Bennett Family in the 1940 Census

Louise, Fred & Helen "Goldie" Roesner

This past week I continued to browse through the recently released 1940 census on This time I was looking for my husband’s side of the family.

I found Joe’s mother Louise with her family right away. I knew they were probably living in Celina, Jefferson Township, Mercer County, Ohio, but I did not know which ward. I chose a section of town west of Livingston Street and luckily made the right choice.

The Edward Roesner family was right there on line 33, the page 1A, Ward 3, enumeration district (ED) 54-18. They lived at 217 Echo Avenue and owned their home which was valued at $5000. The family consisted of Edward, head, 44; Helen, wife, 34; Frederick, son, 17; and Louise, daughter, 17, all born in Ohio. They lived in the same house in 1935. Ed’s occupation was watchman for a steam railroad and he was employed 52 weeks during 1939, and earned $1300.

Edward Roesner household, 1940 US Census, Mercer Co., Oh, Celina, Ward 3, ED 54-18, sheet 1A, line 33.

I also located Joe’s grandfather Vermont H. Bennett and his family. They were living in Yorkshire, Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio, ED 19-39, sheet 2B, line 44. They owned their home which was valued at $700. The family consisted of Vermont H., head, 53; M. Evelyn, wife, 50; and Helen, daughter, 13. Vermont and Helen were both born in Ohio and living in the same house in 1935. His wife Evelyn was born in Nebraska and living in Grand Junction, Mesa, Colorado, in 1935. Vermont’s first wife, Lura (Monroe), died in 1935 and he had remarried Mattie Evelyn (Yeaton) Bennett. Evelyn was the widow of Vermont’s brother Delaware. Vermont’s occupation was postmaster of a rural post office. He worked 52 weeks during 1939 and earned $690.

Vermont H Bennett household, 1940 US Census, Darke Co., Oh, Yorkshire, ED 19-39, sheet 2B, line 44.

Joe’s father Dwight, Vermont’s son, was not listed in the Vermont Bennett household and I do not know where to look for him.

Joe had two great-grandmothers living in 1940, Sarah (Cain) Monroe and Aretha (Green) Lee.

Sarah (Cain) Monroe, the widow of James Francis Monroe, was living in the Roy Grunden household, Franklin Township, Mercer County, ED 54-8, sheet 1A, line 11. The household consisted of Roy Grunden, head, 53; Stella, wife, 42; Jimmie, son, 17; Virginia, daughter, 12; Gail, son, 2; Sarah Monroe, mother-in-law, 80, widow, born in Indiana. The rest of the family members were born in Ohio. Roy was an assembler in an agricultural implement factory, worked 26 weeks in 1939 and made $350.

Roy Grunden household, 1940 US Census, Mercer Co., Oh, Franklin Twp, ED 54-8, sheet 1A, line 11.

I looked through several areas of Paulding County, northern Van Wert County, and the Monroeville, Indiana, area, but I could not locate Aretha Lee. I’ll probably just have to wait until the 1940 census is indexed to find Dwight and Aretha.

Some thoughts and comments while looking through 1940 census pages: Good penmanship must not have been a requirement for the position of census taker. Why did the Census Bureau furnish some enumerators with pens that left ink blotches in the middle of a name? One enumerator left blank lines at the bottom of most sheets so the next household could be started on a new sheet. Nice for indexing, but they probably weren’t supposed to do that. Another census taker started out writing the surname of every single person on every line. That lasted for about two sheets.

This past week I also indexed 7 batches of the 1940 census, sheets from Kansas and Franklin County, Ohio. Yes, Ohio is now up for indexing. It would be fun to index Mercer and Van Wert Counties.



Tombstone Tuesday—Johann Jacob Dietrich

Johann Jacob Dietrich, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Johann Jacob Dietrich, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed Hier ruhet in Gott Johann Jacob Dietrich, geb. den 18 Deb. 1786, gest, den 26 April 1866, alt 79 Jahr 4 Monat & 8 Tag. (Here rests in God Johann Jacob Dietrich, born the 18 December 1786, died the 26 April 1866, age 79 years, 4 months 8 days.)

According to Zion’s Family Register Johann Jacob Dietrich was born 18 December 1786 in Neustadt, Grossherzogthum, Hessen Darmstadt. He was baptized 20 December of the same year. He married Maria Katharina Werner on 23 October 1825. They immigrated to America in 1836 and resided 18 months in Zoar, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. They came to the Schumm area 19 May 1838.

