1940: Todds on Tioga Street and Conrads around the corner

This is part 2. See part 1.

Todd family in 1940 census
Todds on Tioga Street in 1940

With enumeration district 51-1884 in hand, I went searching the 1940 census for my Todds. They were easy to find, showing up on the fourth image. Living with John and Olivia Todd were their son, John A. Todd, Jr. and their daughter Elizabeth Campbell, as well as Elizabeth’s daughter, Honor. I still don’t know who Mr. Campbell was. I had guessed she had been married to a Campbell from her SS-5, but have yet to find him. Great Aunt Bessie later married a Mr. Tilsner.

Emboldened by my success, I sat down to figure out where my Conrads might be in 1940. At first I was not sure, but then I remembered I had two documents that could help: my grandfather’s SS-5 from 1937 and his father’s death certificate from 1942. I knew from my father, born in 1937, that he had lived with his grandfather as a young child. I was in luck. Both listed the address of 2069 Clarence Street.

Off to Google maps, where I found something interesting. The Conrads lived right around the corner from the Todds:

View 1940 Census in a larger map

Now this isn’t unusual by any means, but it was interesting that I had not stumbled across this fact until now.

Conrads in 1940 census image 1
Conrads around the corner on Clarence

Conrads in 1940 census image 2
Conrads around the corner on Clarence continued

Another family found and I did not even need to figure out the enumeration district. Three images beyond the Todds, were the Conrads: Edward and Susan Conrad (John A. Todd’s son-in-law and daughter), their children Doris and Charles, and Edward’s father, Nicholas.

There are two improvements in my mind in 1940 for the census. One is the legibility factor. While I have still come across some poor handwriting, for the most part the letters are crafted in ways that are decipherable to me. We have finally reached modern style handwriting in full. The second is the x with a circle around it to indicate who answered the questions. This is a big help in determining how much credence we should put in those answers. Neighbor Bob might not be as reliable a source on the Smiths as Mrs. Smith would be.

Still, misinformation appears. My great-grandfather was born in Scotland. This is a well-known fact in the family. I was told this as a young child. Every census prior to this one listed his birthplace as Scotland. Certainly his daughter, who answered the questions according to the notation beside her name, knew this. And yet, this is what was recorded by the census taker:

John A Todd in 1940 census
John A. Todd, born in Pennsylvania?

The census provides loads of information and clues, but is by no means a stopping point in research. Reliability is not its strong suit.

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