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You may or may not be aware that this week the National Archives posted online the 3.8 million pages that made up the 1940 census. They aren't yet searchable by name, but they are browsable by "enumeration district." This means that if you don't mind waiting for huge images to load, you can in essence wander from street to street and find out all manner of information about the people who lived there 72 years ago.
Since I've had a little bit of experience with census digging (I did a lot of my family's geneaology back in the early 2000s, before I began some other project that soon sucked up all my free time), I took a few minutes and found the links to the five enumeration districts that cover Near Southeast, along with the map that shows their locations.
So, if you live in Capitol Quarter, ED 204 covers you (from 2nd to 5th and Virginia to M). ED 203 goes east from 5th to 11th, while ED 205 includes all the blocks between 2nd and South Capitol north of M, for you Velocity/Onyx/CHT/Capitol Yards folks. ED 206 goes from M to the Waterfront and over to what's now the WASA site, while ED 207 covers the Navy Yard, which at that time ran from New Jersey Avenue to 11th. (It's actually funny how those boundaries from 72 years ago do a pretty good job of reflecting how the neighborhood's various sub-areas are still seen today.)
This was more than 10 years before the Cappers were built, but the neighborhood wasn't exactly a rich enclave. Plus, not many houses that were standing in 1940 remain in existence today, so only a few people will get the fun of seeing who actually lived in their house back then. But I thought one or two people might enjoy wandering through the many pages to get a feel for the people who lived in Near Southeast as World War II was looming. (You'll probably want to use the Questions Asked page to guide you across the columns. Note that the street name is written vertically in the first column, with the house number next. And the pages don't always perfectly follow the grid, so you may need to page through much of the ED to find the spot you're looking for. Plus, the image display is really cruddy right now, so using the option to download an entire ED and then browsing with the image viewer on your own computer might be preferable.)
Please post in the comments anything interesting you find--you'll make an old lady historian very happy.
(And I guess I might have to dig up the same information for earlier censuses. Not tonight.)
PS: If you don't live in one of these EDs, you can wander through the city map to find yours.
Comments (4)
 
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JD says: (4/4/12 9:20 PM)
And I should mention that I've already done this for my own outside-the-boundaries residence. Our typical Capitol Hill rowhouse was home to a family of three--plus three lodgers!


Shogungts says: (4/5/12 12:47 AM)
Thanks for posting this JD, I live in a small condo building (11 units) across from Garfield park (also just outside of your blog's area) and unfortunately there does not appear to be a way to map the answers to specific units in our building (especially since there were only 8 units on the survey), but there were some interesting answers. Highlights include everyone renting and paying $31 dollars a month and my favorite occupation was 'salad girl' at a restaurant.

Thanks again for providing that map the ED codes as I was getting very frustrated trying to load the huge DC images and sort through them.


crice says: (4/5/12 11:03 AM)
Thanks for posting this information on enumeration districts. It's a real time saver in digging into these records.

Ancestry.com is hosting the 1940 Census information and allowing free access through April 10. I found their site at ancestry.com/1940-census to be a bit friendlier and quicker than 1940census.archives.gov.

I also found stevemorse.org/census/unified.html to be a useful tool for figuring out enumeration districts and accessing the archived information.



stax says: (4/10/12 11:28 AM)
These glimpses into the past are fascinating. I have looked at the censuses for some of the Capitol Quarter blocks back to 1880. I have always though the the neighborhood was occupied by Navy Yard employees when employment peaked there around WWI, but that does not seem to be the case. Most of the residents were African American renters and the predominant occupations were "washerwoman," domestic servant, and laborer.

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City Government Data for Near Southeast Records added or updated recently displayed here; click the "archive" links to see additional detail and older records. All data from DC Government databases and RSS feeds. JDLand takes no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. (read CapStat disclaimer). Data is retrieved daily.

Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/08/14
400 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/08/14
1000 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/05/14
300 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY /  09/03/14
900 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/03/14
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT /  09/03/14
1200 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/02/14
200 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  09/02/14
300 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  09/02/14
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT /  09/01/14
300 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/31/14
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/31/14
300 B/O I ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT /  08/30/14
1400 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT /  08/29/14
300 B/O WATER ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT /  08/27/14
3RD ST SE AND WATER ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/26/14
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/25/14
400 B/O M ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT /  08/23/14

Active Public Space Permits Archive  
1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; excavation  
 02/10/14
to
02/09/15
1331 4TH ST SE    Forest City Forest City 
Issued
excavation; new  
 01/10/14
to
02/10/15
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    WASHINGTON GAS 
Issued
excavation; new  
 07/28/14
to
09/26/14
301 TINGEY ST SE    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
Issued
new  
 03/21/12
to
11/27/14

