Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Where are Edward and Grace Jung?

Linda, fellow member of the Columbia County Genealogical Society (CCGS), posted this dilemma on the CCGS’s mailing list:

“I am stymied. I know the Jung family lived in NYC or New Jersey in 1940. I have tried to find Grace Jung b. 1901,d. 1970 Teaneck, N.J, Her husband, Edward Jung b. 1899, d. 1952 Hoboken. Both were born in or around NYC. They had 4 children:

  • Katherine b.1920, married William Shaw so she may not show asJung but she is not listed as Shaw either.
  • Edward b. 1922
  • Walter b.1927--- (my husbands father)
  • Charles b. 1930

I know they were there. I tried alternate spellings.... Yung, Young, Sung.  No luck. why am I unable to find them?”

Myself and other members of the group started searching the 1940 looking for this family.  I want to show you why they were so elusive.  Here is the image from  You can see that the image is blurred.  This family’s surname was indexed by as Jerry.

Jung 011940 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, Weehawken Township,Ward 3, enumeration district (ED) 346, sheet 3B, p. 4320 (stamped), household 60, Edward Jung household; digital images, ( : accessed 05 March 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 2353.

Rhonda (another CCGS member) tried FamilySearch and found the family indexed correctly as Jung.  The image on FamilySearch is equally blurry but the indexer figured out the correct name.  Always check another index if you are having a problem finding someone.

Here is another hint. if you have a hard to read image try looking at that page on another site (, FamilySearch, Heritage Quest, Internet Archives, and NARA if you happen to be searching the 1940).  Even though all of these websites start with the same microfilm, they use different digitizing equipment and enhancement techniques so what looks unreadable on one could be perfectly clear on another.

One more thing, if you get stuck like Linda did, ask someone else to take a look. Sometimes that is all it takes.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. If you are sure that your ancestor is in a certain place, you should look at the original document before you write your search off. Using the soundex is also useful. And of course there is also the 'second set of eyes' type of search that is helpful.

  2. Yes. I think sometimes researchers give up too soon and just write it off as "the enumerator must have missed my family."

  3. I've been indexing death certificates so I know how difficult it can be to get them correctly. But, Ancestry's 1940 indexing leaves much to be desired! I've gone through and offered corrections for the people that I know who are indexed incorrectly. The street and road names are terrible -- I've offered corrections on those, too.
    Evidently pages were given to different persons to index. A family enumerated at the bottom of one page will have one surname and the continuation of the family at the top of the next page will have a different surname!

    1. I should add that sometimes you just have to do things the old fashioned way -- reading census records line by line as we used to do before computers!

  4. I had to do that with my grandfather. He isn't listed in the index in 1930 but he is there :)

  5. That is why FamilySearch's index is so much better. You have two indexers and an arbitrator on every entry.

  6. “We used four vendors to key the 1940 Census. Two were located in China and have been involved in Family History record transcription for many years. Another was located in Bangladesh and the fourth in the Philippines.” -- Todd Jensen,, July 2012.

    English is not the first language of these transcribers. Reading old handwritten text is a difficult task even for native English speakers. Therefore, expect some errors. Always check the original document. This cannot be stressed enough.

    1. Perfect example yesterday - 1940 South Carolina, York County, Bullocks Creek, ED 46-14, Image 5 of 25. Starts out okay but then a few lines into the page the transcriber indexes the first name then goes back and indexes the rest of the page. What happened is several people are a line off and transcription has wrong surname, relationship, gender, race, age, and birthplace. What a mess. Ancestry does allow for some corrections to be submitted by the user but several columns are not set up to submit corrections. I submitted this one to Ancestry for review. The family I was looking for was the Davidson and Lucas family. Only by using a broad first name OR last name search would I have been able to find them in Ancestry's index but I used FamilySearch Index where they are indexed correctly. FamilySearch Index has errors in their indexing too but not to the degree of I do like print options at better though.

    2. ARG! I am a FamilySearch indexer and arbitrator. You are right that a few mistakes still slip through but nothing on the scale of Ancestry. Even so, I am still glad to have Ancestry. The problem they had is that they are a PAID service so they had to pay people to index which means they were going to find the cheapest labor. FamilySearch is a FREE site so they rely on volunteers. They are indexing records in every language you can image but natives and fluent speakers are indexing them. FamilySearch has volunteers all over the world :)

  7. I don't even know what to say :( That certainly explains a lot.