Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census - Part 9

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the subsequent months. I'll also list who's missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In Part 3 of this series, I presented census information on one of my paternal great-grandmothers, Mary Jane BARBER. This post looks at the household in which her widowed mother, Mary Jane FREDENBURG lived in 1930. I refer to my great-great-grandmother as Mary Jane (the Elder) in this post, to differentiate her from her daughter, whenever it is necessary.

Mary Jane (Fredenburg) Barber, c. 1902

I had a great deal of difficulty finding Mary Jane (the Elder) in the 1930 Federal Census at I knew that her husband, Orlando BARBER, had died in 1910 in Lapeer, Lapeer County, Michigan. I found her (again, with much difficulty) in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, married to a man named Fred SMITH and living in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. A map of Michigan shows that Genesee and Lapeer Counties are adjacent, and this family emigrated back and forth frequently between counties. In both the 1920 and 1930 Censuses, I had to look for Mary Jane's children in order to find her. Alexander "Red" BARBER, Mary Jane's middle son, was living in Fremont Township, Tuscola County, Michigan in 1930, and that is where I found Mary Jane. I had to do some creative searching, as the household was indexed under "Barter."

The household, enumerated in E.D. 20, sheet 5A, consisted of:
  • Alexander BARBER, head of the household and owner of the home, which was located on a farm. There was no radio listed, indicating the house probably did not have electricity. He was a male, white, 25-year-old single person, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan, as were his parents. Able to speak English, he was employed as a farmer in general farm work (self-employed), but not a veteran.
  • Mary [Jane] BARBER, mother, female, white, 54 years old, Widowed ["Divorced" has been crossed out], age 16 at the time of her first marriage, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan. Her father is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, and her mother's birthplace is stated as Scotland. The correct answers should have been New York and Michigan, respectively. She was able to speak English.
  • Levi KELLER, Lodger ["Servant" has been crossed out], male, white, 51 years old, Widowed ["Divorced" has been crossed out], age 25 at the time of his first marriage, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan. His father was born in the "U.S." ["not known" is crossed out], mother was born in New York. He was able to speak English, and employed as a farm laborer (no doubt on Alex's farm), working for wages. He also was not a veteran.
What is interesting here is that my family oral records state Mary Jane and Levi married in 1922. I haven't gotten their marriage record yet to verify or discredit this statement. I do know they did marry, as I have Levi and Mary Jane's obituaries, and Mary Jane's death record; these three documents show secondary source evidence of a marriage. Another interesting fact is that in 1939, Mary Jane's daughter, Mary Jane BARBER (my great-grandmother), married Levi's son from his first marriage, Archie KELLER (they divorced in 1946).

This was a third marriage for both Levi and Mary Jane (the Elder). Their children who married each other were both from their respective first marriages, and it appears that they were both widowed in their first marriages and divorced from their second spouses. Levi died in 1945, and Mary Jane never married again.

She had had eight children with Orlando BARBER; the first three had died in infancy between 1894 and 1901. The five surviving children were Clara May, James Albert, Alexander, Arthur, and my great-grandmother, Mary Jane. So far, I have only found Alex and Mary Jane in the 1930 Census. Mary Jane (the Elder) did not have any other children with her subsequent husbands, Fred SMITH and Levi KELLER.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12)

1 comment:

Tim Agazio said...


I really enjoy these census posts of yours. There is a common thread in just about all of them when looking for female ancestors. The custom we have in the US of women taking their husband's last name drives me crazy when trying to locate them in records like the census. I have to admit most of my research has centered on the male lines because trying to sort out maiden names, married names, re-married names can be quite confusing. I like the Italian custom - when married, the woman keeps her maiden name. Children take their father's surname. In all official government documents a woman's name stays the same throughout her's just so much easier! I just don't really understand where this custom came from...