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE   
09/03/14 
TOLL DC LP / MILLENNIUM POOL
SP1400019 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL STAINLESS STEEL POOL ON ROOFTOP OF THE 13-FLOOR APARTMENT BUILDING.
1200 1ST ST SE   
09/05/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / FVI2020
EX1400033 / CONSTRUCTION
EXCAVATION SITE GRADING ONLY
1020 3RD ST SE   
09/03/14 
MAYIAK LLC / SMK AND ASSOCIATES LLC
B1411577 / CONSTRUCTION
REPAIR OR REPLACE IN KIND KITCHEN CABINETS TILE ON KITCHEN FLOORS. REPLACE FLOORS THROUGHOUT REPLACE BATHROOM VANITY TOILET TUB . PAINT EXTERIOR WINDOW LEDGES AND FRONT PORCH
1212 4TH ST SE   
09/09/14 
FC 1212 LLC /
FB1400131 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/09/14 
FC 1212 LLC / WENDELL D. NIXON
M1403160 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1331 4TH ST SE   
09/09/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA /
P1407907 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1103 9TH ST SE   
09/16/14 
ICP PARTNERS POTOMAC 810 LLC / FRANKLIN T GAINES
P1408621 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1220 12TH ST SE   
09/18/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / GREGORY E LIGON
E1409179 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / JAMES C. GYURAS
E1409204 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / JAMES C. GYURAS
E1409203 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1200 13TH ST SE   
09/03/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT COMPANY / CHRIS WILLETT URS CORPORATION
SB1400412 / CONSTRUCTION
DCCR PROPOSES TO DRILL TWO GEOTECHNICAL BOARINGS MS-MW-02D & MS-MW-02S LOCATED AT 1200 13TH ST SE. BOTH BOARINGS WILL BE 6 INCHES IN DIAMETER 02D WILL BE 36 FEET DEEP WIOTH A 10 FOOT SCREENED INTERVAL STARTING AT 25 FEET DEEP AND 02S WILL BE 23 FEET DEEP WITH A 10 FOOT SCREENED INTERVAL STARTING AT 13 FEET DEEP. BOTH WILL BE DIRLLED WITH HOLLOW STEM AUGER. NO PERMANENT CASING WILL BE INSTALLED. SE...
   
09/03/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT COMPANY / CHRIS WILLETT URS CORPORATION
SB1400413 / CONSTRUCTION
DCCR PROPOSES TO DRILL ONE GEOTECHNICAL BORING MS-MW 01 LOCATED IN 1200 13TH ST SE. THE BORING WILL BE 6 INCHES IN DIAMETER AND 200 FEET BGS WITH A SCREENED INTERVAL FROM 135 TO 195 FEET BGS DRILLED BY MUD ROTARY. PERMANENT STELL CASING WILL INSTALLED AND BE SOCKETED 10 FEET INTO P / A AND GROUTED BEFORE DRILLING INTO THE PTX. MSDS FOR DRILLING MUD ADDITIVES ATTACHED. SEE IDW MANAGEMENT PLAN AND A...
1015 HALF ST SE   
09/04/14 
HALF ST SE LLC /
P1408319 / SUPPLEMENTAL
601 L ST SE   
09/02/14 
V ? V CONSTRUCTION / STEPHANIE DELCA TRAFFIC ENGINEERING SERVCIES LLC
TC1400023 / CONSTRUCTION
TO ERECT TOWER CRANE AS PER PLANS.
   
09/16/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / EDUARDO L. LOPEZ
E1409105 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / RICHARD V CAREY
P1408678 / SUPPLEMENTAL
20 M ST SE   
09/08/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / WESLEY R. DAVIS
E1408797 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / MATT LOSIGNOR
P1408704 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / MATT LOSIGNOR
P1408703 / SUPPLEMENTAL
55 M ST SE   
09/11/14 
HINES GLOBAL REIT 55 M STREET LLC / DANIEL O WHITE
E1408953 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
09/15/14 
SQUARE 743 INC. / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
TL1400150 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR TENANT LAYOUT OF 6TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS FURNITURE MEP AND LIFE SAFETY. REGUS 2429
   
09/20/14 
SQUARE 743 INC SQUARE 743 INC / KATE MITCHELL; SQUARE 743 INC SQUARE 743 INC; ROBERT HUNTER
AR53284155 / SUPPLEMENTAL
901 M ST SE   
09/12/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400687 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1201 M ST SE   
09/12/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400686 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
0 N ST SE   
09/10/14 
SNALLYGASTER / ERIK BERGMAN
TN1400195 / CONSTRUCTION
SPECIAL EVENT SNALLYGASTER 1 10X40 TENT 1 20X90 TENT 2 20X160 TENT 1 30X15 STAGE TENT TEMPORARY GENERATOR
   
09/10/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / JAMES A. WILLIAMS
E1408914 / SUPPLEMENTAL
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/17/14 
NEW JERSEY AT H LLC / COLIN CLARK
B1408553 / CONSTRUCTION
CONSTRUCTION OF A 11 STORY 336 UNIT APARTMENT BUILDING WITH FIRST FLOOR RETAIL AND THREE BELOW GRADE LEVELS FOR PARKING GARAGE PER BZA # 18619 GRANTED ON 9 / 24 / 13 WITH CONDITION: SCREENING OF THE PARKING ADJACENT TO H ST.--- SPECIFICALLY SHEETS 6 AND 7 OF EXHIBIT 23 - PLANS TO INCLUDE MECHANICAL PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL WORK.
25 POTOMAC AVE SE   
09/09/14 
GRIFFIN STEPHEN
PC60869040 / POST CARD
INSTALLATION OF 1 TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION TRAILER ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
1500 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
09/09/14 
COMCAST CABLE / MICHAEL SONESEN
AH1400678 / CONSTRUCTION
PLACING INNERDUCT IN EXISITING VERIZON MANHOLES SEPTEMEBR 5TH 2014 - OCTOBER 5TH 2014 EVENINGS ? SATRUDAYS 7PM TO 2AM
300 TINGEY ST SE   
09/11/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / CHRIS WING
B1407179 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR ALTERATION FOR NEW UNLEASHED BY PETCO STORE.
   
09/05/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC
B1411671 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM TO EXHAUST HOOD.
   
09/13/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LIC FC BOILERMAKER LIC / DENNIS STUBBS; FC BOILERMAKER FC BOILERMAKER LIC; DENNIS STUBBS
P24303627 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC /
P1408685 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
CHRIS WING / SHANDI COBB; CHRIS WING; CHARLES CLYNES
AR65033933 / SUPPLEMENTAL
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

Real Property Sales Archive  
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