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1930 Census Searching Techniques


There is no index or Soundex for the 1930 Census in Ohio.  So we have to search the hard way.

1) Obtain a street address for your subject.   You can do this using the City Directory for your city or try the 1920 Census / Soundex and hope they have not moved in 10 years.

2) Use a geographic aid to identify the Enumeration District. Note all 1930 Enumeration Districts (ED) are two part numbers. There are three types of geographic aids you can use, NARA Locator, Morse's Enumeration District Locator, Enumeration District Maps.  (Franklin County is 25-, Hamilton County is 31-)

Online 1930 Census Microfilm Locator from the National Archives: 1930census.archives.gov/beginSearch.asp

You select the state from the drop down box on the left hand side of the page.

Then you have searching choices, search by County, by City or by the name of town, streets, post offices, rural townships, election precinct and ward numbers, and rivers and lakes. Institutions include schools, prisons, and sanitariums.

The 1930 Census Microfilm Locator includes transcriptions of the boundaries of all the enumeration districts in the country (approximately 120,000 of them). This means that ONLY the names of the boundary streets for an ED are listed. If you do not find a match, try the names of other main thoroughfares nearby to your location. Also, entering the names of nearby institutions can help to identify ED numbers adjacent or close to the ED being sought.

A description of how to search using the NARA Geographic Description database is explained at:  1930census.archives.gov/searchStrategiesGeographic.html


Morse's Enumeration District Locator also called Obtaining EDs for the 1930 Census in One Step (Large Cities) found at:



First you select the state, then the city you wish to search. (This is not a comprehensive list.) The database allows you to search for an intersection.  Then it will give you the ED including a list of all the streets in that ED.  The database will also provide current.  For those in libraries that retrieve the census by roll number, the database will tell you the volume / roll number.

Try finding the main library in Columbus located at Grant Avenue and State Street.  The ED is 25-66.

This one-step site has descriptions for enumeration districts in certain large cities only. While the NARA site includes only the names of the boundary streets for an ED, this one-step site includes every street that is part of the ED. As a bonus, the site will provide advice to the user: input your city and it will tell you which resource to use.

NOTE:  The enumeration districts are not in numerical order on the rolls of film.  Morse's database tells you the order of the EDs on the roll of film.

NOTE: Enumeration districts don't necessarily follow a geographical order either.  So be certain to copy out all the information you require for your search.

3) Once you have the enumeration district and the roll number, you can retrieve the census records by scanning that section of the film.  A map or a list of streets in that enumeration district will help you find the people you are looking for.

You can download a blank 1930 census form from Ancestry.com at: www.ancestry.com/save/charts/census.htm

Sample search using the 1920 Census examples




Course Bibliography Course  links One Day Genealogy Course Outline KSU (two-day) Course Outline



Workshop & Lecture Descriptions Websites & Bibliographies Consulting About MBK
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MBK Consulting


Miriam Kahn, MLS, PhD 614-239-8977 (voice)
60 North Harding Road 614-579-9855 (Cell)
Columbus, OH 43209-1524 mbkcons@gmail.com

site last updated Thursday January 16, 2014