Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1940 Census - What Memories Will It Trigger?

I was most excited about the 1940 census because it would allow me to find my grandparents, Floyd and Mildred Robertson, as a married couple, along with my mom Kay and her brother, Ron.  Because they lived in a rural area of northwestern Missouri, they were relatively easy to find.

I sent the image to my Uncle Ronnie, my genealogy partner in crime.  The image triggered some wonderful memories:

The 1940 census says the folks paid $6 a month in rent.  Wow.  Your grandpa's occupation was salesman (clerk) in an electrical store.  I'm guessing that the store belonged to Ed Noble and was in Gilman City.  I know that within a year or so after 1940, Ed Noble had a contract to teach morse code and electrical circuits to Army recruits in Kansas City. Ed was one of the early amateur radio operators in the country.  He had a big-rig Ham radio setup in his hardware store (and in his home) and continued to use it until he died.  I saw one rig and he explained its operation to me when I was a teenager.  I was impressed.  Maybe this, being state of the art, was what led me to be interested in electronics. Ed was also into TV and built/repaired sets all over the Harrison County.  I am sure your grandpa learned about electrical circuits from Ed.  After WWII, your grandpa again worked with Ed wiring half the farm houses in Harrison County when the Rural Electrical Association (REA) went into effect and made it possible to bring electricity to people living in the country.  I also know that Ed had a furniture store in Bethany (after WWII - I believe) and I think your grandpa worked for him there.

When you find your family in the 1940 census, be sure to share the images and see what memories they trigger!  It helped me add more to the story of my grandfather beyond just names and dates on a page.

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