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1940 Census


The 1940 census is a fascinating one for all the information that it contains. During this census the government was trying get a statistical idea of how the Depression had affected people and what the current state of the nation was. In addition to asking for the names and ages of each resident and the relationships of the occupants of a house, the census also asked:


  • Where the resident was born.

  • Where the resident lived in March of 1935.

  • Whether the resident had been looking for work and how long they had been looking for work.

  • Whether the resident had worked in government supported work.

  • How many hours the resident had worked the previous week.

  • What the resident earned the previous year and how many weeks the resident had worked.

  • If an adult resident was not seeking work, whether the resident was unable to work, was a housekeeper or student.

  • What the value of the resident's home was or the amount of rent paid.


For the interested historian, this census reveals information about the stability of the locale, the cost of living and the types of employment available. There were still some men employed as travelling salesmen, but not as many. One very interesting occupation I noticed was a woman employed as a key card operator. The census does not indicate where she worked as a key card operator, but key card operators worked in insurance companies and in accounting departments of large stores, newspapers or railroads. I have included a link explaining the uses of the key card machine. In 1920 many people in FG were employed by the heavy industries such as the furnace foundries and the washing machine manufacturers, but those concerns were not as heavily represented in 1940. More men were involved in work associated with automobiles and FG even had a gas station at the corner of Towanda and Washington.


It was also interesting to note that although many household servants were paid as little as $4.00 a week, the women who worked at the Lucy Orme Morgan School for Girls were paid about $14.00 a week. This was a charitable concern run by citizens of Bloomington and several men from FG sat on the board. The highest paid servant in FG was James Barker, a butler, who worked at 1924 Oakland. He was the only butler noted as living and working in FG. One maid in a home was also a student. National department stores such as Penney's, Sears and Montgomery Wards had opened stores in Bloomington. A handful of homes were two income homes where the husband and wife both worked outside the home. Some homes had more than one income because several adult children still lived at home and worked. 


The data for this collection is too large to fit on this website, so I have created links to PDF documents.  Just click on the buttons below to look at the different streets.



Falkingham, George C 38 (H4) Isabelle 34 (H4)\\

slsmn washing machine co\\

52 - $2000\\

sc, 50 



Above is a sample entry. The number is the house number and each person's name is followed by their age and level of education C - college, H- High School, G - Grade school and grade level. The next column has the employment of the person or people who were employed in the household and their relationship to the head of the house if it is not wife or child. The next column has the number of weeks the person was employed during the prior year and the total earnings for the year, if they received a salary. The final column will have the name of the place the family lived in 1935 or the designation "sc" for same city or "sh" for same house as well as the amount of rent paid or the value of the residence if the occupants owned the house.


It is very unfortunate, but I did not find the 1940 records for the majority of Fairview Street. I will also mention that there were several areas of the neighborhood where the census had errors that I tried to correct with the city directory records. So, once again, if you have information about your house, please share it with me!

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These buttons have additional information about the homes, occupations or people in Founder's Grove

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