Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New information from the census

In my last post, I mentioned finding my Grandmother (Gladys) in the 1920 census. Her family was living next door to her stepfather's parents in Cotton County, OK. I knew that her mother and stepfather divorced after the 1920 census but that she remained close to him and even received letters from him just before and after her marriage at age 15. I became curious about her stepfather, James W. Ivey. What happened to him after the divorce? I had found a school record for my Grandmother that showed him living with them after the divorce, but I didn't know anything else about him. I still haven't found his death records, but I decided to find him in the 1930 census.

When the 1930 census records were released, I searched for my Grandparents. My mother was born in 1930 but she was not on the census records. I did find her parents, Ocie (Thomas Osa)and Gladys (Sample) McCarley. So as I did this new search, I wasn't expecting what I found. James W. Ivey was living with his brother, and parents in Stephens County. Imagine my surprise when the next door neighbor was Cid (Sidney) and Mattie McCarley, my great grandparents with 3 of their boys, Floyd, Wilbern, and Carl. AND the next family was Ocie and Gladys McCarley. In 2002, when I first found Ocie and Gladys McCarley in the 1930 census, I didn't know that the Ivey family in the next household was my Grandmother's stepfather.

Finding the hidden in the census

Tonight I did a program for the Lancaster Genealogical Society on ancestry.com. In getting ready for the program, I recreated some searches to make sure that they illustrated the techniques I was going to demonstrate.

I could not find my grandmother (Gladys Mamie Sample) on the 1920 census. She told me that she moved to Comanche County, OK when she was one year old and she lived there until she married my grandfather. I had even searched the census microfilm for Comanche County page by page looking for her at one point.

But things have changed. You can do searches with ancestry that cannot be done otherwise. The search box on the 1920 census (and all of the other census years) allows you to search by first names without the last names. This was important in this case because my great grandmother had been married at least 4 times and I wasn't sure that I had all of her married names. My grandmother was about 5 years old in 1920, so I put her first name and age 5 with a +/- 2 years and her mother's first name, Sarah in the appropriate search boxes, then I limited it to Oklahoma. The search did not bring me anyone that seemed right. Sarah's name was Sarah Violet and a few records had her name as Violet so I tried the same search with Violet as the mother's name.

EUREKA! That search brought back Gladys M Ivey, age 5 with a mother, Violet Ivey, and father, James W. Ivey. I knew that my Grandmother considered James Ivey, her only father, even though he and her mother divorced. Why didn't I find them before? I didn't know when I first did this search when Sarah Violet was married to Ivey and they were not in Comanche County. They were in Cotton County, OK. My Grandmother didn't know that when she was 5 years old she was not living in Comanche County.

I miss her and wish I could share with her the amazing things I have found out about her family.