Friday, June 29, 2012

Found Myself in the 1940 CENSUS

I was born 4 January 1940 so anticipated finding my little baby self in the 1940 census.  I had an address from my birth certificate in Nashville, Tennessee.  I used that address and Steve Morse's wonderful website and found the Enumeration District some weeks before the Census we released. I was already an indexer for FamilySearch so I thought I was good to go.

I manged to get on one of the websites late evening of April 2nd and went straight to that ED in Nashville - I found the address and it was obviously an apartment house.  Alas and alack!  My parents and I were not to be found. I could only conclude that perhaps they moved into a larger place to accommodate me.  Hoping it was nearby, I viewed every page of that ED, and the one before, and the one after it.  Nada, nothing.  Would have to wait for an index.

I have indexed some 8500 persons in the 1940 census to date.  Most of those in the state of Tennessee, but never did I download a page for Davidson County, or any part of Nashville.  I watched for any of the sites to post Tennessee with an index - I read several Blogs that follow the progress.  Somehow I missed the first announcement when posted Tennessee.  I was away most of May and didn't read the Blogs too closely during that time.  However, this morning in a recap of what sites had what states posted, I realized that Tennessee was indeed available on Ancestry.

I FOUND IT.   Apparently nowhere near the first apartment, but living in a three-family dwelling was my little family.  The circled x revealed that neither my father nor mother had given the information; two other ladies in the building had, so perhaps one of them "filled in the blanks".  Almost every entry had an error - but of course I know we hadn't been in that place long so possibly they just didn't know us very well.  But one wonders why they would presume so much.  They did spell the last name correctly - Adamson.

This is such a good example of why any researcher must use multiple sources for their information.  There are so many things I could have interpreted so wrong from this census.

Here are the errors:
     My father's given names were Weymouth Donald, but he was called "Ernie" [no, I've no idea why - my mother left him within a year or so].  His given names are listed as Wm. F.  Not even close.  Yes - I have his birth and death certificates - and other census and voter's records from California.  I know his name.
     My mother's name was JoEllen - they do have her as Joe Ellen.  In indexing, I've discovered that many people spelled the feminine Jo the same as the masculine Joe.  Her name was actually Josie Ellen, named for her two grandmothers - my maternal grandmother, who named her, told me.  I was lucky enough to have this grandmother until I was age 33.  And, yes, I've found her in 1940 - living in the very house I expected to find her in, along with my granddad, and three of my mother's brothers.
     My name is Karen Kay and my mother always called me by both names until after she married my stepfather.  Some of my older relatives called me Karen Kay their whole lives.  My birth certificate plainly says Karen Kay. On this census, I am "Kay B."  For "baby"?  Who knows?
     My father is listed as age 23 - he was 25.  Mother is listed as 22 - she was 24.  I am 3 months which is about right, since the enumerator was there on April 3rd.  Again, I know these facts from other records.
     My father is shown with 2 years of high school - no, he graduated - he played basketball in high school.  My mother's brothers knew him and told me this.  Mother is shown with 1 year of high school, but she had gone to college three years, long enough to get her teacher's certificate and had taught for a year before she married.  Yes, I have corroborative information.   Interesting that everyone else in the household, including the two ladies who had given the information, had only an 8th grade education.  Maybe they just couldn't conceive higher education.
     We are all given the birthplace of Tennessee - but I'm the only one who was born there.  Both of my parents were born in Crawford County, Arkansas - as were all their parents, and some of their grandparents before them.
     My parents are said to have been living in the "same place" in 1935. No, they weren't even married until 1939.  My mom was likely in college at Arkansas State, Russellville, Arkansas in 1935.  My father was living with his married sister in Chester, Crawford County, Arkansas - his mother has died and his father gone to California.
I did get something new from this census.  They were paying $10 a month rent.  My father is listed as working as a clerk in a dry goods store - I had never known this.  He later moved back to Chester and worked for many years as a concrete finisher.  Mother had worked for 16 weeks as a restaurant waitress - she worked while she was pregnant with me.  She had told me that herself.  It has been a horrible experience as my mother was painfully shy at that time in her life, but they needed the money.  No pregnant teacher was allowed in a classroom back then - and not in Arkansas even when I was in school in the late 1940's and 1950's.

