I’ve never had a hankering to track down our family lineage; I don’t think I want to know what’s back there! I find the ancestry.com commercials intriguing though, all those facts and names waiting to be discovered. But who has time?
Today’s release of the 1940 Census has an immediacy, however, I was not expecting. First of all, I just assumed that those records had been available all along. Did you know they only release this information every ten years, 72 years after it’s collected? How cool is that and who came up with that timeframe? Fresh information about our nation, far enough behind us to not care who lived with whom.
Wait a minute - I know those people! These names would include grandparents, and parents, people I can put a name and a face on. I could find a grandparent’s address, drive right over there and stare at the house my parents were raised in. I might even knock on the door, just to see if I can get a peek of my grandfather’s office and the big red leather chair I vaguely remember.
My grandmother worked in a factory back then, making metal roller skates, the kind with the key. Would she have been home to stand in the doorway and patiently talk with the census taker? Or would she have responded to a letter in the mail, handwriting her answers in her perfect German script? Would her brood of kids be pulling impatiently on her ruffled apron, anxious for dinner or playtime?
Now I’ll have to find time to look this up. And I guess that’s how it starts. One interesting tidbit leads to a dusty census entry, leads to old birth records and all of a sudden you’re back in the 1800’s. I’m coming grandma!