United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Group RG 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census
Collection years 1930
Microfilm Publication M1932. 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen. 3 rolls.
Arrangement Arranged by state, then by enumeration district number and page number.
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of a name index and images of the Merchant Seamen schedules from the 1930 U.S. federal census. The index is provided by Ancestry.com and corresponds to NARA publication: M1932: 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen.

The schedules consist of large sheets with rows and columns.

The following chart lists states with registered vessels which are listed in this census:

Alabama California Connecticut Florida
Georgia Illinois Indiana Louisiana
Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan
Minnesota New Hampshire New Jersey New York
Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island
Texas Virginia Washington Wisconsin

Federal census takers were asked to record information about all those who were on a vessel on the census day, which was April 1 for this census. The completed forms were then sent to the Census Office of the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. 

This information pertains to individuals and crew members of vessels on April 1, 1930. 

The U.S. federal census has been taken at the beginning of every decade, beginning in 1790, to apportion the number of representatives a state could send to the House of Representatives. In the absence of a national system of vital registration, many vital statistics and personal questions were asked to provide a statistical profile of the nation and its states.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care taken by the census enumerator. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Collection Content

The 1930 census includes the following information:

  • Full name
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Age (can be used to calculate an approximate birth year)
  • Marital status (single, married, widowed, or divorced)
  • Able to read and write
  • Naturalized citizen or alien
  • If able to speak English
  • Occupation
  • Whether a military veteran
  • Address of spouse or next of kin

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Other identifying information such as age

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name:
fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "State"
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "City or Town" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States.


How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930" Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing "1930 Census of Merchant Seamen." Ancestry.com. www.ancestry.com : 2005. NARA microfilm publication T626. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930.