Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My All-time Biggest Surprise in Genealogy

Jones Flanders 1930 census

In this 1930 census image for Great Bend, Barton County, Kansas, you see the Hamilton (“Ham”) Jones family living at 1400 8th Street. His daughters Marjorie and Dorothy are ages 4 and 2. His brother Henry J. (Henry James “Jim”) Jones is listed at the bottom of the image photo with his family residing at 1501 8th St. That’s just one block away. Phyllis J.,  daughter of Jim and Helen Jones is my step-mother, married to my dad Ernest Margheim from 1951 until her death in 1997. In 1930 Phyllis was 6 years old, having been born in 1924. It was in her personality to greatly dislike (and I’m being kind) my birth mother, Ruby Flanders, to whom my dad was married 1943-1949.

Look at the above image and notice the Milo Flanders family living at 1416 8th St. Their daughter Ruby N. was 5 years old at this time, having been born in 1925.  As I just mentioned, Ruby was my birth mother. What story does this census image tell? It tells me that my step-mom Phyllis Jones was 6 years old at the time her cousins, who lived a block away, were ages 4 and 2. And the  neighbor of her cousins was Ruby Flanders. In 1930 children played outside, they played with their relatives who lived nearby. I believe this image tells me that my step-mom Phyllis Jones played in her young childhood with my birth mother Ruby Flanders! I can’t express to you how this discovery blows me away, still today. Is anyone else inclined to draw the same conclusion? Let me know your thoughts.

I was raised by my step-mom and dad and allowed by the courts to occasionally visit my birth  mom Ruby. But I was not allowed to mention her name in our house, nor refer to her in any way, no phone calls, letters, incidental visits etc. NEVER did she let my twin brother and me know that she had been a childhood playmate of Ruby. That is so significant to me, even though others may find nothing startling about this discovery. As we research our family’s history, we expect to make discoveries, but it’s a bonus when we learn things about those people who were close to us that they never revealed when they were living!

13 comments:

Lori said...

Becky, I tend to agree with you. I'm sure they knew each other as children. She certainly must have had a reason why she didn't want to share that with you. It makes me wonder what things I don't know about my family!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Becky I think you are right that your mom and step-mom played together as children. There may in fact be much more to the dislike of your mother than you have been told. It may stem from their childhood - their teenage years - who knows!

It's wonderful that you found this census, every piece of information helps build a more complete picture.

Lorine

Apple said...

It is very interesting that they knew each other as children. It will be interesting to see if they still lived near each other in 1940. Who knows when the animosity started though. Don't be too hasty to draw a conclusion.

Harriet said...

It sure looks like they would have known each other as children. Wonder if your step-mom ever said anything to your Dad.

Becky Jamison said...

Harriet, I just talked to Dad about this at noon today. He never knew they were neighbors, nor that they knew each other. He wondered if my mother Ruby remembered my step-mom Phyllis when she learned that he was marrying her in 1951. Neither of them let on that they'd known each other from childhood. I just think they had to have known each other. They're both gone so I can't ask them.

Greta Koehl said...

This certainly is a mind-blowing discovery. I also agree with your conclusion. It's sort of like a "Rewrite everything you thought you knew" moment.

Becky Jamison said...

Greta, that's a very good description of this experience for me. Re-write everything I thought I knew about that relationship between my mother and step-mother. I've made a lot of great discoveries in my research, but this was the real "mind-blower". I could hardly believe my eyes. And it's a lesson in examining the other names on a census page! That's where the stories are.

Cheri Hopkins aka You Go Girl #2 & Sweetwater Sherry said...

What a great job of interpreting a census. Often these added bonus finds are overlooked! They surely spent time together as children then spent most of their time outdoors getting to know the other kids!

T.K. said...

Wow, Becky, this is really interesting. Hard to believe neither Phyllis nor Ruby told your dad they knew each other. And surely they must have, with Ruby living between the two Jones homes, unless one or the other of them moved elsewhere soon after the census. Apple's right, it'll be so interesting to see the 1940 census!

Deborah Andrew said...

Becky, Good catch on this. Do you think they went to the same school? If so that could have lead to alot of "run ins" with each other and we all know how horrible kids can be to each other.

Deborah Andrew said...

Becky, Good catch on this. Do you think they went to the same school? If so that could have lead to alot of "run ins" with each other and we all know how horrible kids can be to each other.

Deborah Andrew said...

Becky, good catch on this. Do you think that they went to the same elementary school? If so that opens up the possibilities for more "run ins" if you will. We all know how horrible kids can be to each other.

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

That is an interesting discovery Becky. And what a great eye! Goes to show it really does pay to analyze the neighbors and associated of your relatives :)