Johann Jacob Dietrich’s death and burial, as recorded in Zion’s records: Johann Jacob Dietrich was born 18 December 1786 and died 26 April 1866 at 4:00 in the morning of typhoid. He was buried on April 17.  He was 79 years, 4 months and 8 days.

Zion’s Family Register also names the children of Johann Jacob and Maria Katharina Dietrich:

Margaretha Dietrich, born 6 November 1826.
Johann Adam Dietrich, born 27 January 1828.
Maria Katharina Dietrich, born 6 April 1832.
Andreas Dietrich, born 28 March 1843.

Andreas Dietrich was featured in last week’s Tombstone Tuesday.

Browsing the 1940 Census

Some of the first relatives I located in the 1940 census, Bob & Bernice Dudgeon, 2nd from left.

I’m sure everyone knows by now that the 1940 US census was released this past Monday, 2 April.  Many of us were eagerly awaiting that day but, as you probably also heard, things did not go as planned.

There were over 22.5 million hits on the NARA website within three hours as people tried to get a peek at the images. Most people, myself included, never got to view the 1940 census on the NARA website on Monday. Here is how the first part of this week went for me:

Monday, 7:25 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, I read on Facebook that has a few 1940 census images available for viewing. Immediately I go to, killing time until the National Archives releases the complete census at 9:00 a.m.

Ancestry’s list includes about ten US states and territories and Indiana is one of them. Yes! Indiana is one of the states I want to search.

The Ancestry website works smoothly and the images load quickly. The areas are broken down by state, then county, then township. It is easy to find a township and I do not even need the enumeration district numbers that I had looked up a few days before. However, the 1940 census is not yet indexed, so I browse through the names on each sheet of a particular township. That goes fairly quickly.

One of my goals is to locate where my three great-grandmothers were living in 1940. Pearl Brewster and her husband Philip lived on a farm in Jefferson Township, Adams County, at the time Philip passed away in 1935. I begin searching through the 18 sheets of Jefferson Township.

By 7:41 I see names that I recognize. Right there, on sheet 1, is Robert Dudgeon and his family. Robert’s name is on line 29, too! A person listed on line 29 answered supplemental questions. How lucky could I get? A relative that I remember on line 29 of sheet one! Robert’s wife Bernice was a daughter of Pearl Brewster. I must be getting close. I continue on.

I find what I am looking for on sheet 14, line 80. I am elated. My great-grandmother Pearl Brewster was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Arthur & Dorothy Weaver.

As I search through Jefferson Township I see the names of other relatives and acquaintances that I knew or have heard of. Some are still around today. Some of them:

Flora Caffee with granddaughter Betty Myers (ages 75 & 14)
Conrad & Emma Heffner (ages 73 & 67)
Harley & Ella Reef (ages 57 & 47) with daughters Naomi & Imogene (ages 23 & 21)
Ralph & Alpha Derrickson (ages 44 & 42) with children Ralph, Alvin, William (ages 15, 12 & 2)
Vic & Chloe Bollenbacher (ages 36 & 34) with children Althea & Olen (ages 9 & 4)
Theodore & Hazel Brewster (ages 38 & 32) with children Mary, Virginia, Jerry & Keith (ages 10, 5, 3, & 1)

At 8:59 a.m. I go over to the website to see how their website works and to browse Mercer and Van Wert Counties in Ohio. Like most others trying to access the census on their website I get nowhere. Nothing is loading. I try off and on until noon and then give up. I would have to view my Ohio counties another day.

By now I need to get away from the madness and get some fresh air. It is a nice sunny day so I pack up my cameras and go over to Schumm Cemetery and take a photo of every tombstone there. It turns out to be a nice quiet, peaceful, tech-free afternoon.

Tuesday, 5:32 a.m.: The NARA website is now working well and I can view the census images. now has Ohio! Too bad I have to go to work today. At lunch I browse Mercer and Van Wert Counties and locate my parents and my other two great-grandmothers. I note the pages and download them later that evening at home.

At 9:06 p.m. Tuesday I decide to try my hand at indexing the 1940 census. I read that some had already begun indexing Monday evening. Last week I downloaded the indexing program and read the indexing tutorial. Although I have never indexed before I am ready to give it a try. I download a census page from Kansas and I index the page in about ½ hour. This is fun! It is not difficult at all. And I feel good about helping index the census. I encourage others to try their hand at indexing so we will soon have it completed. Learn more about indexing the 1940 census at the 1940 US Census Community Project.

