Getting Ready for 1940: the Todds on Tioga street

This is the first in a series about my preparations for the release of the 1940 census on April 2, 2012.

With no index available at release date, the 1940 census presents some challenges for the genealogist. My great-grandparents, the Todds, will hopefully be the easiest of my ancestors to find. I have an exact street address for them and there is a high likelihood that they were living at that address in 1940.

Todd 1930 census
1930 census

John A. and Olivia R. Todd were living at 2075 E Tioga street in Philadelphia in 1930 according to the census of that year. They were also living there in 1920.

1942 John A. Todd Jr draft card
1942 draft registration

In 1942, John A. Todd, Jr. lists his mother as the “person who will always know your address” on his draft registration card for World War II. She is still at 2075 E. Tioga street.

With an exact address, how do I narrow down my search to one or two enumeration districts for the 1940 census?

Steve Morse has a tool for Obtaining EDs for the 1940 census in one step (Large Cities).  First, I select the state, city and street. That leads to over 40 enumeration districts. I must add cross streets to narrow it down, but I am not that familiar with Philadelphia, so I head over to google maps:

View Larger Map

I add Frankford and Amber and narrow it down to two enumeration districts: 51-1881 and 51-1884. If I add Atlantic, only one enumeration district is returned: 51-1884. I’ve decided to start with that one and if I can’t find them I’ll search for them in the other as well. Further research on their children revealed their eldest, Frank A. Todd, should be in ED 51-1881 so I will be searching that one anyway.

With an exact address and a helpful tool on the internet I was able to narrow my search from a city as large as Philadelphia to a single enumeration district. My other ancestors won’t be as easy and I will detail my preparations for a few of those in later posts.


  1. Hi,

    Steve and I recommend you do one more step in this procedure. When you got down to a single ED # (or if you click on an ED # box), you will see a summary description of the ED, which in large cities will not show any street names. To the right of that description will be a column marked “Details”, and underneath that a link named “view”. If you had clicked on view, it would take you to the actual scan of the ED definition page for that number. The ED definition on the scan would show you, block by block, what is in that particular census district. And each block would show you the street names on the north, east, south, and west on that block. You should find the block within that census district that matches the 2 dimensional arrangement of streets. When you find that, it should give you confidence that you are in the right census district.

    Joel Weintraub
    Dana Point, CA

    1. Thanks for stopping by. You’re right, I missed that last step in my post. Looking at the details of ED 51-1884 I see block 47 is bounded by Frankford, Clarence (the unnamed street in the above map between Tioga & Atlantic), Amber and Tioga. If Google is correct about which side of the street 2075 is on, this will be where my Todds are. Frank Todd was on Coral street a few houses from Tioga street. According to the details on ED 51-1881, he and his family were in block 45 or 46 of that ED. I don’t have the address at hand to check which side of Coral they were on.
      Thanks to Joel, Steve, and David Kehs for this great resource at

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