How do I find out what the dwelling house number was on a street by using the (ED) Enumeration District numbers on a U. S. Federal Census?
(SGS) Stateline Genealogy Sorter
May 26, 2017
The short answer – I don’t know yet. This is what I have found out so far, and I will update this post as I learn more.
(Just a note – The 1950 census records will be released in April 2022.)
What is an enumeration district?
An enumeration district is the geographical area that was assigned to a single census taker.
For information on locating and understanding U.S. census records, see Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records, by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright. This book covers the federal population schedules, state and local census schedules, and special census schedules. This book is in our collection 929.1 Sz71f, and checked out. I have it on hold, and will try to find more answers after reading it.
( July 22, 2017 update – Starting in 1890, Enumerators were instructed to add the street name and house numbers. Some were sloppy, or negligent. Or, you may have to look several pages before “your” family to find the street name written sideways in the far left column of the Census sheet.)
“The genealogist’s census pocket reference : tips, tricks & fast facts to track your ancestors”, from Allison Dolan and the editors of Family tree magazine, Cincinnati, Ohio : Family Tree Books, c2012. c2012 Look for this book in GEN 929.1 Dolan.
To learn more about enumeration districts, the following reference materials might be useful. (These are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and at NARA’s regional records services facilities.)
- Enumeration District Maps for the Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1930), 35 rolls
- Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1931), 11 rolls.
- Descriptions of Census Enumeration Districts, 1830-1950. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T1224), rolls 61-90.
Note: To complement its collection of 1930 resources, The National Archives has also purchased copies of city directories for 1928-1932. For a complete list of which directories it has, see NARA’s website. These are not National Archives publications, but can be purchased from Primary Source Microfilm (an imprint of the Gale Group). For ordering information call 1-800-444-0799.
There are also a few reference books at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, WI about enumeration.
What are the definitions of terms used in the census?
- Census__1) a counting of the population; 2) the actual pages of the census schedules
- Enumeration__another word for taking the census
- Enumerator__a census taker (That was my job for the 1990 U.S. Census.)
- Enumeration district__abbreviated as ED, it is the area assigned to one enumerator in one census period; 2 to 4 weeks in 1930.
- Institutions__Hospitals, schools, jails, etc. that were given separate EDs for the 1930 census.
- NP or nonpopulation__an ED where no one lived. Noted as “NP” in the catalog.
- Precinct__the limits of an officer’s jurisdiction or an election district
- Place__specific geographic places or features such as streets, towns, villages, rivers, or mountains.
- Schedule__the pages that the enumerators filled out when taking the census
- Soundex__an indexing system based on the way a name is pronounced rather than how it is spelled.
- Void__an ED that was combined with another ED. Noted as “void” in the catalog
- Useful Web Sites:
What questions were on the 1930 Census?
- Place of abode Street, avenue, road, etc.
Number of dwelling house in order of visitation
Number of family in order of visitation
These definitions were used consistently through the years. I have tried some of the Stephen P. Morse aids below for a family’s location in 1920, 1930, and 1940. Tell me if you have found success with using them, or finding the street numbers for a family. I did not find any more information using The Morse guides than I did by searching Ancestry.com.
I was looking for the house street number for where I knew that a family lived. It is a small town. Unless the enumerator wrote down the street number, you will only see the Street name and numbers indicating the order of what order he/she visited by dwelling and family.
I have seen that some enumerators on some years did write down the dwelling number. Take note of the neighbors on either side (order of visiting) and look for them in later year’s censuses. Even if “your” family has moved, you might run across a later marking of dwelling numbers for the neighbors, and be able to tell what “the” house number was.
The street names change too. Ask at the local library and historical center for that area. They may have a folder on “your” family, or know more about the location names.
- Stephen P. Morse’s 1930 Search Engines:
- Using the NARA 1930 ED Finding Aid in One Step
- Obtaining 1930 ED Definitions in One Step
- Obtaining EDs and Streets for the 1910-1940 Censuses in One Step
- Obtaining EDs and Streets for the 1910, 1930, 1940 Censuses in One Step
- Deciphering Codes Appended to 1930 Census in One Step
- Converting between 1920 and 1930 Census EDs in One Step
- Converting between 1930 and 1940 Census EDs in One Step
- Microfilmed Soundex Indexes
- Geographic Descriptions of Census Enumeration Districts
- Enumeration District Maps
- Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts
- 1930 City Directories Available at NARA
Individual census records from 1790 to 1940 are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau.
Publications related to the census data collected from 1790 to 2010 are available at https://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html.
Visit the National Archives Web site to access 1940 Census records—http://1940census.archives.gov.
Decennial census records are confidential for 72 years to protect respondents’ privacy.
Online subscription services are available to access the 1790–1940 census records. Many public libraries provide access to these services free of charge to their patrons.
Contact your local library to inquire if it has subscribed to one of these services.
The Beloit Public Library have Ancestry.com (available in the building only) and HeritageQuest (free access from home in Wisconsin. Other state’s/libraries will usually have a version of HeritageQuest available on their Library Homepage.
(See additional information on 11-28-2017 BLOG posting from Family Tree Magazine article: