Posted by Juliana Szucs on June 30, 2012 in Website

This week launched 1940 census indexes for six more states—Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.  Who are you looking for and what stories will you discover? Here are some well-known names that we’ve run across.

Tina Turner
While the unincorporated town of Nutbush doesn’t really have “city limits” as the name of the famous Tina Turner song might imply, it’s nonetheless where we find her in 1940 listed as Anna Bullocks, age 5/12.  (You can find Nutbush in Civil District 11 on this enumeration map.)

Jack Nicklaus
Only three months old in April of 1940, the “Golden Bear” was more likely to have been playing with Teddy bears than golf clubs, but we found the future golf pro, Jack Nicklaus living with his parents, Louis “Charlie” Nicklaus and Helen, in Columbus, Ohio.

Arnold Palmer
Jack Nicklaus’ rival, Arnold Palmer, was probably already getting golf tips from his dad, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, whose occupation is listed in 1940 as “pro green[s] keeper” in a country club.

Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty
The only roles  brother and sister Shirley [MacLaine] and [Henry] Warren Beaty were prepping for in 1940 were those of kindergartner and preschooler. They probably got a lot of help from dad, whose occupation was that of “principal-teacher” in a public school.

Bill Cosby
In 1940, Bill Cosby is living with his parents and younger brother, James, and lodgers Ernest and Bertha Fletcher. Ernest is probably his uncle, Ernie Fletcher, who he refers to in his book I Am what I Ate– and I’m Frightened!!! And Other Digressions from the Doctor of Comedy. The North Philadelphia neighborhood where he’s living would in later years become the backdrop for the stories that were featured on his hit series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

Grace Kelly
In 1940, years before becoming an award-winning actress and Princess of Monaco, ten-year old Grace Kelly was living in Philadelphia with her father, John “Jack” Kelly, owner of a construction business, mother Margaret, two sisters and a brother. Florence Merkel, personal secretary, is living in the household as well. Princess Grace returned to Philadelphia in 1966 to attend Florence’s funeral. (Want to learn more about the Kelly’s? Grace’s dad was chosen to answer the supplemental questions at the bottom of the schedule.)

Doris Day
Although only sixteen at the time of the 1940 census, Doris Kappelhoff’s mother gave her age in the census as eighteen. By this time Doris had begun singing professionally on the radio and in local bands, although her occupation in the census is listed simply as “new worker.” She’s living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her mother, Alma and brother, Paul.

Phil Donahue
The future talk show host and media mogul’s 1940 census record shows the five-year-old Phil Donahue living with his parents in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father, Phillip, is working as a furniture salesman, earning $2,200 per year.

Paul Newman
We found Paul L. Newman living with his brother and parents, Arthur and Theresa in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland), where he was attending Shaker Heights High School at the time. A few years later he was serving in the Pacific theater of World War II and in 1945 was serving as an Aviation Radioman, Third Class aboard the USS Hollandia about 500 miles from Japan when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Tim Conway
An avid horseracing fan, comedian Thomas [Tim] Conway may have come about his love of horses at an early age. In the 1940 census, his father’s occupation is listed as “horseman, country estate.”

See what you can find in the 1940 census.

Juliana Szucs

Juliana Szucs has been working for for more than 19 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program.


  1. John H

    Check your links in this blog. The link for Paul Newman goes to Grace Kelly’s census record in Philadelphia — not his.

  2. Shamrock

    When the California census is searchable you can find the actress Shirley Booth living in Los Angeles (under the name Shirley Gardiner) with her husband Edward Gardiner. Her salary was listed as $5,000.

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