Welcome to My First 40 Finds in the 1940 US Census! This blog series is a tribute to the first 40 entries that I located without the use of an index.
The 1940 US Federal Census was released online to the public on April 2, 2012. Within the first three days, I had already found 40 families from my various tree branches. I spent six months prior to the release researching the exact addresses and locations for these families so I could find them quickly upon the census release.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features a single man named Anthony Norczyk. How is Tony related to my family? That’s a very good question.
Before she passed away, my grandmother’s best friend Marie Dombrowski confided in me during a family history interview that Tony was the father of my grandmother’s eighth child, my aunt Mary Ann (Dreffs, Schutt) Wheeler. Aunt Mary was born in between the time that my grandmother’s second husband, Andrew Karpuk, left her and her third husband, my grandfather Walter Dreffs, moved in.
Mary never had a birth certificate, and the family legend is that my grandmother used to “hide her in the back room when company came over because she didn’t want her ex-husband Andrew [Karpuk] to know she existed.” Mary was the only child who – suspiciously – was born at home and never had a birth certificate. When my Aunt Mary asked for permission to get married at age 17 in 1958, she needed a birth certificate. Her mother Mary took her down to the Saginaw County Courthouse and stated that her father was Walter Dreffs (my grandfather). On the divorce papers for Mary and Walter Dreffs in 1958, Walter claimed Mary Ann as his daughter and was scheduled to provide child support for her until she turned 18, but he died suddenly on December 3, 1958 before her 18th birthday.
In a search for clues 72 years later, I stumbled upon this census entry for Tony just a few blocks from my grandmother’s house. He worked at the same place my grandmother did, down at the Foundry in Saginaw. Is Tony Norczyk my Aunt Mary’s father? We will probably never know since Aunt Mary, Tony and my grandmother Mary are all passed away now. This census gives us a clue that my grandmother’s best friend Marie may have been right after all.
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-49B, Sheet 17B, Line 80
My aunt Mary Ann (Dreffs, Schutt) Wheeler was born May 9, 1941 just 13 months after this census was enumerated. She passed away on December 26, 2002 in Bay City, Michigan. Find out more about Mary Ann Dreffs in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Share on Facebook