08 May 2015

A Seventy Year Old Child Lives on the Hard Road

This post started out about an Ancestry.com transcription error and morphed into one about highway numbers. Genealogy is like that sometimes.

The transcriptionist for the 1940 census at Ancestry.com indicated that 70-year-old Edward Heidbreeder[sic] is listed as a son in the household.

That sounded a little off to me, but it was possible that he was living with a parent who was still living in their nineties.

Turns out he wasn't.

He is listed in the enumeration as a father-in-law of the head of household, Walter F. Bode.

The transcriptionist most likely grabbed the "daughter" relationship from the previous entry and assigned it to Edward.

The Bodes were farmers in Marion County and the street address seemed a little unusual. Virtually all my relatively close relatives in 1940 were farmers in rural Illinois and Missouri and I don't think I've ever seen a street address listed for any of them.

Reading the actual entry again answered the question. Their "street" was not "W S 36" it was "U S 36." And I'm reasonably certain locals didn't refer to it as a "street," but it's easy to see how transcribers would enter it in as the street on which the family lived. I'm also pretty certain they didn't have house numbers either.

The immediate lesson here is the one we've mentioned before:
look at the original

Personally now I 'm curious.

My paternal grandparents were living in a farm on the "hard road" in 1940 (State Highway 94) north of Carthage. My maternal grandmother was living in 1940 with her parents on the "hard road" west of Carthage (US Highway 136). I'll have to see if their 1940 census enumerations make any reference to the highways.

Census takers may have had some discretion about using highways when there were no house numbers. The answer to whether or not they were to use the names/numbers of roads when there were no house numbers would probably be answered in the enumerator's instructions.