Sunday, August 12, 2012

Census Sunday: Margaret Killeen Sprott


Whenever we talk about my dad’s aunts, “the sisters,” we usually mean Lillie, Mae, and Helen.  But there was another sister:  Margaret Mary Killeen Sprott.  I have no memory of her.  I’m sure I must have seen her at some point in my childhood, but if she ever came to a family gathering during my teen or adult years, I don’t know it. The only picture of her that I’m aware of is one in Helen Parker’s scrapbook.

captioned "Miss Margaret"
from Helen Parker's scrapbook


So I was especially glad to find her in the 1940 census.  It wasn’t easy.  I couldn’t find her at all on Ancestry, but found her right away using the FamilySearch index.  I studied the handwriting to try to figure out how some Ancestry indexer might have misinterpreted it. 



The spelling looks obvious to me.  However, after many attempts using weird spellings, I found her listed as SprAtt.  That’s so funny because her husband Otto was known by his nickname Jack, Jack Sprott.  But “Jack Spratt” just slips off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Click to enlarge

In 1940, Jack (42) and Margaret (39) owned their home worth $4000 on Sixth Street in the Kempsville area of Princess Anne County in Virginia.  This is the same house they lived in in 1935. Judging by the 1930 census, they bought the house sometime between 1930 and 1935 because they had been renting a house on Atlans Avenue in Norfolk.  Jack was from South Carolina and had completed one year of college.  He worked as a traffic manager for a trucking firm, earning $2700 in 1939, which equates to roughly $44,575 today.  Margaret completed two years of high school and was busy as a homemaker and mother to two boys.

Their son William J. “Billy” at age 9 had completed three years of school while his younger brother Joseph Barry was in his first year of school at age 6.

When the Sprotts lived in Kempsville, it was an unincorporated town.  It didn't become part of the city of Virginia Beach until 1963.  I don’t know if the Sprotts’ home on Sixth Street is the same street that leads to the oceanfront today, if it goes by some other name, or if it’s a street that no longer exists.  However, Daddy often spoke about summers as a boy, riding the cable car to the beach to visit with his Sprott cousins.  


8 comments:

  1. I'm always amazed by the numbers from back then: the cost of houses, the salaries...

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    1. I know. Everyone sounds more poor than they really were.

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  2. Are documents still handwritten today or are they all digitised so there will be less spelling or interpretation of words mistakes? Well done for finding your aunt.

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    1. I wonder how today's census forms will appear in the future. In 2010 we received a typed form in the mail which I filled in by hand, so I assume some day someone will be interpreting my handwriting. But I don't know. In the census records we can see, errors are a combination of mistakes by informants, mistakes by enumerators, and mistakes by indexers. Then those of us reading them add our own mistakes.

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  3. Haven't the 1940 Census been a revelation? That is if the spelling is correct and the handwriting legible. Which in most cases of the ones I've accessed have been. Good job reading between the lines to figure out where and when things happened between 1930 and 1940. I've discovered some very interesting facts that way as well. Thanks for visiting CITexas Gal. I hope I'm on the way back to My Family Tree and History. Your doing a great job with yours.

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    1. Most of the records I indexed had fairly good handwriting, but I did read a couple doozies - those enumerators should never have been allowed!

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  4. This is the aunt that Daddy called "Aunt Morgie" the Sprotts were at Aunt Helen's when Joann Holland married and when Cliff married. She had dark hair and wasn't as tall as the rest of sisters. Maybe you were away at college?? Glad you found her picture. I didn't think we had any!

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    1. I don't recall attending any wedding, so I must have been away.

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