Friday, March 20, 2020

2020 Census

The notification to complete the 2020 United States federal census arrived at my home.

This is the nation's 24th.

For the first time, the questions can be answered online.

Questions included:
Date of birth
Hispanic or not
Relationships between inhabitants and head

We do this every ten years because it's in the Constitution. The old-fashioned term is Enumeration. We now generally refer to it as the Census.

The census is a wonderful tool for genealogists to glimpse people every ten years.

The most recent census available for viewing is from 1940. The 1950 census will be released in the year 2022.

(The federal census in New Jersey is missing for 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1820.)

The first census was in 1790. Everyone was counted, but some people counted more than others. Only the head of the household was listed.

Questions from 1790 were:
Name of head of household
Number of free white males 16 or older
Number of free white males under age 16
Number of free white females
Number of other people
Number of slaves

Below is the handwritten form for Northfield, Richmond County, New York.

The numbers of categories of people were tallied at the end of the district.

While the census is a great resource, the obvious problem with listing only the head of household is that you cannot be certain that you have the correct person of interest.

In Northfield are three men named John Merrell. Which one is my 7th great grandfather? I would need to find all of these men in other records and try to distinguish them based on ages of sons and daughters (if mentioned in wills or deeds) and slaves (mentioned in wills, tax records, and possibly other surviving records).

Only writing the head of household was an efficient way of conducting the first enumeration. This practice continued until the 1850 census, when the names of all free inhabitants were written.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Missing World War II Draft Card

Draft registration cards for younger men have been published at FamilySearch. You can view them from home. There is no index yet.

Fold3 already published and indexed this set for New York and New Jersey.

I am still searching for George D Russell. He enlisted in the Army in May 1943 in Queens, New York. I do not have his full date of birth or the names of his parents.

Using the signature from George's final payment voucher, I viewed the draft cards for Russells in New York City.

There were several men named George Russell, but none of their signatures seemed to match.

Possible reasons why I cannot seem to find the corresponding draft card:
-I missed it
-He did not register
-He registered under a different name
-The card was lost, misfiled, or not filmed
-He was not living in New York or New Jersey when he filled out his draft card.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Thank you.

Veterans Museum in Bayonne, New Jersey

I recently visited the Joyce-Herbert VFW Post 226 Veterans Museum in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

This VFW is unique because the Commander, Glen J Flora, turned it into a museum. The space holds information about local Bayonne residents who served in wars, as well as military artifacts from every foreign war. The is an education in American history.

In December and January I met with Commander Flora and Jackie George, Esquire, Commander's Aide and Museum Tour Coordinator. They explained the Museum and its story.

The place caught my attention because my grandmother's grandmother, Delia Joyce (1862-1929), lived in Bayonne. Whenever people of the same surname live near your ancestor, they should also be researched.

Martin Aloysius Joyce (1894-1918) is one of the two servicemen for whom the Museum is named. He was born in Bayonne to Michael Joyce and Mary Corcoran .

Martin Joyce was a fireman in the Navy aboard the ship USS Delaware when his skull was fractured. The newspaper articles in The Bayonne Review give the date as December 25 and January 25. He died in January 1918 at the Royal Naval Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland. His parents were notified by cable.

His body returned Bayonne in March. His funeral was from Saint Henry's Catholic Church. Interment was Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City.

I visited Holy Name Cemetery before going to the Museum. I was not sure if I had found the gravemarker because it was unreadable. I expected to find a stone because his mother applied for one in 1931.

At the Museum, the unreadable gravestone was confirmed as Martin's. In the bottom right of the picture below is an older picture of the gravestone.

Commander Flora explained that he would like the deteriorated stone replaced. Federal Regulation, however, specifies that only certain individuals can apply for marker. There is no exception for a marker that has already been issued.

If anyone is a known relative of Martin Joyce, we need your help by way of signature on the application that is waiting at the Museum. Martin had several siblings (listed below). Surely some of them have living descendants who will read this. If not, I can find cousins through his father's Joyce line or his mother's Corcoran line.

-Mary Joyce (1888-1910)
-Michael Joyce (born 1891) married Ida Manning
-Sarah Joyce (born 1896) married George Osbahr
-Margaret Joyce (1898-1968) married Harry John Shannon (1901-1975)
-Andrew Joyce (born 1901)
-Edward Joyce (born 1903) married Augusta Trebour (1905-1947)
-John Joseph Joyce (1905-1952) married Alice Smith
-Regina Joyce (1908-1986) marred Francis Brown (1901-1976)

Thank you to Commander Flora and Jackie for their time and dedication.

You can watch short films about the Veterans Museum here and here.