Showing posts with label 1940 Census. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1940 Census. Show all posts

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Was Hubby's Memory Correct? How I Did the Research


Earlier this year, I wrote a family history booklet telling the story of my husband's Slatter and Wood families, and a second booklet telling the story of his McClure and Steiner families.

For the holidays, I'm preparing a briefer family history booklet, focused on the Wood family in World War II. I want to show the younger generation how the family's history is intertwined with local, national, and world history. So I'm writing about Edgar James Wood and his wife, Marian Jane McClure Wood, and their children (hubby included), during the 1940s.

First, I asked my husband and his siblings about their memories of that period. Although he was very young, hubby distinctly remembers the family sitting around the console radio on Sunday, the 7th of December, and hearing the news about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.* It's vivid in his mind because his parents were so upset by the news. And he remembers this happening in the living room of the family home at 1142 Cleveland Heights Blvd. in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Was hubby's memory correct? I wondered because I had these facts at hand (and mapped the addresses as shown above):
  • At the time of the 1940 Census, the Wood family lived at 13015 Edmondton Ave. in Cleveland. This was a $45/month rental, several blocks away from where Marian's parents lived.
  • In late November, 1942, the Wood family signed an agreement to purchase the Cleveland Heights Blvd. house. This was a few miles east of the rental where they lived in 1940.
  • Edgar Wood had told his son, during a 1983 interview, about giving up the rental and buying the home--but he never specified any dates.

To find out whether the Wood family actually lived on Cleveland Heights Blvd. in December, 1941, I needed another source--something from after the Census and before the purchase of the house on Cleveland Heights Blvd.

Lucky, lucky me. I dug deep into Ancestry's city directory catalog and found it has the 1941 Cleveland city directory!

Browsing the directory by street address, I checked who was living at the Edmondton Ave. address. The entry for that address showed as "vacant." The Wood family was NOT living there in 1941.

Then I checked who was living at the Cleveland Heights Blvd. address. And as you can see at left, the occupant was "Wood, Edgar J." In other words, my wonderful husband's memory was completely correct. He and his family had moved into their home by the time of Pearl Harbor.

This prompted me to reread the 1983 interview with my late father-in-law. He said he had been notified that his rental on Edmonton Ave. was going to be sold. So he and his wife Marian went shopping for a home, but he didn't mention any dates.

A realtor showed them the Cleveland Heights Blvd home, which had stood empty for a few years due to the Depression. Ed and Marian liked it but could only afford it if they began paying on a "land contract," with monthly payments going toward a downpayment qualifying them for a mortgage.

He stated that within about a year, they had paid in enough to obtain a regular mortgage and register the deed, which is dated late November, 1942. This was more confirmation of what the directory entries indicate: the family moved in before December, 1941.

Writing this family story about WWII forced me to double-check memories against the city directory and another family member's memories. In the process, I gained a better understanding of the family's financial situation during that time. And, of course, hubby's family will have yet another colorful booklet to enjoy, complete with maps and photos and sources, before the new year begins.

*If you want to hear some radio broadcasts from that day, check out the Internet Archive here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Finding 13015 Edmonton, Cleveland

13015 Edmonton, Cleveland, Ohio
In the continuing saga of 1940 Census adventures, my husband has become very intrigued by the idea of finding ancestors and relatives.

He had to get creative when thinking about where in Cleveland his father and mother (Edgar James Wood and Marian Jane McClure Wood) were living in 1940, since we don't have documentation of that year's address.

So he thought about the elementary school he attended a little later, searched for it, found a photo of it (in terrible shape), and learned from a news item that it was razed. That gave him a street address to plot on Google Maps.

Next, he traced the route he would have taken in walking to and from school, looking on the map for a railroad underpass that was vivid in his memory. He found it, but just couldn't remember exactly which block or side of the street the house was on.  

I plugged the street name into Steve Morse's ED Finder, added two cross streets that hubby said were nearby intersections, and learned that the street straddled two EDs. That's not bad, considering that my Bronx ancestors lived on streets that straddled three or more EDs.

Then I downloaded all the images for both of the Cleveland EDs in the area of the railroad underpass, and began looking. Of course his family wasn't in the first ED. Halfway through the second ED, an hour after we began the search, we found the family at 13015 Edmonton. It was a neat little home in a quiet residential neighborhood in 1940, with broad treelawns and kids playing in the yard after school.

We went back to Google Maps and located the address (as you can see, above) and it was only one block from where hubby originally thought it might be located. The key was the railroad underpass, which is so clearly marked on Google Maps even now.

You could have rented this house for $45 in 1940, by the way :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: April 5, 1940 (Census Day in the Bronx)

NY ED 3-390 for Beck St, Fox St in Bronx, NY
Yes, I was one of the millions of people who looked for ancestors in the 1940 Census. Here's the first page where my grandparents, Theodore & Hermina Schwartz, are listed at 672 Beck Street in Bronx, NY.

Their household begins at the bottom of this page and continues at the top of the next, where my Mom and Auntie, Daisy & Dorothy Schwartz, are listed.

To get started, I used Steve Morse's One-Step 1940 Census ED Finder, then checked a map to be sure I was looking at the ED with the correct boundaries. Time-consuming? Yes, but what a wonderful feeling to find the family just where I expected it to be!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Census 1940: How Much Did Grandpa Make in 1939?

On April 2, 2012, I'll be able to find out how much money my Grandpa Theodore Schwartz made in 1939. Why do I care? Because Grandpa ran a grocery store and, according to family stories, he was too soft-hearted to take money from customers who were hungry but couldn't pay for their purchases. In eight months, I'll know whether Grandpa's income was suffering or whether he and Grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz had enough money to get by.

Yearly income in 1939 is only one of the important questions that any beginning genealogist should be thrilled to see on the 1940 Census form.

Another key question is "Residence, April 1, 1935." If you've already checked your ancestors' whereabouts in the 1930 Census, you'll now know where they were at the beginning, middle, and end of the Depression.

There's only one catch, and that's the biggest tip of all for using the 1940 Census: The names won't be indexed, at least not at first. You should start now to assemble a list of the exact addresses of all the relatives you're looking for in the 1940 Census. Second task: Locate the exact Enumeration District for each, which can be harder than it sounds (alas).** But if you start soon, you'll be ready.

When the Census records are opened in 2012, my fingers will be poised over the keyboard, ready to find out about Grandpa's income and his housing situation in the 1930s. How about you?

For more info, see the Census page at Archives.com.

** JoelWeintraub's comment, below, has this excellent idea: "I suggest your readers start by taking our tutorial at: http://stevemorse.org/census/quiz.php." Thanks, Joel!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Numbers tell the story

465

That's the number of days until the 1940 Census is released. And I can hardly wait! For one thing, the Census asked everyone 5 and older where they were living on April 1, 1935, filling in some blanks for where my ancestors were living between the 1930 and 1940 Census periods.

The 1940 Census will include a special series of questions--more data! In addition, there will be extra info about housing, although Dr. Weintraub (see comment below) says this is unlikely to be released for individuals.

Looking forward to April 2, 2012! But first, happy 2011.