Sunday, April 8, 2012

My dad Robert - 18 April 1940

As I mentioned before, last Monday (2 April 2012) the 1940 US Federal Census was released. As the different (lack of a better word) organizations began to make the scans available, my sister and I were trying to find our dad. We knew he lived in Huntington Park, California with the family of a friend, and the friend I was sure he lived with, I couldn't find anywhere in the on-line genealogy world. The last known address we had for my dad prior to Lola being "sent away" was the 1930 US Census and we knew that wasn't going to be a good resource.

My dad was born in Mason City, IA on 11 October 1917. Sometime in 1927, when he was 9 or 10, my grandparents and dad moved to California after a trip here to visit Lola's brother Bill Meents. In January of 1930, Lola had some sort of "incident" and was hospitalized for a few weeks for depression. She was released.  On 2 April 1930, the family was on the US Census in Huntington Park. My dad was 12 years old.  By January of 1936, my grandmother was committed. My grandfather and my dad were not in her life at this point. My dad would have been about 18 years of age.

So as we were trying to figure out how to find my dad on the 1940 Census (and knowing our only means of finding him was by an address) I remembered that I have a copy of the marriage certificate of my dad and his first wife, Fern. They married 17 August 1940. I pulled that out of my files and wrote the address he had listed on the certificate down. I then tried to determine where the heck that enumeration district was. My sister was already getting the hang of figuring the districts out so I gave her the address and the mission to find dad was hers.  Within about 10 minutes she found him! He was living at the same address that was listed on his marriage certificate and it was in fact the home of his friend's family that I could never seem to find on line anywhere - The McGowans. He was listed as a 22 year old lodger at their home on 18 April 1940, and was actually living there on 1 April 1935. My dad is at the bottom of below image.

National Archives

That bit of info was interesting as I am still not certain when my grandfather, Red, split, so I now know it was sometime before 1 April 1935. Once I can find Red on the 1940, maybe that will help a little bit. I know in January of 1936, Red was living in South Gate, California. Oh heck, maybe knowing his whereabouts in 1935 won't help piece things together. Or at least, not just yet.

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