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Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Few 1940 Census Findings

Has anyone else been poking around the 1940 Census?  Of course you have.  I only really have had the chance to focus on it seriously today though.  I found my mom; found my dad.  They were just little ones then.  Dad was four and mom was two going on three.  Both would have been rosy cheeked little bambinos free to tumble around without helicopter parents (a little like myself) catching them before they hit the ground.  Their knees would have been covered in the scrapes of a childhood well spent.  They were growing up in the likely dawn of the era of play clothes v. dress clothes.  I could be mixing memories with "The Sound of Music" and I digress.

So there was mom on the page in front of me at house #328 and lo and behold just across the street lived Celestine Sharkey and her 2 children at #325.  The reason this is significant is I thought the Sharkeys "disowned" my grandmother and her mother when her father, James Sharkey died.  Celestine was Gram's first cousin once removed and Gram may not have known this but I find it very hard to believe that her mother would not have known.  If you move in across the street from someone with the same last name as you, you do inquire as to whom their relations are and if you have anyone in common.  So the Sharkey plot thickens. 

When I got the house numbers I also went onto Google Maps and dropped myself down on the street to see what they neighborhood may have looked like.  Once, middle class and verdant, it is very much overwhelmed by urban blight now.  However, in front of the house next to my mom's was a little rose bush of small tea roses.  It is the bush I have been trying to replace for years.  It is the same kind of rose bush that was at the side of my Grandmother's house when she moved to the other side of the Valley in later years and where we lived with her when our parents divorced.  It can't be coincidence.  I am sure this rose bush dates back to my Gram whether the neighbor took a clipping from her or she from them, it is the same bush that she must have moved with her to Weymouth Road.

There was one more surprise waiting for me way over in Chautauqua County.  I didn't expect to see my Gram Lucas already head of the household.  My grandfather had died just a few months before the census which made me immediately think of how sad she must have felt to have to write that down.  Widow.


  1. Jen, I suspect that the reason they were on Ostrander was because of the Sharkey's acrost (upstatish) the street. I want that rose bush. I want it now. I am sorry that Ostrander has fallen on hard times. You may be too young to remember but before they moved to 54 Elm Street in Camillus, Uncle George, Aunt Carla and the boys live on Ostrander about four houses in from Salina Street. They left because they felt the neighborhood had gone downhill and that was over 40 years ago. Do you remember the Roots? (Stanley was in my grade and a girl was in your grade). They lived in the old Nye homestead there when we were all in school together. I don't know if they owned it. Mable went back to work in April after Stuart died in March. She wrote a letter asking for work from the Frewsburg school about a week after Stuart died. Would you have the where-with-all to find a job a week after your beloved died unexpectedly? Not only was she a saint but she was a warrior as well. A Saxon genius as I have heard Thoreau described.

  2. You are a hoot sound a lot like me in how I do searches...dropping down in google maps indeed!