the 1940 census, that is.
So enough whining and pining for my ancestors. I have at least been able to spend a few hours of quality time with them since the 1940 census was released on 2 April.
My approach is to start with Texas counties where I know my parents’ families lived, especially counties with smaller populations. Not all of them would be living there in 1940, of course, but I can probably count on quite a few of them still being there.
My father, his parents, and many of his siblings should be in Fannin County, though some of his older siblings might be in other Texas counties and even in other states. Other counties to check will be Collin, Hunt, and Grayson.
Many members of my mother’s family, possibly including her and her first husband, may have started to move to California around this time; I am not really sure when the exodus from Texas started, but I would guess around the late 1930s or early 1940s, and I know that my older half-brother was born in California in 1945. However, I was pretty sure that there would be any number of relatives still living in Baylor, and on this score I was correct.
Using Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub’s 1940 Census ED Finder page, I started at the beginning of the Enumeration Districts listed for Baylor County, 12-1. I made it through 30 of the 46 pages and did recognize many names of families that I knew when I lived there, but did not find any relatives. The second night I decided to search on the last ED listed (12-7), since the lower-numbered ones appeared to be for the town of Seymour and I knew that my relatives lived on farms outside of town.
Of the 26 pages for ED 12-7, I downloaded 10.
The first family I found were actually not direct relatives, but the family of my half-brother’s grandfather, Officer Roberts. The other people shown in the household were one of Officer’s daughters (my brother’s aunt) and two grandsons whose parents (my brother’s uncle and his wife) had died a few years previously. Officer was widowed by this time and would die not long after the census, and my mother and her husband would then take the two boys in.
The next family to be found were my mother’s parents and her three youngest surviving siblings (the youngest sibling died in the early 1930s). I was surprised to see that my grandfather Kirby Moore was listed not as a farmer, but as a laborer for some kind of county project. It did not surprise me that my grandfather received schooling only through sixth grade, but it did surprise me that my grandmother finished high school (though it was reported that her father was anxious to see that his children received a good education, including music lessons, my grandmother was still a child when he died and the family fortunes may have suffered after his death).
Kirby and Eula Moore in 1940
Other finds were relatives of my mother’s mother, several families who married into my mother’s family, the family of the father of one of my friends, and the family of the stepfather of another of my friends (these last two were on the same page, which was only three pages from my grandparents - perhaps we were fated to be friends).
Not bad for a start. My next steps will be to finish browsing Baylor County, check the Lancaster area of Dallas County (where many of my mother’s aunts, uncles, and cousins would probably still be living), and then go on to Fannin and nearby counties.
(And there has been other genealogy-related activity as well. A researcher with whom I have corresponded in the past sent me the link to a newspaper article on Chronicling America with a fabulous story about my great-great grandfather Spencer Moore - stay tuned!)