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Bring It On Home!
The 1930 Census Is Coming to Cleveland
by Amy Kenneley

Is someone in your family a WWII veteran? This child-soon-to-be-warrior may appear for the first time in the 1930 census.

Is someone in your family Native American? This census will ask if they are of full or mixed blood and their tribal affiliation.

Are any family members veterans of wars previous to WWII? The question of military service and which war fought in will be asked in the 1930 census.

What language other than English was spoken at home? By the end of the First World War, many European boundaries had changed. Confirming what languages were spoken by family members could help solve nation/nationality problems.

Reel-y Reel-y Big

Between 1920 and 1930, the U.S. population had grown by 17 million more persons. Although the country was in the middle of The Great Depression, the federal census, as provided by the constitution, still happened.

This enumeration of the United States and its territories fills a total of 2,668 microfilm reels. From the single reel of the Consular Services to the whopping 270 reels of New York, this census will fill many, many cabinets at the Western Reserve Historical Society's library microform room.

Besides the actual census records of each state and territory, an additional 1,591 reels are the partial Soundex coding for 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky(part) Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia (part).

There are 1,591 reels in this set. The Soundexing of the 1930 census was in progress at the time of the U.S. entry into WWII. Only the South had been Soundexed up to that point, and the conversion for the rest of the country was never completed.

There are, however, 30 reels of Enumeration District Descriptions which are invaluable for locating families or individuals in towns and cities. Because the streets marking Enumeration District boundaries are noted in these reels, the locating of town and city dwellers-- especially if the address of a family is known, or a city directory of that period is used to locate a family's address-- can be a wonderful help, even if Soundex isn't available.

Adding It All Up

The Western Reserve Historical Society is committed to purchasing all 4,289 reels of the census, enumeration districts and Soundex coding.

The cost of purchasing, accessing, cataloguing, and archiving the 1930 census is over $200,000. That really is reel-y reel-y big, isn't it?

A campaign to raise money through donations has been on-going since last summer, and to date about half of that $200,000 has been raised through the efforts of staff and volunteers at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

The goal of the Society is to have the complete 1930 Census processed and ready for use as soon as possible after it is received in April. When the 1920 census was delivered 10 years ago, the staff and volunteers were proud to get the total 1920 microfilm boxed, labeled and in the cabinet drawers THE NEXT DAY after it was received. Pretty impressive, right?

If you have caught the "gen fever" going around, your genealogical roots will be deepened by this coming 1930 census. A single reel can be purchased for $40.

Why not purchase a reel in your family's name? Why not give a reel to honor a special person or in memory of a loved one? Contact Janet Mallula at (216) 721-5722 ext. 237 at Western Reserve Historical Society for more details on how you can be a part of this worthwhile historical first.

Watch for the next 1930 Census update soon. We will see how the funding is doing and talk about what local genealogy societies are doing to become involved in the 1930 Census project. Meanwhile, happy ancestor hunting!


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