Friday, March 23, 2012

Congratulations Jim Douthat!

      I just found out that our esteemed colleague, James Douthat, from the Tag Delta Genealogical Society has been named Historian of the Year by the Chattanooga Area Historical Association.
     The Chattanooga Area Historical Association chose Mr. Douthat as the first recipient of the James W. Livingood Historian of the Year award. This award is dedicated to persons who are preserving the history of the Southeast Tennessee Region. Rather than me telling you about all of his amazing accomplishments, I will let you read all about it here at The website.
     Tag Delta Genealogy covers the surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee area. That includes Southeastern Tennessee, Northwestern Georgia, and Northeastern Alabama. He is also actively involved in the Signal Mountain Genealogical Society, as well as, the Chattanooga Area Historical Association.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally! The 1940 Census

On Monday, April 2, 2012, at 9am, after being locked for 72 years, the wait is finally over. The 1940 Federal Census, the 16th Census of the United States, will be available free for all to view. You will be able to view the images at It will not be indexed yet, but if you know the enumeration district that your family lived in, you will be able to go right to it.  To find the enumeration district, I recommend you go to the One Step website  for information, researching tools and guides for determining your enumeration district. Be sure to take the quiz and tutorials to help you along.

Below, I have included videos from the National Archives. These short films were created by the US Census Bureau to train the 1940 census enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities. The first one is a general overview. The second is a training video reviewing the major questions relating to the general population. The third and fourth video relate to the housing and agriculture census. These last two censuses are no longer available, as they were destroyed. But, nonetheless, they are interesting to watch.

. How many of your parents, grandparents will finally show up for the first time in this census?
 These videos give a good visual of what life was like in 1940.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What was 1897 like?

Do you ever wonder what it was like to live in the time of your ancestors?  I do! I like to put my ancestors in a social and economic context, as well as, a historical context. Below are examples of what it was like in the fall of 1897.  The Sears, Roebuck and Co catalog gives us a glimpse of what the fashion was like, how much items cost, and what items were available. I am not saying that your ancestors could afford all of these items, but I would guess that they aspired to have these things. My ancestors probably made their own clothes and used items that were passed down through the generations.

You might also try using these fashion pictures and descriptions to help you date some old photographs!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Census Listing for 1880 - part 2

Let's continue with the statistics concerning the 1880 census for the village of Ooltewah. This is the 5th civil district and the 61st  enumeration district. This census is dated the 1st day of June, 1880.  There were 263 individuals listed on this census. Of those:

 1.  There were 6 females listed as head-of-household
 2.  There were 8 boarders
 3.  There were 37 individuals that could read
 4.  There were 57 individuals that could write
 5.  There were 43 individuals listed as black
 6.  There were 33 individuals listed as mulattos
 7.  There were 156 single individuals
 8.  There were 88 married individuals
 9.  There were 19 widowed individuals
10.  There were 119 males
11.  There were 144 females
12.  There were 4 servants under the age of 18, 2 male and 2 female
13.  There were 2 female servants between the ages of 19-40
14.  There were no servants older than 40 years of age
15.  There were 45 students attending school
16.  There  were 3 maimed individuals
17.  There was 1 blind individual
18.  There were no deaf and dumb individuals
19.  There were 215 individuals born in Tennessee
20.  There were 22 individuals born in Georgia
21.  The remaining 26 were born elsewhere
22.  There were 67 females 18 years of age and under
23.  There were 52 males 18 years of age and under
24.  There were 18 males 40 years of age and over
25.  Of those 18 men, 14 were white and 4 were black

There were 18 men born in 1840 or earlier. These men were probably involved in the Civil War, one way or another. The white men probably fought for the south and the 4 black men were probably slaves at the time of their birth. Yet none of these men are the maimed or blind persons listed in this census. These elderly gentlemen have laborer jobs. They came through the war without major ailments and could take care of their family. What are the odds of that? Could the widowed head-of-the-household females have lost their husbands during or shortly after the war? Could they be the real victims here?
There were 119 persons, 18 years of age or younger, yet only 45 of them were attending school at the time. The percentage of those that could read and write were extremely low. That surprises me! After the Civil War, public school became mandatory.

Next time, we will look at the occupations of the people from Ooltewah.