Close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. That’s how I get by. — Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. That’s how I get by.
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The Moon at Lake Pleasant (May 26, 2012)
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 the family of Robert “Bob” Henry Green, the paternal grand uncle of my husband. He is the older brother of Max Earl Green, my husband’s grandfather. Robert Green (23) is featured here with his wife Dorothy (22) and their son, Larry Green (5). Robert and his wife Dorothy both graduated from high school. This census entry shows that in 1935 they lived on a rural plot of land outside Van Buren County in Michigan.
Robert "Bob" Green
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Van Buren County, Pine Grove Township, ED 80-26A, Sheet 5B, Lines 65-67.
Find out more about Robert Henry Green in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Robert Henry Green on FindAGrave.com.
Week 45. High School. Describe your middle and/or high school. Was it a large or small student body? Is the school still in existence today? How has it changed since you went there?
I attended Bridgeport Middle School from 1988-1991. Our mascot was the Bearcat. It housed students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades during my tenure across two floors. It always seemed to me that the school was huge compared to the number of classes it held. There were three gymnasiums and a massive recess area out back where we spent our lunch hour every day.
BMS introduced me to the idea of a Home Room – a period at the beginning of the day when we received announcements and instructions for the first 15 minutes or so. My Home Room was in classroom 111. We then moved from one period to the next, switching teachers throughout the day starting in 6th grade. Our schedules were given to us. We weren’t allowed to pick which classes we wanted until High School. They rotated us through various skill classes for 6 week time slots such as Home Economics, Cooking, Wood Shop, Metal Shop, Typing, Gym and the like. After I left BMS, Bridgeport changed their structure to support grades 1-4 in Elementary school and grades 5-8 in Middle school.
Jessica's Junior Year ID Card
Harry High. That’s what most people called Heritage High School while I attended from 1991 through 1995. It is located at 3465 N Center Road in Saginaw, Michigan. My father moved us from Bridgeport to Saginaw Township so I could attend Heritage instead of Bridgeport High School, which was filled with drugs and crime. Heritage was fairly new when I started attending. The Saginaw Township School District closed Eisenhower and one other school, combining them to create one central school for the area. I think we were the fifth graduating class for Heritage; the first official full graduating class had finished the year before I arrived.
Stock Photo of HHS
HHS was laid out in three massive circular domes connected to a central circle dome where the gymnasium was housed. Prom was in the gym, as were all of our student pep ralleys. There wasn’t a straight wall in the building. Most of the classrooms had access to the outside of the building but we rarely used those doors. The teachers kept them closed unless we were venturing outside for a class activity.
The lockers were inside the central circle and were double stacked – top and bottom. My locker was the very first one you saw when you walked into the school, in the first bank on the lower left. We kept the same locker all four years we were in the school. My locker was clean and always tidy. I don’t recall ever hanging pictures or fun things inside like so many of my 90′s classmates did.
Our mascot was the Hawk and our colors were Navy Blue and Kelly Green. We were considered a Class A school with 357 graduating seniors in the class of 1995. I was #57/357 in the ranks as far as GPA goes. I graduated with double honor chords. I think we had somewhere around 1,300 students on average. The school hasn’t changed too much since I was there, except there seems to be a lot more crime in the area now than 20 years ago. I think that might be true everywhere.
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This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Peter Joseph Zimmer, the great-grandfather of the second wife of my father. Stay with me now! Peter Zimmer (age 70) had a 4th grade education. He is listed here with his second wife Amelida (age 48) who has a 7th grade education. Also shown are his daughters Mary Berniece Zimmer (23) and Rita Marie Zimmer (18) and their young son Kendall Peter Zimmer (8). Kendall was the grandfather of my father’s second wife.
Peter Joseph Zimmer passed away just one month after this census was enumerated. He died on on May 6, 1940.
Peter Joseph Zimmer
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, St Clair County, St Clair, ED 74-62, Sheet 16A Lines 37-40 & Sheet 16B Line 1
Find out more about Peter Joseph Zimmer in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Peter Joseph Zimmer on FindAGrave.com.
Our hearts go out to the Sanelli family.
