Monday, December 21, 2009

Case Study: McDonnell Part V- 1930 US federal census

If you've been following the story of Ol' Myrt's maternal grandmother's research you'll know that we've found documents with different birth years. Walking through this process is typical of research challenges most researchers face when compiling our family history.

Frances Irene (Goering) Froman McDonnell's year of birth is listed as 1908 on her funeral card and the 1905 birth date listed in the Social Security Death Index. Her death shows up in the Washington State Death Index, but I have yet to receive a copy of this, or her SS-5 ordered last month, for indications of birth year. Then there is my posting last week, where Gramma Frances' birth year is listed as 1905 from the Goering Family Bible in my possession.

When searching for my mom in the 1930 US federal census, we find the following detail, highlighted for clarity & indicating a birth year for her mother Frances. Often when looking for information about one ancestor, we run across unexpected information about a different ancestor -- and this is a good reason to search for every surviving document about each ancestor.

In this case, I was looking for my 18-month-old mom and found info on her mom.

SOURCE: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Specifically: Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington; Roll 2485; Page: 15A;
Enumeration District: 46; Image: 207.0. viewed 12 December 2009.

1930 minus 24 years in the census = 1906 estimated birth year for my maternal grandmother, Frances I., wife of head of household, Lowell S. Froman.

Census records can be off a year or two IF the birth year is reported correctly, quite simply because of "census day" in relationship to the respondent's birthday that year. In this case, my grandmother's birthday 22 August is too late to adversely affect the birth year shown on the 17 April 1930 enumeration date indicated by Goldie Eller on the census form. This means we have found yet ANOTHER birth year to deal with.

So in WHAT year WAS my maternal grandmother born?

1905 (from the Social Security Death Index & Goering Family Bible)
1906 (from the 1930 US federal census)
1908 (from the funeral card)

We're still working on this one, and more documents must be unearthed.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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