Christopher Wallace

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Federal Census of 1940 and how butchered Grandpa's name.

April 2, 2016 will be the anniversary of the release of the 1940 Federal U.S. Census.  It was highly anticipated, there were guides and blogs about how to prepare for the release before it was indexed, how to use the 1930 census to help locate your people before indexing. I was prepared and even succeeded in locating grandpa and grandma Wallace along with my mom and uncle, checked them off my list and moved onto other families.

As Ancestry got through their indexing of the 1940 census those little shakey leaves started showing up on my trees and I added the information and links to my trees, but the 1940 census for my grandpa's family that I had located never appeared, I didn't think much about it, I had found it before the indexing so knew it was there for them, but had never saved a copy for my records, I thought about it now and then and would do a search using different search criteria but they never showed up.  Then a week or so ago I was listening to a podcast, ExtremeGenes, and they were discussing vs FamilySearch.orgs indexing differences and how much better FamilySearch had done with indexing the 1940 federal census and gave examples, well I was out walking the dog as I listened to this, but when I got back in the house I sat down at the computer and used my granpa's family as my test family.  At I filled out the search form filling it out many different ways, they never showed up in the many pages of results, many results not anywheres close to what the fields were filled out with. So I then moved over to, put in very basic information, and the results surprised me, they where the first family to come up.

So back to but this time instead of filling out search fields with personal information I chose to manually search the census line by line but using the information for the location and image number I had from FamilySearch.  Well I found them and it became very clear as to why I never would have found them doing that search for an individual on, because whoever did the indexing for this image butchered the entire name of Arthur Wallace and the others in the family as well. At Arthur Wallace is indexed as Aurhur Wallau. My grandma, Dorothy  Wallace is indexed as Derothy Wallau and my mother, Lois Wallace is Loio Wallau, my uncle, Robert J Wallace is indexed as Robert J Wallau.  I really feel this whole family is lost to searches done through and that tics me off, Ancestry has the money to do this right. FamilySearch indexers are volunteers, I did some indexing it's not easy but FamilySearch has different levels that an image goes through during indexing, it doesn't appear that is how does their indexing.

So now I have saved the image of the 1940 census to my computer where I will have it filed safely away. Below is a screenshot of Ancestry.coms image with the misspelling.
My maternal grandpa Arthur John Wallace or Art, as my grandma and a pet parakeet called him, was born January 1901 to Christopher Jerome Wallace and Antonette GEBAUER Wallace, in Schenectady New York, he had 7 living siblings, there was an older brother, John who was born in 1899 and died in 1900, I am guessing that Art's middle name was to honor that brother.

I have to say that researching this family has been pretty straight forward once I learned the names of grandpa's parents. That discovery was one of my first genealogical successes in the mid 1990s.  I had read that you could send for a photocopy of a persons original social security application, I had just gotten my grandpa's death certificate which had his SS# so I sent away for a copy of the application. I believe it was my first Genealogy Happy Dance when I received the application, there was my grandpa's signature, one I would recognize anywhere, but the best part was his mother's name, I had never even heard of her, but there she was, Antionette Gebauer and from there an amazing journey into a family I had never heard any stories about but one, and all that consisted of was how my grandpa and his siblings all got their baths once a week in the same bath water and this was only because my grandma insisted on daily baths for me and more if needed and he felt that wasn't healthy he survived with a once a week bath. So when I was able see his family that vision was part of what I saw as I added names to that bath water.

But his mother's name started opening doors back in the early days of internet genealogy. I had purchased a new program to use, Family Tree Maker, it came with CDs that had family trees that others had submitted, I remember putting her name in the search window and the first tree that came up had my grandpa's name right in the middle of those 8 children, along with a way to contact the person who had submitted the tree, I nervously wrote this person and a few days later had a reply, turns out he grew up with my mom and her brother, the families where close and he shared stories of Antonette. At that point one of granpa's sisters was still living and he shared with her what blanks I could fill in of granpa's family in California.  So now 20+ years later I am putting this information here on the internet hoping to maybe connect with others looking for this branch of the family.