Monday, April 23, 2012

Digital Picture Fun

It used to be so simple: take pictures and get them developed. Because it wasn't cheap to purchase film and pay for processing the pace of photos coming into our lives was reasonable.

Now those days are over.

With digital cameras we take HUNDREDS of pictures. The new pace of photos is INSANE. And the time suck? Transferring them to the computer and then figuring out what to do with them all? It sucks all right.

The pyramid up there uses the acronym STORE: Shoot, Transfer, Organize, Retrieve, Export.This is easy to do when you stay on top of it all. I'm pretty sure most people don't do this. They end up like me: a bunch of pictures on a photo card or in a zillion files on the computer and we just groan when we think about looking at any of them or trying to organize them properly.

I much prefer going through piles of photographs than looking at them on the computer!

Speaking of looking at things on the computer, the 1940 Census detail is now available to the public on the Internet. The U.S. Government releases the individual detail 72 years after the census is performed (aggregate data comes out as soon as possible because the figures relate to Electoral College votes and House of Representative seats, among other things).

Right now you need to have a pretty good idea of exactly where someone lived in order to find them, specifically where they were living as of April 1940 when the census began. The data is available by "enumeration district" and you pretty much need to search page by page within the enumeration districts pages. Of the ones I've looked through they range anywhere from 1 to 60 pages long.

My dad knows the address where he lived in 1940 so he was easy to find. What was funny was that Dad was listed as a GIRL (one of his older sisters was listed as a boy). My grandmother's name was Theodora; Dad's is Theodore. We guess the census taker heard them as the same name and assumed Dad was a daughter.

We have not been able to find my mom as her family was not listed where we thought they'd be. And since Mom is no longer here to ask my dad has a call in to my mom's older brother to see if he knows where they were living in 1940. New Orleans is just too big to start a random search through each enumeration district. If my uncle has no better information we may just need to wait until they create a searchable database of the data. That is supposed to take up to a year before it's available.

I also looked through all 7 enumeration districts for Petaluma because we thought that was where CPA Boy's grandmother was living. I did not find them (and it's certainly possible I missed them) so we thing they hadn't arrived in Petaluma just yet from Iowa. We know that Grandma lived in Petaluma by the time she was 13 in 1942 because that is when she met Grandpa. We also hope to find his other grandparents in Santa Rosa but we are not sure where they lived in 1940 either.

It all comes down to more time pouring over a computer screen and one can only take so much of that!

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