I thought it was a big deal when someone was able to find an ancestor who was lucky enough to end up on one of the two lines per page on the 1940 census that led to the supplemental questions. It is a big deal, but the enumerators for EDs 68-18 and 68-19 in South Dakota blew those supplemental questions out of the water.
The enumerator for 68-18 was a note-maker. It’s not uncommon to see random notes in the margins on the census records. But these take the cake. It all started out innocently enough on page 1B – something had to be crossed out and then an explanation was required:
Then again on page 2A:
On page 8A, the enumerator was making notes about families who were absent (obviously not wanting to forget to put them on page 61A):
On page 61A, the enumerator even made notes regarding the transients:
This enumerator didn’t want to miss anything!
The enumerator for ED 68-19 was even more prolific than the first one – starting with page 2A:
Page 5A includes a sort of treasure map:
And anyone researching the Schleyter surname will be glad to know that this enumerator felt compelled to make a note that the person on line 59 was using a stage name:
There’s even a touch of geography:
Even a bit of family history and future-telling:
With a little employment and citizenship history thrown in:
And sometimes had to explain why they didn’t get their information face-to-face:
Now, it should come as no surprise that these two enumerators had something in common. Have you figured out what it is yet? They were WOMEN. These two lovely women – Juanita Savage and Geneva Williams – made it possible for us to know just a little bit more about the people in their districts. Thank you, ladies.
Just remember: always read the notes in the margins of the census pages. You never know what you might find out about your ancestors!
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