Are we ready for the big day? The 1940 United States Census will be available online, digital images only, Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9 AM, Eastern Time.
I am taking a step away from my ALBERDING research today. Some very exciting new information has surfaced that literally has me dancing a jig in the living room. I mention in my welcome page that what started me on the genealogy journey was a very, very old family Bible. The records in the Bible date back to my 4th Great-Grandparents, William FOSTER and his wife, Sarah. William FOSTER was born 24 May 1768 and Sarah was born 15 Oct 1773. The Bible lists all of their 11 children with their dates of birth.
For almost 20 years, I have tried to prove Sarah’s maiden name. This is a very daunting process in the US since no records ever give a woman’s maiden name once she marries – we are a patriarchal society. I had a piece of evidence that led me to make a leap of faith that her maiden name was JONES. No proof, just a bit of evidence and some information about known relationships.
All of the children, except for one, of William and Sarah FOSTER are listed by first name only, along with their dates of birth. The exception is daughter Malinda Jones FOSTER, born 22 Dec 1808. Malinda was the only one of their children ever refereed to by a first and middle name. In Sarah’s will, she is the only child listed with her full name, Malinda Jones FOSTER. To me, that was evidence that the JONES name was very important to Sarah and that was my little piece of evidence on a maiden name for Sarah.
Family relationships also played a role in my leap of faith. These families were very closely allied in Amelia and Cumberland Counties, Virginia. A good illustration of this is that Mary Ann JONES married first Thomas JAMES. Thomas had a sister named Sarah JAMES. Sarah married Robert FOSTER, brother of my 5th Great-Grandfather, John FOSTER. Mary Ann JAMES married William “Major Billy” FOSTER in Amelia County, Virginia after Thomas’ death. Major Billy was a brother to both John and Robert FOSTER. Based on the fact that these families were so closely allied, my gut feeling has always been that my Sarah FOSTER was a younger sister of Mary Ann Jones James FOSTER. The problem was that no one had any information stating that Mary Ann had a younger sister named Sarah.
The Library of Virginia has started digitizing their Chancery records – these consist of Court actions involving Estates and eventual distribution of property from the Estates. Chancery records were found involving the estate of John JONES of Cumberland County (adjacent to Amelia County)`, Virginia, father of Mary Ann Jones James FOSTER. One of the minor children listed in these records is a Sarah JONES. Based on the information in the records, this Sarah would have been seven years old when John JONES’ will was written in 1780. Thanks to my Bible records, I had Sarah FOSTER’s birthdate and she would have been exactly seven years old in 1780. Sarah JONES would have been fourteen years old at the time the property was divided in 1786 and Sarah FOSTER would also have been fourteen years old in 1786.
I will continue to dig for actual proof that my Sarah FOSTER was born Sarah JONES in Amelia or Cumberland County, Virginia. However, I am now satisfied that Sarah JONES is my 4th Great-Grandmother and that a search of nearly 20 years is over. To me, the evidence now exists to back up my leap of faith made so many years ago.
I am very excited about that 1940 US Census, which will be released April 2, 2012. My current BIG research project is my husband’s Alberding line – my latest posts have been about them. Grandfather Coenraad immigrated to the US in 1911 and his family was complete by the 1930 US Census. However, I have had some difficulty finding the families of some of his brothers and sisters and have high hopes for the 1940 US Census. The 1940 US Census should be a wonderful resource for new information on this family.
Upon its release, the 1940 US Census Community Project, a joint initiative between FamilySearch, findmypast.com, and Archives.com will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online with free and open access.
Please help with indexing the 1940 US Census. The Census will not be searchable until it fully indexed and it will take tens of thousands of volunteers months to complete this task. It really isn’t difficult and indexing is quite interesting. The indexing initiative being sponsored, in part, by FamilySearch is called the 1940 US Census Community Project. More information about indexing and what YOU can do is available HERE!
No special skills are needed to index records and it a tremendous help to all who are doing family history. Pay it forward by giving your help to this indexing project. The more volunteers who are working on the indexing, the sooner it will be possible to search for YOUR family. The digital images will be available to everyone on April 2, but if you don’t know exactly where to look, you NEED the indexed records to make your search easier.
Sign up today to help. It is YOUR census. Indexing is a “feel good” way to spend some time. Don’t wait – the genealogical community needs your help! If that isn’t enough to get your interest, there are also contests to get people involved. Read about these contests at The 1940 US Census Blog – you can win Amazon gift cards, Kindle Fires, Yeti Microphones, iPads and more! Get signed up to be eligible for these great prizes.
UPDATE: I picked up the date of death for Coenraad Alberding incorrectly. The entry I used for for his great-great grandfather who died in 1809. The date of death of Coenraad discussed below is undetermined. He died before 1916, but was probably Hendrika’s natural father.
Before I write about the Alberding siblings who stayed in Amsterdam, I need to back up a bit to some information uncovered since my last post. The City Archives of Amsterdam has some records online and I spent a long time searching for Alberding information there. I found a “Funeral Book” that listed the date of death or funeral (it is all in Dutch, but I could make out the dates at least) for great-grandfather-in-law, Coenraad Abraham Alberding, Sr. as 29 Dec 1909 in Amsterdam.
I had found Hendrika in the Social Security Death Index where her date of birth is given as 23 Jan 1911. As I was entering information on my grandfather-in-law’s parents and siblings into my genealogy database, a message popped up that Hendrika’s date of birth was after her father’s death. Hmmm – OK. I rechecked all of the information and realized that she was born 11 months after Great-Grandfather Coenraad’s death.
I sent an email off to a cousin in Holland – the granddaughter of one of the Alberding siblings who did not immigrate to America – and asked her what she thought about this. She replied that her Mum remembers her mother saying, “there were always uncles whom visited the house.” Lia continued, “so great-grand ma Johanna might have had a baby from one of them, when her husband had already died.” How deliciously scandalous! Genealogists live for discoveries like this one.
No one had ever said there was any question about who Aunt Riki’s father was. Surely one of the older children must have realized that, doing the math, it did not add up that Coenraad, Sr. was Hendrika’s father. The oldest of the children who did not immigrate was Adriana Kuiper nee Alberding. Many of the children and grandchildren of Johanna never remember hearing an Adriana mentioned and guessed that there might have been a rift between Johanna and Adrianna. This discovery could well be the source of the rift as Adriana might have seriously disapproved of her mother giving birth to a baby 11 months after her father died. Adriana herself was no angel, but I will save that story for another post. The Alberding women would most certainly have been in favor of contraception – I have no doubt!