Family Stories

Have You Checked Out The 1940 Census? You Should!

How many of you have checked out the 1940 census?  For me it was quite exciting since it was the first census in which my parents were listed!  Mom was born in 1931 and dad in 1935.  The above census is from Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky, and lists my great-grandparents Robert E. Lee Montgomery and Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, and their daughter, Margaret.  If you are a regular reader of my posts you know that Grandmother Frances is a favorite ancestor of mine – I love to write about her!  Of course, since she loved genealogy, that makes her just that much more interesting.  And in some of the previous posts I mentioned that she was called Frank – which I think terribly unladylike – but what do I know!  If you can read the lines marked in yellow above there is Robert L. Montgomery and his wife, Frank!  This made me smile!  I always called my great-aunt Maggie.  Surprising that her mother is listed with a nickname, but she isn’t!  My great-grandparents died before I was born, but Aunt Maggie lived to the ripe old age of 89 – and I remember her well.  She was a very thin, frail, short woman that talked very little.  She sat in her rocking chair in front of the fire place – and that was about all she did!  Mom told me she fell in love when she was young, but her Papa didn’t approve of the young man.  She must have pined for him all those years – for she never married.  Aunt Maggie and her brother, my Uncle Bob, lived together as old maid and old bachelor until they died – one year apart.

Back to the census.  In addition to the age, sex and marital status, there is an education column.  The number of years completed in elementary, high school or college is listed.  Frank had an H4 in this column, meaning she completed all four years of high school.  This is not surprising.  She taught school before marriage.  My great-grandfather Robert finished one year of high school, H1, and Aunt Maggie two, H2.  In another column I was surprised to find that my great-grandmother was listed as U – unable to work.  Robert was listed as retired and Aunt Maggie as H – housekeeper.  Frank lived another five years, passing away in August of 1945, but according to the listing, was she already having medical problems?

My grandparents lived on Walnut Street – on the left-hand side, according to the census.  This is where Aunt Maggie and Uncle Bob lived until they died.  I was in the house several times.  It was full of old clocks and Uncle Bob delighted in setting them so they would all chime at the same time – even if it wasn’t time to do so!  He was full of fun and quite the character – the exact opposite of his sister.

I hope you venture to the 1940 census and see what interesting things you can find.  I’m sure there will be at least some little tidbit that will be new!  Good luck!

2 replies »

  1. My Daughter and I have just within the last few months ,become members of Ancestry .com . I am amazed at the wealth of info that we have already uncovered,and the wonderful pictures we never thought we would have the the privilege of seeing on pages where others have shared. And also stories others have posted… It’s awesome, to find our Uncle Bob (really my mothers 1st cousin) had an older Brother I never knew about, and that a relative you did know about ,who you always thought because his first name was ”Overton” , was a guy ..was actually your great grandfathers ”wife”… we are just beginning,but are learning . We have a cousin named ”Frankie” too, she has a joyful laugh that everyone loves..and the sweetest hugs.. :), and a Uncle Hick and Uncle Ray, who never married,and lived at their old homestead till death… we are having so much delight learning things we never dreamed we could ever know.

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