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Using Census and City Directories

Mom says I have been focusing too much time on my paternal side.  She is right of course!  I guess part of the reason is because of the new Whitehead Archives that I discovered through my friendship with my cousins.  There are plenty of stories and challenges on the maternal side to conquer.  So here it goes.

When first researching an ancestor, you usually start with the US Census records. The US Census is a decennial census written into our Constitution.  This is done to align the seats of the House of Representatives.  If you recall in your history class, each state gets two state senators.  The House of Representatives however is done by census numbers.

 

In terms of genealogy, the census provides the best snapshot of your ancestor over time.  Each Census is different in that different questions are asked.  The United States Census is gearing up already for the 2020 census.  You have to wonder what type of questions they will ask.  Or at least that is what a genealogist wonders.  Long gone are the days of door to door enumerators.  The census is given by US Postal Service.  There are still census takers that go door to door in order to provide for undercounting due to illiteracy, homelessness, etc.

 

A city directory is another gold mine for a genealogist.  Because unlike the census which is done every 10 years, a directory is usually done yearly.  Lynchburg, Virginia has their directories indexed and online.  I am very lucky because a huge chunk of my ancestors lived there.  It is through these records that I can trace my ancestors’ movement over time.  One of the reasons I blog about my ancestors, it helps to see the holes in my research.  Believe me there are plenty of holes in this one.  One of the reasons for the delay is that I have been researching Emma.  There are still holes, but I believe you can begin to see her in context with the life she lived.

Emma Frances Heath is my 2nd great grandmother on my maternal side.  Emma was born 15 June 1862 to William Heath and Rhoda Elizabeth Hyman Heath.  I know little about her parents and will have to research them more in-depth.  However, I want to show you how to track your ancestors through the Census and City Directories.

 

The 1870 Census shows Emma is living with G.B Fergerson and his wife Sally Fergerson.  She is listed as a niece and 10 years old.  Also living in the home is the Fergerson’s 3-year-old son, Stephen and a Farm Hand.  If you noticed the discrepancy in the date of births you are not alone.  Her tombstone has 1862 on it.  It is likely that the census take rounded up or down.  The location is Brookville, Campbell County Virginia.  Her uncle is listed as a farmer.  Because I have not researched this side for very long, I am not sure what happened to her parents.  Her mother seems to have passed away in 1871, Emma would have been 9 years old.  So it seems obvious that Sally was likely Rhoda’s sister.  However, what is not clear is why Rhoda would have died in Dayton, Ohio.  I will have to look into that.  So much genealogy to do, so little time….

In the 1880 Census, Emma is 19 years old, wife to her 28-year-old husband who is working as a farmer.  She has 2 daughters, Annie and Rosa.  They are living next to other family (Hicks) who are also farming.  (Census: Amherst County, 15th District)

By the 1900 Census, Emma is listed as 36 years old, Lemuel is 49.  This census is great because it asks how many children born and how many still living.  She had 10 children.  They ranged in ages on this census from 2 years old to 19.  Her sister-in-law, Mary,  is also listed there.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Amherst, 12th District, Pedler).

In the 1910 Census, Emma and Lemuel are now living in the city.  Lemuel is listed as working as a Watchman at the Foundry.  The census asks the same question about children.  This time, Emma is listed as having had 12 children but only 7 are still living.  Three of the older daughters are listed as still living at home and working at the shoe factory.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 87, Lynchburg Ward 3)

In the 1920 Census, Emma and Lemuel are still in the city.  Lemuel is listed as a gardener for the city.  He is listed as 68 years old.  Emma is listed as 57 years old.  Her daughter Iola and her husband Charles Worley are listed as living there.  Charles is working as a shoe maker at the factor and Iola is not working.  There are also two boarders listed (it appears they are married).   (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 12, Ward 3)

 

On 29 May, 1923, Emma’s husband, Lemuel dies, he was 74 years old.

 

For the 1930 Census, Emma is listed as living with her daughter Carrie (my great-grandmother) and her family in a rented home at 1715 Main Street.  Thomas, Carrie’s husband is listed as a carpenter for the housing industry.  Emma’s three granddaughters and grandson are also living there, including my grandmother!  James Hicks, her son, is living next door with his wife, Helen.  (1930 Census, Lynchburg, Independent City, Enumeration District 110-21, Ward 3)

In the 1940 Census, Emma is listed as 77 years old.  She is now living with her other daughter Willie and her family at 2014 Tulip Street.  Willie and Clyde Driskill are listed as owning the home.  Clyde works at the US Post Office as a mail carrier.  Also living in the home are their six children, Clyde Junior, Frances, Doris, Daniel, Robert and Ruth.  Also living on the street is Lessie Driskill, Clyde’s sister.  She has their parents Daniel and Emma Driskill living with her.  She is also listed as owning her own house.  She works at the shoe factory.  (1940 Census: Lynchburg City, Lynchburg, Enumeration District 111-25, Ward 3)

Emma Frances Heath Hicks dies on 4 September 1945, she was 83 years old.

 

Below is a timeline that I was able to create from the Lynchburg City Directories.  The abbreviations used did vary within the directories.  The husband’s occupation was usually mentioned.  However, after Lemuel died, Emma was listed as widow.

 

Year Location Other
1907 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1908 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1909 2113 Elm Av Watchman
1910 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1913 2113 Elm Av farmer
1914 2113 Elm Av watchman
1915 2113 Elm Av watchman
1916 2113 Elm Av farmer
1917 2113 Elm Av No occupation listed
1920 2113 Elm Av watchman
1921 2106 Main farmer
1923 2106 Main No occupations any
1924 2106 Main widow
1925 Not found No Data
1926 1721 Liberty widow
1927 1715 Main widow
1928 1715 Main widow
1929 1715 Main widow
1930 1715 Main widow
1931 406 Walnut widow
1932 2014 Walnut widow
1933 2014 Tulip widow
1934 2014 Tulip widow
1935 2014 Tulip widow
1936 2014 Tulip widow
1937 2014 Tulip widow
1938 2014 Tulip widow
1939 2014 Tulip widow
1940 2014 Tulip widow
1941-1944 Missing    
1945 411 Westover Blvd widow

So, if you wandered onto this page for a genealogy hint, it would be to use your US Census and City Directory data to start your ancestor development.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

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