Published in The Arizona Republic on June 6, 2012
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Robert Nathaniel Kane and his son, my late step-father Robert “Bob” Henry Kane. He’s living with his mother Eva Z. (Stevens) Kane, age 52. Eva’s husband Joseph A. Kane Sr. had passed away one year earlier on April 13, 1939.
Robert Nathaniel Kane is age 32 with a high school diploma and his wife Elizabeth Pauline (Rakestraw) Kane is 24 years old with an 11th grade education. Their children Robert Henry (my late step-father, age 3) and William Franklin (age 3 months) are living in the home. Also listed are Robert Nathaniel Kane’s brother Joseph, his wife Justine, his brother James and his wife Margaret with their children James Henry and Peggy Louise. This was one big happy family.
Robert Nathaniel Kane
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Oakland County, Royal Oak/Ferndale, ED 63-39, Sheet 17A, Lines 25-35.
Find out more about Robert Nathaniel Kane in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Robert “Bob” Henry Kane on FindAGrave.com.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Johanna (Grabowski) Mielke, my first cousin once removed. She is shown here living with her husband Elmer Mielke and children Chester Mielke (10) and Jane Mielke (8). Also in the home is Johanna’s sister Florence Grabowski (16). Elmer is 33 and graduated from high school while Johanna is 30 with an 8th grade education. The family is living in the same town as they did in 1935 but not in the same home.
Elmer and Johanna (Grabowski) Mielke
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-49B, Sheet 13A, Line 28
Find out more about Johanna (Grabowski) Mielke in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Johanna lived to be 97 years old and has many family members who remember her fondly. Check out the memorial for Johanna Mielke on FindAGrave.com.
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.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of my maternal grandmother, Mary Rose (Stroik) Karpuk. Mary was living as a single mother, separated from her husband Andrew Karpuk who had moved out just a few months earlier. Mary is 29 years old with seven kids to feed and a 5th grade education. To this day, I still don’t know how she pulled it off. She is living in the same home as she was five years earlier in 1935. Her children were Edward Karpuk (12), Rose Karpuk (11), Donald Karpuk (9), Helen Karpuk (7), Andrew Karpuk Jr. (4), Albert Karpuk (1) and baby Alice Karpuk (4 months).
I have come to realize that in the 1940 Census, when the designation for “Married” is crossed out in pencil with the #7 shown, it is a special code that means “Separated but not Divorced.” I saw this a lot during my research.
This is a particularly heart-wrenching census entry for our family. Mary was struggling to make ends meet with these seven young children since her husband had left just months earlier. To make matters even worse, this census was enumerated on April 2, 1940 – just three days before her baby Alice Pauline Karpuk died of pneumonia. She was only four months old.
Mary (Stroik) Karpuk
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Michigan, Saginaw County, Saginaw, ED 73-49A, Sheet 1A, Lines 33-40.
Find out more about Mary Rose (Stroik) Karpuk in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Mary Rose (Stroik, Kasper, Karpuk, Dreffs) Romaine and her baby Alice Pauline Karpuk on FindAGrave.com.
This 1940 US Federal Census entry features the family of Ferdinand DeSoto Fox, the paternal great-grandfather of the husband of my sister-in-law. Just move along people, move along… Ferdinand Fox was living with his wife Arley (aka Arlie) L. (nee Merritt) Fox and their children: son Gale (or Gail) E. Fox (23) and daughter Marjorie M. Fox (12). Ferdinand was 50 years of age and is listed as having a 3rd grade education. His wife Arley was 44 and had a 6th grade education. They are all living in the same house as they did in 1935.
Notice the household just before Ferdinand lists another Fox family: Thomas E. Fox with his wife Hallie M. and children Leslie, Aleen and Nolene (lines 55-59). I’m not sure if/how they are related to Ferdinand. This may have been a cousin of his.
Ferdinand DeSoto Fox
Source citation: 1940 US Federal Census, State of Missouri, Howell County, Pottersville, ED 46-19, Sheet 11B, Lines 60-63.
Find out more about Ferdinand DeSoto Fox in my Cole Green Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Check out the memorial for Ferdinand Fox and Arley (Merritt) Fox on FindAGrave.com.