Making A Research Chart For 1940 Census Research

Making A Research Chart For 1940 Census Research

The minute the 1940 US Census was online I was there!  I knew where I wanted to start (E. 25th Street, Oakland, CA), so I didn’t really have to do much preparation.  All I needed was the enumeration district.

Now that I’ve exhausted the East Twenty Fifth Street Gang, delved a little in Kilauea, Kauai, HI, I need to have a better sense of who I’ve found and who I need to find.

I’m concentrating on my Portuguese roots for now as they lived mostly in clusters in three cities.  That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  My Grandfather had over 40 first cousins on the Pacheco side alone who reach adulthood.  And, I plan to find every single one of them!

I’ve devised this chart to help me keep track of what I’ve accomplished and what I need to work on.  I’ve set up this spreadsheet in MsWorks:


I’ve organized it by family groups.  The bold type first column represents my grandfather’s parents and his aunts and uncles.

Column 2 is their children and their spouses.  I’ve noted if the person is deceased so I know only to look for their spouse.

Column 3 is the street I expect to find them on.  For now, I’ve gone through and noted everyone I’ve located.  Next, I’ll go through and list the street for those I have not found yet.

Column 4 will be marked F (found) or NF (not found).  I’ll have to figure out how to note if I look up multiple street names.

Column 5 is for noting which of their children and/or grandchildren I find listed with them.  This is important because by 1940 many of my Grandfather’s cousins have married–and some of their children have too.

You’ll notice that some names in column two have “…” before them.  These are the next generation.  Once I’ve clarified whose is not living with their parents, I can set out to search for them.    Already I’ve found a couple of people who are married and living with their parents.  I imagine this was pretty common in 1940 as families are trying to survive the Depression.

Once I’ve exhausted the Portuguese folks, I’ll work on the French and Irish.  I’ll probably come across some of the French in my Oakland research.  But many of them as well as the Irish will be in San Francisco, which will be a little more challenging until indexes are created.

After I’ve covered the West Coast, it’s off to New York for La Grange, Boisvert, and Murphy (my brother-in-law’s tree) and then to Massachusetts for a few Irish cousins.

At any rate, my chart is a work in progress.  This is why I did it as a spreadsheet.  If I feel the need for another column, I can insert it easily.  If I need to change my columns, I can do that too.

Have you created a chart for your research?  How is yours designed?  Are you looking for one or two families or are you on a mission, like me, to map out half the city?


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Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website,

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