Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1940 Census - Time for Reflection

As we prepare for the release of the 1940 Census five days from today, I spent some time reflecting on the impact of this census in my overall personal family history. On my blog page I posted two new pages and retitled two pages. You will now find the following articles: Daniel Tidd Article (formerly the Research Project), Ole A. Brown Article (formerly under Stories), and the new postings Cole Family Migration Article and Portland, Oregon WWII Article. The last two were written for publication in March 2009 in "The Bulletin", a quarterly published by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

In January 2009 I became a member of the editorial team for this publication. This was a challenge for me as I was facing two brain surgeries that year. With huge feelings of gratitude for this opportunity to grow as a genealogist, this experience also provided encouragement through my recovery. There are four editors and we take turns as issue editors. For my first experience I worked with Micki and we produced the June 2009 issue on Oregon History from Statehood to Today. In September 2010 I was editor for the issue on Scandinavian Research, in June 2011 the issue on German Research and March 2012 the issue on the War of 1812. In between I have written numerous articles listed on this blog under GFO Bulletin Articles.

My other contributions to this publication are as column editor of Genealogy Education and Book Reviews. The book reviews are listed under Book Reviews Published. Some of the Genealogy Education articles are published as blog posts. As you can probably imagine all of this can be a very time-consuming volunteer effort, but as in all volunteer work there are amazing rewards. In this work the first reward is pushing myself to write about the research work that I have done over years as a genealogist. Then there is the reward of seeing that work published and made available to the general public. As I recovered from my surgeries I promised myself to put this knowledge into writing so it is not lost to my family and fellow researchers.

The article on the Cole Family Migration details the move my mother and her family made from Nebraska to Oregon in 1941. In preparation for the article I interviewed my mother, her mother and her brother. Grandma Helen passed away in 2005, but prior to her death I conducted three interviews with her. For the article a great deal of research was done into historical information surrounding the details that she provided. This led me to do the other interviews. In consideration of the length of the article, including endnotes, I placed it as a page on the blog. Then after I finished that article I decided there was a need to write about the Defense Housing built in Portland, Oregon during WWII. This again is a lengthy article and I placed it on a separate page on the blog.

The serendipity moments I feel from reading these articles are the memories of unlocking stories of our family history. There are still some missing key pieces and the 1940 Census will help to provide some of those. Do you have key pieces of your family history that might be lurking in these census records? For now you will need to hunt them down in a methodical manner. Once the indexing is completed it will enable those of us who are unsure where our relatives were living at the time, to locate them and these key pieces of information. Please get involved in the indexing project at This effort will provide an accurate index available for free to everyone. Your help is needed!

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