Several websites now have free access to the 1940 US census. These include,, and, and, which has the complete set of 1940 census image from the NARA, The non-NARA websites may not currently have all of the images but will have them all soon. I have had the most success with

Here are the highlights of two households from Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, 1940 US Census, from

Arthur Weaver household, sheet 7B, Stubes [?] Road, 136th house visited, line 76; Arthur, head, age 26; Dorothy, wife, 24; Myrna, daughter, 3; Arthur, son, 1; Pearl Brewster, mother, 58. Owned their home, value of $500, lived on a farm; highest level of education: Arthur H4, Dorothy H1, Pearl 8 [I assume H=high school]; they lived in the same house in 1935; Arthur worked 52 weeks in 1939 with an income of $1200.

Arthur Weaver household, line 76, 1940 US Census, Jefferson Twp, Adams Co, Ind, p 7B

The “x” by Dorothy’s name indicates that she gave the information to the census taker. She was the informant.  The 1940 census also asked where the persons were living in 1935. This was to determine how much families moved during the Great Depression.

Robert Dudgeon household: sheet 1A, Boze [?] Road, 8th house visited, line 29; Robert Dudgeon, head, age 36; Bernice, wife, 32, Richard, son, 5; rented home w/monthly rent of $10; lived on a farm; highest level of education for Robert and Bernice was 8th grade; Robert’s supplemental questions: his father was born in Indiana; their mother tongue was English; he did not have a Social Security Number; usual occupation was farmer.

Robert Dudgeon household, line 29, 1940 US Census, Jefferson Twp, Adams Co, Ind, p 1A

In Ohio, great-grandmother Christine (Rueck) Miller was living with the Reefs in Mercer County and great-grandmother Elizabeth (Schinnerer) Scaer was living with son Oscar Scaer in Van Wert County. My parents were on the farms they still own today.

Elizabeth Scaer, line 23; CL Schumm family, line 27, 1940 US Census, Willshire Twp, Van Wert Co, Ohio, p 8A

Carl Miller household, line 38, 1940 census, Blackcreek Twp, Mercer Co, Ohio, p 8A

Carl Miller household continued, 1940 Census, Blackcreek Twp, Mercer Co, Ohio, p 8B

My aunt Ruth was not in the Miller household. She was probably away at college.

Wavil Reef household, line 64, 1940 Census, Blackcreek Twp, Mercer Co, Ohio, p 8B. Christina Miller line 66.

Here are some statistics about the release of the 1940 census on 2 April 2012:

  • There are 18 Terabytes of hosted data (1 Terabyte=1000 GB. The entire printed collection of the Library of Congress is approximately 10 Terabytes.)
  • Day 1
    • 22.5 million hits in the first 3 hours
    • 100,000+ requests/minute during the day
    • 25,000+ requests/minute during night
    • 120+ x-large cloud servers
    • 1,000 news articles written
  • Day 2:
    • 40.1 million hits during peak 3 hour period
    •  200,000+ requests/minute during day
    • 25,000+ requests/minute during night
    • 180+ 4X-large cloud servers
    • 250,000+ people spent 10+ min on site generating 4.2Million+ page views

Source:, accessed 4 Apr 2012.

As you can see, I am not the only one interested in viewing the 1940 census!


Tombstone Tuesday–Andreas Dietrich

Andreas Dietrich, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio

This is the tombstone of Andreas Dietrich, located in row 4 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed: Andreas, son of J. and C. Dietrich, died 10 Oct 1846, aged 3 years, 6 months, 12 days.

His death is the 5th death recorded in the Schumm church records: Andreas Dietrich, age 3 years, 6 months, 12 days, died 10 October 1846.

According to Zion’s Family Register, also in the church records, Andreas Dietrich was born 28 March 1843, the son of Johann Jacob and Maria Katharina (Werner) Dietrich.

Andreas was likely born in Van Wert County because it appears the family moved to the Schumm area in 1838.

There are very few families listed in Zion’s Family Register and fortunately the Johann Jacob Dietrich family is among them.

Anticipating the 1940 Census

1940 US Federal Census Form

Something BIG will happen Monday. Something genealogists all across the country have been eagerly awaiting for 10 years.

