United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930 .
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:
|Minnesota||New Hampshire||New Jersey||New York|
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.
The 1930 census includes the following information:
- Full name
- 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
- Whether a military veteran
- Address of spouse or next of kin
How to Use the Record
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 fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. 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.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
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.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
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Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "United States, Census of Merchant Seamen, 1930" Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing "1930 Census of Merchant Seamen." Ancestry.com. www.ancestry.com : 2005.