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20 June 2014

Use a Map as a Memory Prompt

I've been looking at the 1900-1940 US census enumeration district maps that were recently released on FamilySearch. When I located the maps for where I grew up I realized that the maps would be  great way to start a conversation. For the rural area where I grew up, I was trying to think who lived in what house. The only problem for me was that my memory doesn't go back to 1940.

But printing out a map for where your relative grew up or lives could be a great way to jog their memory.


  1. While reading the 1930 and 1940 census in my rural home area, I can visualize the houses as I mentally ride down the country roads! We lived on a road that was the line for the county Beats (Districts). Families on the North side of the road were enumerated in different ED's from those on the S side. I've seen some census maps from NARA, but didn't realize FamilySearch had them too. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I had not thought of doing this before. But, looking at the 1940 maps brings back many memories of the community where I grew up. I can not wait to show this to my brother and go over it and see if he remembers some of the people and houses that I have forgotten. If a road and house are not on this map, does that indicate that the person was not enumerated? I was looking forward to the 1940 census to find information about someone, but they were not listed and their house was not on the map. Thanks for the great memory jogger - I am posting a link to your blog on my website.

    1. I don't think the lack of a road or a house on the map means the residents of that location were not enumerated. The maps were marked with enumeration district boundaries and that was their real purpose-to show where those lines were at. I don't think they were used as a "check off" of sorts.