And, would you believe I was one of the two selected - on line 66 - for additonal information.  But there was nothing else to say about a three-month-old!

Monday, June 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 26

Week 26: Genealogy Apps: Which genealogy app has made your family history experience easier? Who makes the app and what does it do?  Share with others the details so they can learn about the app, too.

I haven't discovered any particular app that helps me - I just enjoy having a smart phone.  I have used it to listen to podcasts while I'm out walking and then recorded ideas to check on when I'm back home at my computer.  It's a great camera - works in the cemetery and works just as well to photograph documents in the library.  I have taken notes when I had no paper and pen handy.  I can keep up with my genealogy correspondence and read my favorite blogs when I'm way from my computer.

I'm a little late with posting this Blog - my neighbor cut my cable while laying sod and I was without TV, Internet, and land line phone for three days.  But thanks to my trusty iPhone, I was never "out of touch"!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 25

Week 25: Genealogy Database Software: Database programs have revolutionized the way we store and record our genealogy. Which one is your favorite? What are some of the tools and perks of the program that enhance your family history research? Share a link to the company website or vendor so others may learn more about this product.

RootsMagic is the BEST in my opinion.  I started using Family Origins way back when - the other program I had tried was a resource hog and crashed my computer at every turn.  I have stayed with the developer Bruce Buzbee through all the mutations to RootsMagic 5.  Every edition gets better.  Here are my personal reasons for recommending it:

1.  It's intuitive to use.  The main pages look like genealogy - family group sheets or pedigree charts.  And, although there are options and menus, the pages seem relatively uncluttered.  Although it does have a lot of bells and whistles, you don't have to use them all.  A beginner can do well with the free version.

2.  There's always help.  The support files in the program are well written and clear. The Webinars are free online.  Support is excellent should there be a problem.  It's easy to report possible bugs or recommend ideas for future updates.  Updates are provided free until a new version comes out - even then updates are inexpensive compared to some other programs.

3.  It does a good job of preparing html files to upload to my website.  Not everyone cares about this feature but it's very important to me.  

4.  Reports can be prepared in pdf to send by email to inquiries in a very short time.  Because I have a web presence, I do get requests for additional information.  I'm happy to share but prefer to do it as pdf.

5.  Files from other programs, FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy, PAF, can be imported directly into RootsMagic without having to use GEDCOM which is imperfect at best.  I have compared this feature [direct vs. GEDCOM] and it's amazing how much better the information transfers directly.  I realized how inadequate GEDCOM really is with today's robust programs.

6.  If you are LDS, this is likely the very best program for syncing with their family trees - which will someday be made available to the general public.

Drawbacks.  As yet there is no dedicated MAC version.  I understand it runs very well when you add dual operating systems (Windows) to a MAC.   No iPhone/iPad app yet - but it does have the Roots-Magic-To-Go which runs the entire program and your files off a flash drive on any computer, a very neat feature.  It does not sync with any of the online family databases - but, in my opinion and after using FamilyTreeMaker to sync with Ancestry, this is so far, a plus.

You can find RootsMagic 5 right here:      RootsMagic 5

Sunday, June 10, 2012

52 Week of Abundant Genealogy - Week 24

Week 24: Genealogy Events: When it comes to genealogy events, our cup runneth over lately. There are so many fabulous family history events being held across the globe. For which one are you most grateful? Is it an annual event or a one-time thrill? Who runs the event? Why is it special?

My best genealogy experiences ever were the years I was able to attend IGHR, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Studies at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. I learned so much and I would recommend the Institute to anyone at any level of expertise in researching their families. The most fun genealogy event for me was the RootsTech Conference last February - the combination of genealogy and technology was outstanding. I'm excited that I get to go to Birmingham the end of August for the FGS Conference - one of my favorite national conferences in one of my favorite cities. No way to pick a favorite. Just send me to a genealogy or family history event and I'm certain to enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 23

Hey!  I've passed the halfway point and I'm still posting the Week's fun.  I doubted I could stick to this when I started...

