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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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Driver’s Training Certificate

During my scanning “marathon” a couple of weeks ago, I found this amongst other photos and papers that were in a box that belonged to my brother. This is his certificate from Driver’s Training School, 6000th Transportation Squadron at Fuchu Air Station in Japan. He completed this training on February 22, 1958 at the age of 18 years old. I don’t know the length of this course – whether it was a few weeks or longer (I’m hoping my sister will comment if she knows how long it was!).

 

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When the 1940 U.S. Census was released in digital form earlier this year, I used the 1930 Enumeration District converter by Steve Morse to begin locating grandparents and my parents. As each state was indexed in entirety, it became much easier to find relatives. Now that Ancestry has the complete 50 state index (and Familysearch is not too far behind), I wanted to see how many of my aunts and uncles I was able to find.

The verdict: all but two out of 8!

My paternal grandparents, Loyd and Ella Amore, are empty-nesters living at 1236 Vine in Tuscarawas Township in Coshocton County, Ohio. (I had previously written about this find at Census Saturday – 1940 Census Finds). Of their seven children, I located my dad and 4 of his siblings. My dad was stationed at Patterson Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) outside of Dayton, Ohio living in the Enlisted Men Barracks. His oldest sister, Gertrude, and her husband, Walter Shackelford, along with their two children resided at 611 Larzelere in Zanesville, Ohio.

611 Larzelere Ave.
Zanesville, Ohio
Source: Trulia, Neohrex

My dad’s other sister, Marie, and her husband Robert Werkley, are lodgers in a household at Morristown in Morris County, New Jersey. Both are involved in the Salvation Army.  His brother, Paul, is living in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan and his other brother, Bervil, is living with his wife and family, in Jackson Township, Coshocton, Ohio.

I am still looking for my dad’s other two brothers – (William) Gail Amore and Norman Edgar Amore.

My maternal grandparents, Glen and Vesta Johnson, as well as my mother, Mary, were enumerated in Fairfield (present day Fairborn), Greene County, Ohio, living at 40 Ohio Street.

40 Ohio St, Fairborn, Ohio (house on right)
Source: Trulia, @2012 Google

Besides my grandparents and mother, occupants also include my uncle – Glen Roy Jr., and my newborn brother, Jim. My grandparents had a family of lodgers living there – the Theodore Fern family.

My mother’s sister, Genevieve, was found as a nursing student at Miami Valley Hospital located at 134 Apple Street in Dayton, Ohio.

Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Ohio
Source: Esco Communications

The next people on the 1940 U.S. Census who I want to find are the siblings and their children of both sets of grandparents. I’ve already made a pretty good dent in that list.

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In April of this year, one of my distant relatives (by blood – close by choice!), sent me an email to let me know that she had ordered a 67-marker DNA test from Family Tree so that her first cousin (again, a distant cousin to me) could take it in order to get some information on the ancestors of our ancestor – Jacob Johnson born December 11, 1787 in New Jersey.  Johnson, according to Wikipedia, is the 2nd most common surname in the United States.  Good Grief! At least it’s not Smith!  My cousin told me that the Johnson project had 1000 members!

At the end of May, I received another communication from my cousin. She reported that the common 12 marker test showed that we belonged in Hapologroup R1b1a2 – common to Europe, the United Kingdom. That didn’t surprise me. The variation showed R1b1a2a1a1a – the country is “unidentified.” Good Grief!

Fast forward another month and a half to July, and more information came back – including the names of some other men who “matched” my distant cousin.  Several emails have been traded back and forth and family information has been shared. However, there aren’t any known relationship between their ancestors and our Jacob Johnson. We did see that there are a lot of the same given names: Jacob, John, James, and William. But then again, those names are almost as commonplace as Johnson!  Good Grief!

I have tons of information to try to sort out – I think I have finally straightened out all the emails so I have a way to read all of them without resorting to different folders in my email. Now, I just need to decide on a good way to sort out all of this information.

I do feel that I’m not “pulling my weight” as far as research right now.  The gal who started the ball rolling on this DNA project and one of our other cousins, have been digging into tax lists, land records, and other types of documents to glean as much as they can out of them while I have been reading and feeling pretty overwhelmed!  Perhaps once I am able to sort names, places, and dates, I’ll have a better handle on what still needs to be done!

Source: Family Tree DNA image from www.familytreedna.com, 2001-2012 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. 28 July 2012.

Source: Emails from Virginia Nuta: April 10, 2012; May 24, 2012; July 2, 2012. 

Source: Johnson surname rank – Wikipedia.

Blog post copyright 2012 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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Lloyd & Ella Amore

I found my paternal grandparents, Loyd and Ella (House) Amore, living at 1236 E. Vine Street in Tuscarawas Township of the City of Coshocton, County of Coshocton, Ohio, in the 1940 Census. They are the only occupants of the home that they are renting for $16 a month.