At 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, April 2nd, nearly every genealogist in America will be on the Internet to view the 1940 US Federal Census for the first time.

The digitized 1940 Census will be released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Monday and will be made available for viewing on the special NARA 1940 Census website free of charge.

Census enumerations can be released to the public 72 years after the enumeration. There hasn’t been this much excitement in the genealogy world since the 1930 census was released on 1 April 2002.

The US Census Bureau has some interesting facts about the 1940 census. This census was taken near the end of the Great Depression but before our entry into World War II. It was the only census taken during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

There were a total of 81 questions asked in the 1940 Census: 34 concerning population, 31 pertaining to housing and 16 supplemental population questions asked of 5% of the people.

There were some new questions asked in 1940: where was their residence five years earlier, their income, the highest level of school completed, unemployment history, who was the informant. Some of the questions were added to measure the effects of the Great Depression.

It was also the first census to ask a random sample of the population (about 1 in 20) an extra set of more detailed questions. These questions included birth place of mother and father, mother tongue, veteran status, occupation, industry, class of worker, age at first marriage, number of children born, and others.

Census enumerators were told to visit every house, building, tent, cabin, hut or any other place in which a person might be living. During the visit enumerators interviewed residents and recorded answers in a portfolio-sized book.

Initially, searching for people in the 1940 census will be challenging and will require a little homework beforehand. The images released by the NARA on Monday do not have a name index. In this digital age we are spoiled. We can go to or or Heritage Quest and search for names in any census because all censuses released thus far have been indexed.

Do not despair. The 1940 census will soon be indexed. Soon after its release thousands of volunteers will begin work to index the more than 132 million people enumerated in 1940. But it will take a few months for the indexing to be complete. Information about indexing is on the Community 1940 US Census Project.

In the meantime, how will you find someone in the un-indexed 1940 census? To locate someone you will need to know the enumeration district (ED) in which they were living. The enumeration district is an administrative division of a particular county or township for the purposes of census-taking. You may be able to determine the ED ahead of time if you know the person’s address in 1940. If they didn’t move around you can probably use their 1930 address or their 1930 ED.

Steve Morse has devoted a portion of his website to help determined enumeration districts. I used his Unified 1940 Census ED Finder to determine the EDs of my Miller and Schumm relatives and some nearby areas. To the best of my knowledge the following will be the enumeration districts for these areas. I assume that once I get to the specific ED I will scroll through the pages, the way we used to look through microfilm, before indexing. I will be searching mainly rural areas. Determining the ED in a city is a little different.

Mercer County, Ohio, Roll 3114:
Black Creek Township & part of Chattanooga: ED 54-1 (pop. 886)
Dublin Township, Rockford: ED 54-5 (pop. 1066)
Dublin Township (outside Rockford): ED 54-6 (pop. 1018)
Liberty Township & part of Chattanooga: ED 54-22 (pop. 1194)

Van Wert County, Ohio, Roll 3163:
Willshire Township (outside Willshire & Wren villages): ED 81-28 (pop. 997)
Willshire Village: ED 81-26 (pop. 513)

Adams County, Indiana: Roll 1024:
Jefferson Township: ED 1-4 (pop. 700)
Geneva: ED 1-20 (pop. 966)
Wabash Township (outside Berne & Geneva): ED 1-21 (pop. 1271)

The NARA also has 1940 Census Maps to determine enumeration district numbers. Enter in the search box: 1940 census maps + county + state. (e.g. 1940 Census Maps Mercer Ohio)

Who will I be looking for in the 1940 census on Monday? Most of the ancestors I am seeking were long deceased by 1940 but it will be interesting to view information about people I remember and know. And it will be interesting to see how they answered the census questions.

I hope to locate the household of my parents, grandparents and some of my great-grandparents. All of my grandparents were living in 1940 as well as three of my great-grandparents. Great-grandmothers Christina (Rueck) Miller, Pearl (Reid) Brewster, Lizzie (Schinnerer) Scaer would have been enumerated that year. I believe two of them were living with their children.

For additional information about the 1940 US Census visit NARA 1940 Census Records, 1940 U.S. Federal Census and Family Tree Magazine’s census article.

According to Dick Eastman this census will be the first to use cloud computing in order to handle the expected sudden increase in workload of the servers during the first few days. The servers at will actually be a collection of hundreds of servers in the cloud.

I hope they are ready for all the Internet traffic at 9:00 this coming Monday morning. Look out! Here we come!