Food History in the 1940 Census

Great excitement has been percolating through genealogy circles, not only with the release of the 1940 census at all, but by the fact that it’s being released by the government digitally for free. Predictably the first day of access didn’t go well. (Any new web release genealogists have been waiting for is always totally swamped the first day, which is why I usually give it a couple of months to cool off before I make a trip there.) With all that action they don’t another group of people excited to visit the information, but I’m going to pass along the tip to historic foodies anyway.

The 1940 census had what in recent census taking has been called a “long form” with some questions that will be of great interest to historic foodways researchers and historians of all types.  (I hope that makes you feel guilty if you didn’t fully fill out your census information, you were losing up some future historians day.)

For the food history take on the census, see this great write up:

For the complete list of questions they are talking about see the list, pay particular attention to questions 14-22 and when the initial wave of interest in the census calms down check out your area to see the kind of responses the questions generated.

Find the 1940 census online here: