Denver Ancestors

Denver Ancestors

Researching your Denver ancestors? In our GenMall we have the eBook, Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity Colorado. Available for only $4.99 from RootsPoint, it’s a 19th century biographical reference tool for anyone researching Denver area ancestors.

Need more resources for those Colorado ancestors? Here’s a few must-have links:


Hispanic Heritage Month 2015

U.S. Army South celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Wikimedia Commons.

Every year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. The history of this month-long celebration is explained on the National Hispanic Heritage Month website.  What began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week was later expanded to a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan. The month honors “the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

Why start the celebrations on the 15th rather than on the 1st of the month? The middle of the month holds special significance for many Latin American countries. September 15th marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico’s Independence Day is on September 16th and Chile’s is the 18th.

The National Hispanic Heritage Month website is a partnership of The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The website includes research resources as well as a calendar of events.

Family historians will be especially interested in the web page honoring Hispanic American Veterans  where you can listen to nine stories from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project archives. The Exhibits and Collections web page includes histories, images and a link to Resources on Hispanic History and Genealogies in the Archives Library Information Center  from the National Archives.

Your Ancestor’s Occupation in the 1940 Census

The 1940 United State Federal Census provides us a snapshot of our family’s work life. Beyond just the typical census question about occupation, the 1940 census asks everyone 14 years old and over the following questions about their job:

1940 United States Federal Census

21. Was this person at work for pay or profit in private or nonemergency Govt. work during the week of March 24-30? (Y or N)

22. If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public Emergency Work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during the week of March 24-30? (Y or N)

If neither:

23. Was this person seeking work? (Y or N)

24. If not seeking work, did he have a job, business, etc.? (Y or N)

For Persons Answering “No” to questions 21-24:

25. Indicate whether engaged in home housework (H), unable to work (U), or other (O).

If “Yes” in Column 21:

26. Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940

If “Yes” in Column 22 or 23:

27. Duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940 – in weeks

Occupation, Industry, and Class of Worker:

28. Occupation

29. Industry

30. Class of worker

31. Number of weeks worked in 1939 (equivalent full-time weeks)

Income in 1939 (12 months ending Dec. 31, 1939):

32. Amount of money, wages, or salary received

33. Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary (Y or N)

Supplemental questions were asked of 5% of the population, including inquiries information about occupations, veteran status, and social security.
The 1940 United States Federal Census does a lot more than show you were your ancestor lived. Take some time this weekend to learn more about their work. Start searching for free

What did your family do in 1940?

5 Facts About Labor Day

Labor Day

Have you given much thought about the history of Labor Day? Your ancestors have been celebrating this holiday since at least 1894. Here’s a few facts about this September holiday.

1. Labor Day observances started in the 19th century. September 5, 1882 to be exact. That first Labor Day planned by the Central Labor Union was held in New York City. In 1884 it was decided that celebrations should be held the first Monday in September as a “workingman’s holiday.” States started observing the day and then in 1894 it was made into a federal holiday.

2. No one is quite sure who the Father of Labor Day is. Some say that Peter J. McGuire who was the cofounder of the American Federation of Labor was the first to suggest the observance. Others point to New York’s Central Labor Union secretary Matthew Maguire as suggesting the day in 1882.

3. It’s the celebration of all of us. According to the website for the US Department of Labor, Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Parades are one way people have historically celebrated the day.

4. It marks the end of wearing white for the year. You’ve probably heard the age old adage to not wear white after Labor Day. Labor Day is the mark of the end of Summer. While no one takes credit for coming up with this fashion rule it’s believed that it was made up by wealthy women after the Civil War to help distinguish certain classes of women. Eventually it was repeated enough by magazines that it became a fashion rule.

5. For many Labor Day meant back to school. While this tradition is not followed by everyone in the country, there might be a historical reason for children to start school after Labor Day. Historically, the school year schedule differed according to the ends to the community but in the 20th century a 180 day schedule became somewhat standardized across the United States with school beginning right after Labor Day and ending in.

(Sources: United States Department of Labor; Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?; Back to school: Why August is the new September