Friday, November 23, 2007

Ancestral Gleanings from the Dinner Table

Thanksgiving is a great time to learn a little or a lot about one's relatives and ancestors. Unexpected things may pop up. I gleaned a fair bit from our Thanksgiving conversations, most of which I'll share after some further processing.

But one of the surprising bits was this: I asked my father if he recalled ever talking to a census taker. He replied, "I was a census taker."

In 1950, he answered a newspaper ad in Houston, Texas, to become an enumerator for that year's census. He was assigned to Houston's fifth ward (where he lived). He said it was hard work, involved a lot of walking. Most everybody was cooperative, including Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who was awakened after just having gotten to sleep following a long night of work.

3 comments:

Nikki-ann said...

Interesting! We see lots of census data, but rarely hear about the collectors :)

Craig Manson said...

My father was 18 years old and needed the money to go to school. It was the most unusual job he ever had!

Fenix said...

My grandmother lived in Houston's 5th Ward until very recently. Nice anecdotal story.