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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Only 2 more days!

Are you ready for the 1940 census?! The details of the 16th United States Census will be revealed for the first time Monday April 2, 2012! Thats just 2 days away!

This great video is from the National Archives. To learn a little more about the 1940 census, read my previous post!


Get Ready for the 1940 Census Release! 

Picture from the US Census BureauI am so excited, in just 5 days the 1940 census will be released to the public!! For genealogists and others interested in researching their family tree this is a huge deal. Mark your calendars! On April 2, 2012, after the mandated 72 year wait, detail collected by the 16th United States Census will be available to the public.

Over the past 72 years America has really changed. The US Census Bureau has created an infographic displaying some very interesting comparisons of America 1940 vs. 2010. From population size, education, top industries, to details about housing- it was a different world! For example, in 1940 78.9% of rural/farm households had an outdoor toilet, only 17.7% had running water, and only 31.3% had electricity! Click here to take a look, I found it very interesting! This time period was a turning point in American history, just getting through the Great Depression and right before WWII.

You might be wondering what information can be found in the 1940 census. The standard census information was taken: address, name, gender, age, education, place of birth, and occupation. A new feature to this census was an indication (circled X after the name) of who in the family was giving the census information. Another interesting new feature is the additional questions for individuals on lines 14 and 29. If your ancestor just happened to be the person occupying one of these 2 lines of the census page, they were required to give more detailed information. Such as: birthplace of father and mother, language spoken at home early in childhood, if a woman- has she been married more than once? If so, age at first marriage. You will find this information at the bottom of the census page. I'm really hoping I find an person on one of these lines! There are 40 lines (or people) to a page, and as it turns out about 5% of the population were required to answer these additional questions. To download a blank 1940 Census Form and see the questions and format for yourself, click here.

How can you get your hands on the 1940 census? A few ways, for free! will be offering the 1940 census for FREE through the end of 2013. You will be able to search through the 1940 census AND view the original images. On you can always search for free, but unless you are a subscriber, you normally can't see the original document (where most of the details are located). is another site you will be able to search for free. Both of these sites indicate that they are working to release the databases with a name index, meaning you can search through the records with a persons name to locate them.

The National Archives will also have the census available on April 2, 2012 at 9am, but here they will not have a name index. Instead, you will search by enumeration district. To know the enumeration district, you will have to know the individuals address. To learn how to search this way and how to compile this information before April 2nd, please visit the National Archives "Start Your 1940 Research" page. You might wonder why you would go through all the trouble of using this method for searching when will have a name index. Sometimes names are misspelled, either by the census taker or the person transcribing a document. So if you have trouble locating a person by name, go ahead and try using their address to find them!

After writing this and learning all this great information, I'm even more excited! I'm going to start getting myself ready for the release by making a list of everyone I"ll be looking for on April 2. If you have any questions, tips, or resources you'd like to share, PLEASE contact me or leave a comment!


Barbie's 1959 Debut and a New 2012 Royal Debut

The Barbie debuted in 1959For me, barbie is synonymous with childhood. I would spend hours alone or with my sister and friends playing with my barbies, changing her clothes, driving in her hot pink convertible, and setting up a dream house for her and Ken. Always losing those little shoes though :) On March 9, 1959 Barbie made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York City. This year marks her 53rd year of glamor and imagination.

Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler. She was inspired to create an adult female doll when she observed how much her daughter enjoyed playing with grown up female paper dolls. And what was her daughter's name, Barbara of course! The mother/daughter beginnings have helped keep the Barbie tradition alive and continuous 53 years later. As I've previously shared, I am expecting twin girls later this summer and I'm already looking forward to a big box of barbies, barbie clothes, and accessories! I'm a big believer in pretend and encouraging kids to use their imaginations and I just remember spending hours playing with these dolls.

While I did play with Barbie dolls, I didn't have the fancy dolls or collector dolls you weren't allowed to play with. But when I heard of the new Prince Charles and Kate Royal Wedding Barbie Collector set to come out in April, all I could think was- my daughters have to have these!!

This past year I've read and learned a lot about the Royal Family and their role in the English culture. And I find it all very fascinating. Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year (60 years as reigning Queen) and next month is the 1 year anniversary of Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding. I have to admit, I did stay up/get up early last year to watch the royal wedding! A story I will for sure share with my girls, as William and Kate will most likely be the King and Queen of England during my girls lifetime. Not sure if these will be play time toys or something I'd like to give them to keep and collect. But hopefully something they will someday love! I don't know how in love Steve is that I'm already buying dolls to collect for our unborn girls, might need to start clearing some room in the storage unit :). Pre-orders for the set have already sold out, but Mattel will begin selling the sets on April 7, 2012.


Then and Now: 154 4th Ave Brooklyn, NY

The New York Public library has an amazing digital gallery with tons of vintage New York City images. I really enjoy looking through them to see how the city has transformed over the past 100 years. Last summer I chose a few Brooklyn pictures and set out to see what the picture would look like today (2011).

This picture from the digital gallery is of 154 4th Ave Brooklyn circa 1936.

Before I set out to see the "today" picture, I checked out google street view (picture below). I was a little disappointed to see most of the building gone! But since it wasn't too far away, I decided to take a walk over and take a look. 

What a great surprise, when I went in July 2011 there was actually a new luxury condo building fully built into the missing section! How things have changed! I love that the section with the spiral top all the way to the right was preserved. It served as a nice landmark for me to use to make these then and now pictures. A piece of new nestled in with a piece of history. I should see if I can find out when the original building was built.

More then and now pictures to come! Have a spot in Brooklyn or New York you'd like to see a then and now picture comparison of? Let me know, I'll see if I can make it happen.

This is such a great project when researching your family history and have an exact address or town name....what was there when they lived here? There is a cool website aptly named What Was There where you can put in an address or city to see pictures of what was there! Pictures can be added by individuals or organizations looking to preserve the images of the past.