Roots, Not The Plant Kind

Television watching in our household consists of Texas Rangers baseball games, NCIS, some HGTV, and a few westerns (when Hank can find one). Hank and I have come to the conclusion that television programming offers slim pickings for us. The newer 'family sitcoms' are, in my opinion, anything but family friendly viewing. Call me a prude but TV shows laced with sexual innuendo are not what I'd want my children watching, let alone me. Occasionally, however, there is something on the 'big channels', ABC, NBC, or CBS that will catch my attention.

On Friday night NBC offers a program called Who Do You Think You Are, in a nutshell it's about celebrities searching their genealogical roots. Why I find this interesting I don't really know but I do. Maybe it's that we all have this innate desire to learn about our earliest family beginnings. I sometimes wonder if the celebrity is really surprised at the findings or just acting that they are...they are actors, ya know.

Lately, I've been doing a small bit to help in the digging of familial roots. Back in April, the 1940's census was released, where'd been held hostage I know not but it was a big deal when it became available. So that accessing this vast data bank can be easier, the important information, surname, names, ages, where they lived, etc., is being indexed by several thousand volunteers. As each state's census is completed it becomes a searchable data base accessible by anyone doing genealogical research. I am one of those volunteers. Ever try reading seventy two year old handwriting, it can be hard on the old eyes, especially if the copy you're working off of is faded. And, as is the case with many of us, handwriting gets sloppy if we're in a hurry. 

Here's a sample of one I did this morning, this handwriting was pretty good.

Once a sheet is completed, it's submitted for verification. After the verification is completed, each volunteer is able to go and see how accurate they were. So far I have a ninety seven percent rating, I'm shooting for one hundred.

This is a verified sheet.

Last night, as I was working on a sheet from Illinois, I came across some families from Russia, some families from Poland and several families from Germany. I stopped for a few moments and wondered how these families felt one short year later when the U. S. entered World War 2. How did they deal with the news of Germany invading Russia and Poland? Were the German families persecuted for something they had no control? I've also wondered about the boys eighteen and older, how many of them went to fight in the war never to return home. And what about their families now? Do they have desires to know about where Uncle Ben was living before he went off to war? Or what about grandma, what was she doing before the war broke out? 

I've also discovered that much like today, many, and I do mean many, twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings were single and STILL living at home. Hank was quick to point out that in 1940 the Depression was still in full swing and if you had a roof over your head you stayed put to help out. It's interesting to see who was a working in the CCC, the WPA, etc., who was working as a lawyer, doctor, bell hop, oil field, stenographer, laundress, so many interesting jobs, and who was not working. Many families had taken in lodgers and there were families that still had their maids, yes, maids, plural. 

I'm getting quite a view of U.S. life in 1940, I'm now somewhat more anxious to delve into live in 1940 Mexico and hopefully find some of my roots.

1 comment:

  1. How cool is that?! Indexing is something I've never done, but I really should try it.