Hispanics in the 1940 U.S. Census
Well, there were no official “Hispanics” in the United States in 1940, apparently, because that term didn’t come along until 1970.
According to NBC Latino:
“The terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” were not used then,” says Mark Hugo López, of the Pew Hispanic Center. It was not until the 1970 census that Hispanics could identify themselves as such.
But, you know we were here. Maybe not as much as today, but we were here. And given that a lot of people of “Hispanic” ancestry had the border cross them, or if your family has been here for so many decades, it would be worth a trip into the newly released 1940 Census.
You would visit the U.S. Census site: http://1940census.archives.gov/ and search by Enumeration District, which is by geographical location, not by name. The name indexing isn’t finished yet.
People were categorized by country of origin and race — and that race ID apparently would be whatever the Census taker thought it should be.
I played around with the 1940 records yesterday in search of the non-Latinos in my bloodline and the site and images loaded slowly, but it was good to begin to figure it out.
If you are thinking of searching for your Hispanic/Latin American/Latino/Spanish/Caribbean and everything else roots, know that the Spanish were maniacal about keeping records, so the searches can be pretty fruitful.
You can find a post we did with a bunch of links to finding your Hispanic and Latin Ancestry here.
And, by the way, if you are doing research on your old house, or neighborhood, these records are great starting places, too.