easton were living in 1910. James was a Carpenter working for a Railroad Car Repair company.  James and Hettie married about 1894.

In 1900, living in Lincoln, Madison County, Arkansas, James and Hettie had been married for six years. They had had 4 children, but only Arthur was living. They were also living with Hettie’s younger sister, Viola Singleton.

So to recap, we know that Easton married Lucille Ahlers, sometime between 1920 and 1930.  Given that Eileen, the oldest child,  was born in 1924; they were most likely married around 1922 or 1923.  They had four children by 1930.  Finding Easton in 1940 would be the next logical step in determining how many children.  It appears that Donald Ralph Page died on February 26, 1998 in Riverside, California, according the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  I could not find marriage records or death records for any of the three girls.

Easton’s parents were most likely James Page and Hettie Singleton.  They were married around 1894, probably in Arkansas.  They had at least six children of whom two, Orpha and Easton, lived to adulthood. Arthur is the only name we’ve seen as one of the four who died early.

There is still a lot of searching left to do; hopefully this gets you started.

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne