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Source Information

Ancestry.com. 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen. National Archives at Washington, D.C. M1932, RG 029, 3 rolls.

About 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen

The 1930 Census began on 1 April 1930, except in Alaska where it began on 1 October 1929 because of harsh weather conditions expected in April. For the first time in 1930 the U.S. Census Bureau enumerated merchant seamen serving on U.S. flag merchant vessels on a special Merchant Seamen schedule. Seamen who were to be enumerated on this special schedule were all persons aboard ship, except officers who had regular or fixed places of abode ashore. Information for these officers with fixed places of abode was to be obtained at their homes. Seamen and other persons claiming to be married or those who gave the names of their next of kin on the crew lists were to be included in the enumeration of the vessels on which they were employed or had secured employment on 1 April 1930, even though they may have maintained fixed places of abode on shore in the intervals between employment on different vessels.

Information found at the top of the Merchant Seamen schedules includes:

  • Name and address of owner or operator of vessel
  • Name of vessel
  • Date of enumeration
  • Name of enumerator, usually his signature and/or typewritten name
  • The home port of the vessel (If the vessel did not have a regular home port then the name of the port in which the vessel was anchored on the census day or from which it sailed last prior to 1 April 1930 was to be listed)

The following questions were asked by enumerators regarding the men aboard the vessel:

  • Name of each person whose place of abode on 1 April 1930 was on board this ship
  • Sex
  • Color or race
  • Age at last birthday
  • Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • Whether able to read or write
  • Place of birth (If born in the United States, give the state or territory. If of foreign birth, give the country of birth)
  • Whether naturalized or alien
  • Whether able to speak English
  • Occupation - trade, profession, or particular kind of work done
  • Whether a veteran of the U.S. military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition; if so, what war or expedition
  • Address of wife or next of kin

Some of the above information was taken from: 1930 Federal Population Census: Catalog of National Archives Microfilm, National Archives Trust Fund Board (Washington, DC, 2002).

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