I did my first 1940 census search on April 3 using the National Archives website (http://1940census.archives.gov/). The census is not indexed by names and has to be searched by enumeration district. Then you have to scroll through the photos of each page to look for family (or whoever you're looking for). It took some time to find who I was looking for . . . my grandparents, Hilliard and Annie Jowers, and my daddy, Homer Jowers and his siblings. While it wasn't easy, I did find all but two brothers!
I looked for the family first in Leonia Church Enumeration District, Holmes County, Florida, which is where they lived in 1930. They weren't there in 1940. Then I scrolled through all the census records for Holmes County and some records for Walton County. Being unsuccessful, I had to do some more thinking. Cousin Edgar had mentioned to me one time that the family moved back and forth across the state line between Florida and Alabama. I also remembered my daddy joined the Navy in 1943 and his address was a Hartford, AL address. So, I looked there. I found them in Geneva County outside of (probably) tiny Hartford. Let me tell you, I was so excited to find them on the census. Sometime between 1933 and 1935 they moved just across the state line to Alabama. (Will explain how I know this later in the post.)
Here is what I found out from the census. My grandparents rented their home and lived in a rural area. Hilliard E. Jowers was listed as 59 years old, a working farmer born in Alabama who completed 5th grade. He is listed as #57 on the Farm Schedule (another census record). Annie (Gilley) Jowers was 48 years old and working in the home. She was born in Alabama and completed 5th grade in school.There is no indication who gave the information to the census taker.
Here are the children living with them:
Mozell (Mesell on census), age 23 years, completed 8th grade, born in Alabama
Homer, age 15 years, attended school, completed 7th grade, born in Florida
Gladys, age 13 years, attended school, completed 6th grade, born in Florida
Harmon, age 11 years, attended school, completed 4th grade, born in Florida
Era, age 7 years, attended school, completed 1st grade, born in Florida
Lutrell, age 4 years, did not attend school, born in Alabama
Here's how I know they moved to Alabama sometime between 1933 and April 1, 1935. Era Jowers was born in January, 1933, in Florida. The census recorded where the family was living on April 1, 1935. . . rural Geneva County, Alabama. That information narrows the move to between 1933 after Aunt Era's birth to before April 1, 1935, the date the census asked about.
I also looked in Enumeration District to see if I could find any other family member, and I found my Aunt Voncile, her husband, and oldest child on the very next page. They were living nearby. Here is their information:
Beechum Bolin, age 21 years, 3rd grade highest grade completed born in Alabama, lived in a rural area, and was a farmhand, lived in rural Geneva County, AL in 1935
Voncile (Jowers) Bolin, age 18 years, 7th grade highest grade completed, born in Florida, worked in the home, no listing of where she lived in 1935 (but it was most likely with her parents in rural Geneva County, AL
Lavona (Leevon), daughter, age 8 months, No place of birth listed
I did look for my uncles, Hubert and Henry, but couldn't find them. After spending several hours searching, I decided I'll just have to wait until Ancestry or FamilySearch has their indexing of records completed. Not knowing where they were living would make a continued search more time-consuming.
So . . . here my found family is in black and white on the 1940 census.
|Hilliard and Annie Gilley Jowers and children in the 1940 US Population Census|
|Beechum and Voncile Jowers Bolin and child in the 1940 US Population Census|