Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adventures in Indexing #1

 Like many family historians and genealogists, I signed up to help index the 1940 US Census.  I’m actually a little selfish – I want to be able to say “And I helped!”

Here’s something a little different that I notice on my first page.
This page came from Sussex County, Delaware (Enumeration District 3-45, Sheet 15B).

As in many households, the woman of the house answered the questions for the census taker.  In the 1940 census, this is indicated by the X with a circle around it. 

What’s interesting about this family is that Mary G Bailey not only answered the questions, but also called herself the head of household even though her husband Robert Bailey lived there too.

Nothing jumps out at me as to why Mary considered herself the head of household.  It makes my imagination wander.  Was it just a slip-up by the enumerator? Was Mary a feminist?  Was Robert, at age 79, senile or infirm such that Mary no longer considered her to be the head of the family?

I have no ties to the Bailey family, or even to Delaware for that matter, so I may never know why Mary claimed to be the head of this household.  But perhaps their grandchildren or other descendants will chuckle and nod knowingly because they knew Mary and her personality, or will be driven to dig deeper to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment