Given Name(s) Last Name

from the Ancestry Daily News
  by Michael John Neill 1/8/2003


Panning for Panagiotis: An Urban Census Problem with A Twist

Before the 1930 every-name census index was completely posted at Ancestry.com, one had to rely on traditional search techniques to find people in this census. Even now that it is complete for most areas, there will still be those names that were difficult to read or entered incorrectly on either the census page or the index itself. Consequently, manual techniques where the family historian goes page by page through the census will still occasionally be required. No source or finding aid is completely perfect and some entries will fall through the miniscule cracks in the best finding aid.

The census entry for Panagiotis can be viewed at: www.rootdig.com/panagiotis1930/index.html

Such is the case with the census entry for Panagiotis Verikios in Chicago, Illinois, in 1930.

Regular readers of the Ancestry Daily News have read about Panagiotis before. The step-great-grandfather of my wife had been somewhat elusive in Chicago in the 1930s. Locating him in the 1930 census was no easy trick. My search for Panagiotis Verikios always includes a search for Peter Verikios, the name he took upon his naturalization and the name he is listed with in the 1920 census.

Chicago is a Big Place
I'll need an address for Panagiotis to search the 1930 census manually. The closest Chicago city directory is for 1928. Panagiotis was not to be found in this reference, nor was he in the 1930 Chicago phonebook. I'll still need some type of address or approximate area of residence in order to search the census page by page.

Where Could I get an Address?
Sources besides a directory will have to be used to get an address for Panagiotis. Some records that might have allowed me to obtain at least an approximate area of residence would be: death certificates, obituaries, oral family history, other census records, address of the church the family attended, etc. Of course, these records might not provide an address from the 1930s era, but even knowledge of the neighborhood where Panagiotis lived would be helpful. Panagiotis' address from the 1920 census will not assist in this case as it is known the family moved a significant distance from that residence in the mid-1920s.

His 1928 Address
The closest address to 1930 I had for Panagiotis was in 1928. His 1928 Declaration of Intent (www.rootdig.com/immigrate/pverikios/page2.html ), indicates a residence of 336 East 115th Street, Chicago. My search for Panagiotis in 1930 will begin with this address. It is the best address I have and I'll hope he did not move significantly before the 1930 census enumeration.

Need the Enumeration District
Chicago is a big place and the city was broken into enumeration districts in order to complete the enumeration. Consequently, in order to locate the census page that contains 336 East 115th Street, I will need to know which enumeration district contains this address. To facilitate my search, I platted the address using MapQuest (www.mapquest.com ). Since the street numbers in Chicago have not been significantly changed since 1930, using a modern map will not present a problem. Researchers working in urban areas should always determine if and when any house re-numberings have taken place. Had the house numbers been significantly changed, I would have had to take this into consideration and made alterations to my plans. Not being overly familiar with the Chicagoland area, the MapQuest maps were particularly helpful also in allowing me to see how the address fit into the city as a whole.

The maps of the enumeration districts have been microfilmed by the National Archives and can be obtained via interlibrary loan. More information on the maps is available at the National Archives site (http://1930census.archives.gov/EDmaps.html ). Researchers in Cook County, Illinois, have an additional source: the website "A Look at Cook." This site (www.alookatcook.com ) provides enumeration maps for the 1930 and other Cook County, Illinois, censuses. Those looking for family members in other urban areas may want to enter the search terms "enumeration maps census your city" into a search engine such as Google (www.google.com ) to potentially locate finding aids for other urban areas.

Using the 1930s era ward map of the city of Chicago, I determined the address I was looking for was in the city's 9th ward.

The 1930s census enumeration district map on Alookatcook.com indicated that 115th Street was the partial border (of course!) between enumeration districts 397 and 405. I decided to be on the safe side I would look for Panagiotis in both districts. The south side of the street should be completely in one district and the north side should be in the other district. Exceptions do happen however and so I decided to look in both districts.

Looking for Panagiotis
It took some doing, but a Panagiotis Verikios was finally located. He was not at the address listed on his 1928 Declaration of Intent, but rather at 413 East 115th street (on sheet 33B of Enumeration District 405, in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois). The difference in addresses is slight.

He is listed backwards
The real problem is that his last name is listed first and his first name is listed last. Panagiotis is not listed as living with his wife and is listed as single. How do I know it is him?

Proving it is the Panagiotis
It is not enough for me to say that I've got the right guy simply because the name is the same. There are other items in the census entry that lead me to think that this is the person I am looking for.

Name: Verikios Panagiotisthe. The fact that the names are turned around does not concern me. The census taker, Felix Navagito, may very well have been unfamiliar with Greek names.

Age: The census lists 46. All other records indicate Panagiotis was born in November of 1881. This would have made him 48 at the time of the census. A two-year discrepancy for an adult is not unusual.

Marital Status: The census lists him as single. He was married in 1930, but separated from his wife. This is the main item in the entry that is incorrect.

His birthplace and the birthplace of his parents: The census lists these items as Greece. This is consistent with every other record on Panagiotis.

Citizenship status: The year of immigration is listed as 1914 and the naturalization column indicates "pa" (indicating papers had been filed but that the process was not complete). The naturalization file for Panagiotis indicates he did immigrate in 1914 and by 1930 he had filed his declaration of intention for citizenship but had not completed his naturalization. The "pa" notation in the census entry is consistent with the information on the known Panagiotis.

The census entry for Panagiotis can be viewed at: www.rootdig.com/panagiotis1930/index.html

ONLINE REFERENCES:

Obtaining the 1930 Enumeration District in One Step
http://home.pacbell.net/spmorse/census/

The National Archives Site on Researching the 1930 Census
http://1930census.archives.gov/beginSearch.asp


Michael John Neill, is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at: mjnrootdig@myfamily.com or visit his website at: www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.

Copyright 2003, MyFamily.com Inc.

Used by the author on his website with permission.

Peter's 1920 Census Entry--where his native born wife is listed as an alien.A whole "nuther" story.


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Other Genealogy Articles by Michael John Neill

 1930 Census Online