Saturday, April 7, 2012

1940 Census ~ Handler Family in Akron, Ohio

On Monday, April 2, 2012, the 1940 US Census was released with all images made public at the National Archives 1940 Census site. However, there were millions of genealogists trying to access the site and very few were able to retrieve any census images that morning. (NARA reported 22.5 million "hits" in the first three hours!) The folks working on the NARA website worked through the day and night to bring on more computer servers in order to handle the demand. Even though on Tuesday, the site had even more "hits," it was ready and I was able to access images for Akron, Summit County, Ohio. I had to know the E.D. (enumeration district) of 89-70 in order to find Rhodes Avenue where I knew the Handler family lived. 23 images in, I found them!

1940 U.S. Census, Akron, Summit, Ohio, Roll T627_3175, E.D. 89-70,
page 12A, lines 5-11, household of Joe Handler
Members of the Handler family lived at 553 and/or 557 Rhodes Avenue in Akron, Ohio, for decades. Now, the 1930 US Census for the Handler Family indicates that Joe Handler owned his home at 553 Rhodes Avenue, but this census record indicates that he rented, and paid $22 monthly in rent. (Not sure of the accuracy here, though it's believed that he had always owned his house.)

Below are close up images of the Handler family's lines from the above census.

Detail from 1940 U.S. Census, Joe Handler family

Here is Joe, wife Lena, and children, Margaret, Belle, Alfred, Louis, and Harry. (Oldest brother Arthur had married several years earlier and without an address, I haven't tried to look for him yet.) A full index will be available within 6-9 months at the NARA site and and (being completed by volunteers), but earlier at some of the other websites: and

Some interesting features of this census include:

Highest grade of school completed: Joe - one year and Lina - four years. (I've noticed that school completion for immigrants are quite low. I'm not sure if it's because it was hard to determine an equivalent in the U.S. or if they really had very little schooling.)
Margaret, Belle, and Louis had completed four years of high school (H-4). (In fact, I believe that Louis was in his first year of college at this time.)
Alfred had two years of high school (H-2).
Harry completed school through grade 8.

In addition to birth location, this census indicates where the person lived five years previously, which, for the Handler family, was in the same house.

More detail from 1940 U.S. Census, Joe Handler family

The 1940 U.S. Census also provides additional information about employment:
Joe worked 40 hours in the previous week. His occupation was "Industrial Salvage" and industry "Own Truck." The far right column indicates that he earned more than $50 outside of wages or salary.

Lena worked in Home Housework (H). Margaret and Belle were seeking work (Yes in the third column), yet both sisters are listed as having an occupation of Clerk in a Department Store. They each worked two weeks and made $28 during 1939.

Alfred worked as a Stock Clerk in a Wholesale Cigar Store for 50 weeks and made $850 in 1939.

Louis and Harry are both listed as students (S) and Louis is also listed as a Stock Clerk in a Wholesale Cigar Store. Perhaps he worked there part-time?

See a family portrait taken circa 1941-1942.

One significant item to be remembered about the 1940 census is that it was the last one in which many were enumerated, as so many fought and died serving in World War II, as Alfred and Louis Handler did.

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