Thinking about my ancestors

My parents have been pretty cool about this homestead/mini-farm thing. A little bit of horror from my mother asking “you DO that?” and some double-checking that we’re not on the verge of starvation out here so far away from them, they’re pretty fine with it. They enjoyed seeing a litter of rabbit kits last year, and oohed and aaahed over them.

My father grew up on a farm. He remembers going out to catch the chicken for Sunday dinner. As the first person in his family to go to college, he could have been very offended that I chose to live a farm-ish life myself, but he isn’t. He says he raised us not to live the same way he’s living, but to have the ability to choose whatever way we wanted to live. Isn’t that awesome?

I’m thinking about his family tonight because I finally checked out the 1940 Census information that the government recently released. I clicked and clicked and scrolled through nearly 50 pages, and then I found my dad’s family on it! His father, mother, and older brother. I learned things about his family and the times they lived in that I hadn’t known before. At the time of the census, they lived in town. His father was a painter. They rented their house and paid $3.50 a month for it. His mother completed the 8th grade – a whole grade higher than his father did.

Things were different back then, weren’t they?

In the same neighborhood there were women who went out every day as housemaids in private residences. There were people with occupations I had never heard of. The cursive handwriting on the forms was nice to see in the current age of typing. A little look into a different age is pretty fun.

Curious to see what things you can find? http://www.ancestry.com/1940-census is where I found the forms. You do have to create an account, but it’s free and I’ve never received spam from free accounts there before. Enjoy!

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