Sunday, June 24, 2012

Census Sunday - The Gardners in the 1940 US Census


State & National Census Reports are filled with information for genealogists. Both the population & nonpopulation schedules give us insights into the lives of our ancestors. What have you found that is Surprising? Reassuring? Bewildering?
Good friends: Jimmy Ryan & Joy Gardner in the Bronx


Many of us are stepping into the 1940’s by way of the US Census. Our family has been busy with weddings this spring; our son’s and our nephew’s. Now that they are behind us and those young men have happily begun married life I have had an opportunity to begin my search.

I was happy to discover that New York State has been indexed. The first people I wanted to find were my mother and her parents, the Nathaniel Gardner family in New York City. Thanks to ancestry.com I found them quickly.

The Gardners were living at 2856 East 197th Street in the Bronx. I had this address from letters and other family documents. They rented their apartment for $37.00 a month. Nathan was 57 and a telegrapher for the Western Union Telegraph Company. [He had worked for them since he was a young boy delivering telegrams on his bicycle.] He worked 46 hours a week. [He had asthma and his doctor wanted him to work less hours. He finally decided to retire when WWII began and he was needed to work even more hours.] His income was $1,200.

His wife, Helen (Coyle) Gardner, was 42. Their daughter, Joy [indexed as Jay], was 11 years old. All of them were born in New York City.

I even found my mother’s good friend, Jimmy Ryan, who lived next door. His father, Michael, was a subway motorman.

There were no big surprises in the report. Instead it is reassuring to see what I expected to find. My mother and her parents were in their apartment in New York City where they would live for a few more months. In November they would move to a little country house in Columbia County.

When I see the 1950 Census I will see that Helen is a widow, still living in the small house in the country. Her only child, my mother, will be a young married woman. To see our family stories verified is comforting. 

1 comment:

  1. I am loving the 1940 census. I enjoyed reading your summary and your thoughts about what you found. It's especially interesting projecting ahead to 1950 making us aware how quickly life changes.

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