What can you learn about your ancestors from the census? Let us count the ways with a guide to getting started in census research, including the soon-to-be-released 1930 records.
Erma Schwenk of Allentown, Pa., hid for two days in April 1930 when census enumerators were visiting her neighborhood. She'd lied about her age in the 1920 census and was worried the government would deport her, even though she'd been a naturalized citizen for 20 years. Her paranoia turned into suicide — on April 5 she leaped to her death from the second story of her home.
About the same time, a census enumerator was saving a life in New York City. Morton Kotzen was interviewing tenants of a boarding house on East 110th Street when he smelled gas and traced it to a room occupied by Sam Bianco, a 34-year-old salesman. Kotzen revived the salesman and promptly gathered his personal data to complete the 1930 census form.