Sunday, April 15, 2012

CCC Records in the 1940 Census

If ever there was proof that CCC camps were really nothing more than small towns set down in the forests, fields and parks of the United States, it can be found in the just released United States census data for 1940. For a nice article about the release of the 1940 census data click HERE.

Some 120,000 so-called “enumerators” literally went from one residence to the next, seeking out and speaking with the occupants to document their employment status, their salary, their gender and age, as well as supplemental questions for one in twenty individuals surveyed.  One would imagine that jobs as enumerators were much sought after given that we were still struggling through more than a decade of national economic depression.

Browsing through the scanned records, you’ll be pleased to see that local CCC camps are listed in the record for many counties and towns.  Looking more closely, you might be disappointed that many of the individual camp records are limited solely to the camp staff, military officers and perhaps a handful of CCC enrollees who, for whatever reason, were in the camp at the time the enumerator visited.  I’m at a loss to explain why the individual camp records don’t reflect camp populations of closer to 150 and 200 individuals.  For example, the headcount for camp F-16-A in Gila County, Arizona list just 19 individuals, apparently scattered between the main camp (12 individuals) and side camps at Parker Creek (1 individual, a foreman), 72 Springs (5 individuals) and Superior (1 individual).

One exception is the census roll for CCC Company 1860(V) at Camp Mount Morrison, near Golden, Colorado.  Some resolute individual typed in all the entries for all the enrollees in this camp!  This sort of record will be a boon for researchers in search of information about that company or an individual member and who knows how many other CCC companies have this level of detail in their individual census pages.

A closer look at the lists will reveal where an individual was working in 1935 so in some cases, the camp census rolls will show that an individual was residing in some other CCC camp in 1935.  Also, listed along the top of the sheet, in column 22, is a reference to the WPA and the CCC.  Check it out.  I’ve been using the scanned images at Family Search, which you can access HERE.