Updated Immigrant Census Form (1940 added)

For those unaware, this site has a set of genealogy forms that you can fill out on a computer, or print out to be filled out by hand. I find this is a great way to get started with genealogy, and these forms are also helpful for sending out to relatives to be filled out and returned. These forms are designed to work together in useful ways. One form that is particularly useful is the US Immigrant Census Form, which was released all the way back in 2011. This form has fields for the useful genealogy information that you can extract from US Census records during the critical turn-of-the-century period of mass immigration to the US. When the original form was created, the 1940 Census had not yet been released, so it only covered the censuses between 1880 and 1930. This updated form adds a column for 1940.

B&F US Immigrant Census Form v2
B&F US Immigrant Census Form v2

It’s said that perfect is the enemy of the good. In this case my need to make a perfect update to the Immigrant Census Form delayed it well beyond when it should have been done. Initially the delay was due to not having the software I used for the original forms. Once I came up with different programs to use, I had trouble getting the forms to be editable on the computer, and put it aside. Recently I realized that the problem I was having (that non-Adobe PDF editors did not handle the text properly) was not likely to be fixed, probably ever, and there was no need to wait any longer. While I used to recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader for filling out the forms, it now seems that Reader is the only program that properly displays the text in the forms. So it’s no longer a recommendation, but a requirement.

Again, the primary difference with this version of the form is that it includes fields for the 1940 US Census. Many of the fields on earlier censuses were only asked in the supplemental questions in 1940 (only asked of two people per page), so I’ve shaded those fields in a light gray. If you want to familiarize yourself with the 1940 US Census, and see the supplemental questions, the US Census Bureau has a scan online of a blank original census form you can view, and the US National Archives has a nice re-typeset page of the original questionnaire headers that makes it easier to see all the column headers in less space.

So if you haven’t seen all the forms in the B&F Forms System, then please go check them out. If you want to check out the updates US Immigrant Census Form, you can download it here. If you have questions, you can ask them in the comments below.

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