You can hear the Muppet Jugband singing it here on YouTube:
My friend and colleague Michael Hait wrote a blog post after he discovered a song he'd never heard before, called "I'm My Own Grandpa". This brought back memories for me, because this was my father's favorite song, and we all would sing the chorus along with him.
You can hear the Muppet Jugband singing it here on YouTube:
I'm a little late in getting started, but I have finally started making my list(s) of who I'm going to look for in the 1940 census, for myself and my clients. This census is especially exciting for me, since I was not involved with genealogy 10 years ago when the 1930 census was released, and therefore missed the excitement then. Also, this is the first census to be released digitally - no more going to the National Archives branch on Sand Point Way in Seattle, to crank the handles of microfilm readers!
One of the most important reasons I like to keep my records in a genealogy software program (Legacy Family Tree) on my computer is the ability to run specialized reports. For instance, I can run a report that will list everyone born in Medina County, Ohio after 1900, or generate a list of people who died in Michigan before 1920. The most recent report I've run for myself and my clients is a list of those people who were born before 1940 and died after 1940.
My own list of 577 names (out of a database of 3400) includes both sets of grandparents: my maternal grandfather Arnold A. Stoelt and his second wife Ervilla, living at 14883 Faust St. in Detroit, and my paternal grandparents Maurice and Ruby Reed, living at 1030 E. St. Joseph St. in Lansing. I imagine that both these families were grateful to have made it through the Great Depression with steady employment - Arnold Stoelt was a printer at the Detroit Free Press, and Ervilla taught high school English, while Maurice Reed was a truant officer for the Lansing Public Schools.
Since it will be released digitally with images only, there won't be a searchable index for several months. I am fortunate that I know where both sets of my grandparents lived in 1940, and I can determine the Enumeration Districts (ED) to look at.
To do that, I used Steven Morse's website on obtaining Enumeration Districts for large cities: http://www.stevemorse.org/census/. I selected the state (Michigan), the city (Detroit), and then selected the street (Faust). It gave me a list of 17 ED's, but I can narrow it down further by selecting the nearest street that crosses Faust. I looked it up on Google Maps, and found that the nearest street was Chalfonte. That narrows the possible ED's down to 2 - a much smaller target!
My great grandparents Percy and Mary Reed, however, lived in Beulah, a tiny village on the shores of Crystal Lake, in northwest Michigan. In order to determine their ED, I used Steven Morse's conversion tool, which converts the 1930 ED to the ED used for the 1940 census, here. Their 1930 ED was 10-3, and using the conversion tool I can see that I need to look at ED 10-3 and 10-4 in 1940. However, I can narrow it down further by looking at the 1940 ED map of Beulah, using the 1940 ED map finder, here.
On this map, it's easy for me to see that ED 10-4 is the one I want to look at, since I know that Percy and Mary lived in that section of Beulah (which is spelled wrong on the map).
My great grandfather Henry Hickox Chase, in 1940, was a resident of the Traverse City State Hospital, having been diagnosed with a form of dementia in 1936. It took me a combination of Google Earth, Wikipedia, and a private website to determine that the hospital was (more or less) at the cross streets of Elmwood and 11th in Traverse City. The ED here is 28-17.
My great great grandfather Stacy Clay Thompson was living in Manistee, Michigan, with his second wife Marian. His address on the 1930 census was 214 Arthur Street, and on the 1940 census I will want to look at ED's 51-9 and 51-10.
For my clients, I will be looking at ED's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Montgomery County, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, Mercer County, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and various small towns in Minnesota.
I can tell I'm going to be busy, come April 2. Who will you be looking for on the 1940 census?
Last month I received an email from the president of our local chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists - he'd gotten an email from the Black Diamond Police Department, requesting our help. I volunteered for the case, since I live in Maple Valley, just a stone's throw away from Black Diamond.
In January someone turned in an urn of ashes that was found in the storage area of the basement of the Black Diamond Bakery. The urn was labeled with the birth and death dates for Helen C. Morrison, who died Sept. 19, 1977.
“Helen Morrison”, Record-Chronicle, 23 Sept. 1977, p.4
When I met with Sergeant Brian Lynch, he gave me the photo of the urn (being stored in his evidence locker), and the obituary he'd obtained from the Seattle Public Library. With the clues given in the obituary, I was fairly sure I could come up with the names of some living family members that we could give the ashes to.
I have been doing genealogical research for a long time, but I have never seen a case like this one where there were so many errors in the records.
I began with Helen's daughter, Ruth Kurtti. I found her cemetery record on Find A Grave, and her gravestone indicated she'd died in 1979; however when I checked Ancestry, I found that her actual date of death was 13 Jan 1980, as given on the Oregon Death Index. I found the death date for her husband, and emailed the Astoria Public Library for their obituaries. Those obituaries gave the name of their surviving daughter.
Next I decided to investigate Helen's sister Charlotte Balloway, only to find that on Washington Digital Archives there was no such person. Figuring from the obituary that Helen's (and Charlotte's) maiden name was Cook, I looked for the marriage of Charlotte Cook - and soon found that Charlotte Cook married John Galloway in 1917 in Snohomish County.
Looking at the 1920 census of Snohomish County, I discovered that Charlotte Galloway was born in Iowa, and that her father was born in England and her mother in West Virginia. The 1900 census of Wapello, Richland County, Iowa revealed that "Ellen" was born in October 1891, not 1880.
Then I started looking for census records here in Washington that might include Helen and her children - William, Charles and Ruth. I soon found them on the 1920 census of Earlington, near Renton:
On this census, Helen's husband was listed as Columbus Morrison. That led me to their marriage record (in 1908 in Seattle), and to his 1951 obituary in the Seattle Daily Times.
From the census records I figured that Ruth Morrison was born about 1909, William about 1912, and Charles about 1914. My next step was to look for Washington Death Records - and found that a William E. Morrison (born about 1912) had died in Renton on 10 December 1985 and Charles L. Morrison (born about 1915) had died in Issaquah on 6 April 1981. A trip to the Kent Library to look at their South King County newspapers yielded this obituary for William:
"Charles L. Morrison", Seattle Times, 7 Apr. 1981, p.D6.
After exploring some online directories, I was able to determine that Barry Morrison probably still lived in Kent. I sent this email to Sergeant Lynch: Here’s the information:
Junetta C. Brown, age 64, lives in Seaside or Cannon Beach, Oregon.
She is the daughter of Ruth Morrison Kurtti, who was Helen C. Morrison’s daughter.
Barry J. Morrison, age 65+, lives on SE 227th Pl. in Kent. He is the son of William “Ed” Morrison, who was the son of Helen C. Morrison.
Leonard E. Morrison was living in Kent in 1986. He is the other son of William “Ed” Morrison, son of Helen C. Morrison.
From this information, Sgt. Lynch was able to contact Barry Morrison, who was astonished to learn that his grandmother's ashes were in the evidence locker at the Black Diamond Police Department. On Tuesday, March 6, we met with Barry and his family to formally turn over the ashes, and celebrate a successful conclusion of a puzzling case!
All content (c) Claudia Breland, 2022