Sunday, July 15, 2012

Census Sunday: Mae Holland


Mae Holland
about 1969 or 1970
at Helen Parker's house

My great-aunt on my father's side Mary Agnes "Mae" Killeen was married to Clifton Maynard Holland.  For awhile they lived with her mother Mary Theresa Walsh, but by 1930 Mae and Cliff had their own home just a couple streets away.

And that’s where they still were in 1940:  2016 Richmond Avenue in Portsmouth, Virginia, a home valued at $3500.

2016 Richmond Avenue
Portsmouth,  Virginia
from Google Maps

Cliff (age 42) had only a 6th grade education.  Mae (age 41) completed one year of high school. Their son John (age 23) likewise had completed one year of high school while daughter Jean (age 14) had completed six years of school.

Cliff was a salesman for an automobile garage.  He worked all of 1939 earning only $720.  He worked 60 hours the last week of March 1940.  Good grief!  That sounds like a lot of work for little pay. Thank goodness their son John was still at home earning a good living as a welder for the Navy shipyard; he made $1100 in 1939. 

John as a baby probably 1918 or 1919


Their other daughter Mary Evelyn “Ebbie” was no longer living there, so I’m guessing she had married and moved away by then.  As of today, I have not found her in the 1940 census, so it is possible she moved to a state that has not yet been indexed. 

Mae and Ebbie 1920

But it’s also possible the enumerator’s handwriting was misread resulting in the indexer recording the name wrong.  On Ancestry, my Holland family is indexed as “Halland.”  Thankfully, on FamilySearch the names are correct. 

Click to enlarge


10 comments:

  1. Handwriting is difficult to decipher at the best of times, perhaps the information should have been printed in capital letters. Do they still handwrite the information nowadays or is it all digitally recorded?

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    1. When we received our Census questionnaire in 2010, we handwrote the response. That means when it gets indexed, somebody is going to have to read it. The indexes are typed though.

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  2. Aunt Mae was always so sweet! I miss all the fun times at Aunt Helen's house.

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    1. Yes, she, Helen, and Lillie wrote the book on sweet little ol' ladies.

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  3. Love the old baby photos!
    I found mistakes in recordings in the 1930 census for my family...names misspelled and wrong initials. It's so much work there are bound to be errors.

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    1. Since I've been indexing the 1940 Census as part of the 1940 US Census Community Project, I fully understand the mistakes, especially with handwriting. I've read some HORRIBLE handwriting. In 1940 they must have used something like a Sharpie pen because lower case a/o and i/e and u/n are very often hard to read. Today I read a name that I had to think about a long time -- was it Wite, Witt, or Will. Misinformation was often due to the knowledge of the informant -- they sometimes just didn't know the answer and made their best guess. And sometimes the enumerator simply made a mistake, such as recording the gender wrong.

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  4. The 1940 census certainly does show us just how difficult things were economically for our ancestors. I've seen that in my own research as well.

    Ah...deciphering the handwriting in the 1940 census. Sometimes it's so easy to read, and sometimes it's so difficult! I actually indexed two batches that were TYPED! Talk about easy!

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    1. Typed! How did someone do that? Surely they didn't lug a big ol' Underwood around from house to house. Or maybe the typewriter salesman was the enumerator. Now wouldn't that make a story!

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  5. Wages do look very low compared to today's salaries. Of course, prices for food & lodging were less. Wish there was a way to compare to get an idea if our ancestors were middle class or what.

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    1. I went to www.usinflationcalculator.com. $720 equates to $11,900 today; $1100 is about $18,000. That's considered poverty level today. So I'm not really sure it's a fair calculator. The calculator figures buying power, which might not be the same as earnings. I don't know.

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