My grandfather, Loyd, appears to be the person who responded to the enumerator by way of a check mark at the beginning of his name. He is listed as the Head of the family and my grandmother, Ella, is listed as his wife. Both are shown to be White, and he gives his age as 58, with her age shown as 57. Grandpa was born on March 5, 1882, and Grandma was born June 22, 1882, so their ages match up. She was just a couple months away from being 58. They are shown as married. Their education was a little surprising for me. My grandfather completed the 8th grade whereas Grandma completed two years of high school. They were born in Ohio and resided in the same house in 1935. They are not living on a farm. Grandpa was at work for pay in his own business as a Painter for 32 hours during the week of March 24-30. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 for a total income of $1000 and did not receive money from other sources. My grandmother was enumerated as being at work in the home.

Other than the education information, none of the answers on my grandparents’ 1940 Census surprised me. What is sad for me is knowing that this would be the last census my grandmother would be enumerated because she died of breast cancer six years later. I would never get to know her and my sister was just a baby when she passed away. My grandfather would be enumerated in one more census: 1950, before he died in February 1955. How sad that he would be listed as a widower.

Now, if I can just locate them in the 1930 Census living at 720 S. Fifth (5th) Street in Coshocton, I’ll be all set!

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So many 1940 census images and so many indexers but according to FamilySearch – not enough arbitrators. I read blog posts and information about arbitration and decided I had indexed quite a bit and remained consistent at 97%-98% accurate so I dipped my toes in the water and requested to be considered as an arbitrator. Apparently, they are really desperate because I received the “right to arbitrate” about 2 hours later!

When I started to arbitrate indexed census images, it looked as if Indiana was on the brink of being “searchable” (that was an erroneous perception it turns out) so I started with that state as I had plenty of collateral relatives there. Didn’t find any as I started arbitrating (I had already indexed a lot of Indiana census images). What I did find made me scratch my head.

Most of the dual indices (each census image is indexed twice – the differences are then arbitrated) – were close enough to each other with minor exceptions – an “o” instead of an “a” or not paying attention that the “S” typed for “Son” turned out to be “sister”. Easy arbitration. Then came what I am calling – the indexers who apparently do not read any instructions. If there is not a dwelling number, instead of viewing the previous page to see what the dwelling number is, the indexer put <blank>. Really? Seriously?  Or how about a place lived five years previous for a child who is only 2? Really? Seriously? I’ve even found a <blank> in place of a surname because generally the census taker did not write down the surname for each member of the family with the same last name. Really? Seriously? That sort of thing leaves me scratching my head.

Of course, I am still indexing records in between doing arbitration. When I do index, I try to be very careful and mindful of how my transcriptions are viewed by the person who will arbitrate what I’ve done.

I believe the biggest reason there are so many “oopsies” is due to indexers not reading directions or making sure the highlight is adjusted to the line that’s being transcribed. That being said, some of the census takers’ penmanship leaves a LOT to be desired!  Spelling errors and such are forgiveable especially when trying to decipher some of those squiggles – such as lots of names crossed out and rewritten above what’s crossed out – looks like a 2nd grader has written everything! 

So to  my fellow indexers and arbitrators – we can only do the best we can and be as conscientious as possible. Quality before quantity – and a prayer that we are reading it right doesn’t hurt!

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Thousands (millions?) of people began trying to access the Archives.co
Site for the 1940 Census early this morning only to learn that all was not well. Too many hits added to servers that just didn’t seem ready for 37 million hits created that loud crashing sound we heard. Joining in the cacophony were the anguished cries of genealogists, media, and those at the National Archives.

For 20 minutes this morning, I jumped on Ancestry.com and found the “1940’s era” records are now free for another week. I found my dad’s parents (Loyd and Ella Amore) in a 1930 directory. That was exciting because I have yet to find them in the 1930 census! I found them again – on a different house in the 1932 and 1934 directories in Coshocton, Ohio.

Returning home from work this afternoon, I first perused Facebook statuses and tweets from Twitter to get a sense as to what everyone was saying about the release of the 1940 Census. The news was not good. There were a lot of frustrated people. I pulled up three sites – the official census site (Archives),  Ancestry and familysearch.

On Ancestry I saw that the Indiana records were available so I started with Lexington,  Scott county, Indiana. On the last of the enumeration district’s 38 pages, I found my great-grandfather – Joe Wilt – and his wife. HAPPY DANCE!! Later on I found 2 other collateral relatives/ancestors in Madison county.

About 30 minutes ago,  I indexed my first page – Oregon. Looking forward to doing more.

And for everyone who is frustrated, it will get better! We have waited this long – a little longer is not going to hurt. The census will still br there so while we are waiting, lets spend some time with the living!

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