Week 23: Family Traditions: For which family tradition are you most thankful? How did the tradition start? Which family members have been responsible for keeping the tradition alive and how has it shaped your own family history?

Our Family Tradition has long been to change the traditions!  A good example would be that all the children of my maternal grandmother always tried to make the trek back "home" for Christmas. This was an expected and required trip.  I usually go to the home of one of my children instead - it's much easier for a single person to travel during the holidays.  And we don't all live near each other as in days past.  We do have the tradition of a big Christmas dinner - but the food changes from year to year.  Each of my children's households follows a bit different celebration and they do have some small traditions within their families that they generally perpetuate. However, all of us feel free to adjust to the occasion!  One consistent tradition that has persisted from my household to theirs is that we all overstuff Christmas stockings with small wonderful treasures and surprises.  
I would have to say that our family tradition at Christmas is to express the love we have for each other.  That is our constant.  We have a strong family and I believe one of the reasons is that we are able to adapt as time and situations change.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 22

Week 22: Family Recipes: Family recipes are about more than just food. They provide sights, smells and memories of family history. Which family recipe are you most thankful for? Who was the first person to make it, and how was the recipe handed down through the generations? Has the recipe stayed the same all these years?

I've done this before!   Here is the link....

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 21

This is published several weeks after the assigned dates - I'm playing catch-up!

Week 21: Ancestor Tales of Hardship: In genealogy, there are plenty of clouds in the form of sad stories and hardships faced by our ancestors. These tales should not be forgotten because descendants can learn from them. Share with us a particular ancestor’s hardship story. How did these events impact your life?

My ggg grandmother Rebekah Poindexter (Jones) Brown survived the Civil War and lived to be 89 years old, dying in 1912.  Rebekah married before her 14th birthday.  She gave birth to 15 children, but buried six of them as infants or toddlers.  The Brown family lived in southwest Missouri and the War really began there with guerrilla attacks as early as 1860 and didn't end for a number of years afterwards.  This was truly an area of neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother.   Her first born son was shot off his horse on the way to the corn mill and died on his 20th birthday in July of 1860, leaving a new bride and unborn daughter.   In the summer of 1863, Rebekah's husband and 15-year-old son were in the wagon on the way to the blacksmith shop and a neighbor (and Union-sympathizer) shot both in the back.  The killer went to her home and told her she could go bury her dead and he would be back to burn her out.  She took her older children, and they buried their two loved ones in a common grave.  The remaining neighbors were too frightened to help.  Rebekah then loaded the children in the wagon and left for Texas - her youngest child was barely a year old. Two of the teen-age daughters died the summer of 1864 while the family was in Texas - probably of typhoid.   After the War, Rebekah returned and rebuilt her house on the foundation of her burned-out home.  Rebekah and her husband had been giving each child 40 acres of farmland as they married, and she went back to the plan.  She had actually taken her original deeds with her to Texas and was able to have them re-registered at the new courthouse - the old one had been burned twice during the War.  She continued farming until she was aged and then she rotated living several months at a time with her children's families. Only two of her children outlived her.

Nothing in my life has ever compared with what Rebekah went through. What a strong woman she was.  I, too, have lost a spouse - but he wasn't murdered in the prime of his life.  My children and grandchildren are all living productive and happy lives.  I can't worry about life's small disappointments when I stop and think this woman was my ancestor and her blood runs through my veins.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 20

I've been away on the back-to-back Legacy Cruises.  Then had a granddaughter graduating.  It's been a busy few weeks.  I'm going to double up a bit on the posts to catch up!

Week 20: Social Media: Which social media tool do you appreciate the most? Has it increased your circle of friends? How has it benefitted your family tree?

I've tried.  Oh, I have!  But I really don't get a lot of the social media such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, although I have tried them all.  I do enjoy keeping up with friend and family contacts via Facebook.  I've seen recent pictures of niece and nephews that live far away.  I've been able to keep up with college-age grandchildren and their fun and activities.  I cannot say that my circle of friends has increased, but I have made contact with friends from the past.  I can't say that there has been any particular benefit to my family tree or my research.