Saturday, April 7, 2012

On the Street Where You Lived (Part 2)

I spent some time this weekend searching through the newly-released 1940 Census records for information about my parents' childhood households. I didn't find anything really new about my family, and there's nothing here that they couldn't easily tell me themselves, but I'm a data geek, a history buff, and a former Census Liaison for state government, so this was fun.

Part 2: The Farrars of Meadow Road
My next search of the 1940 Census was in Greenwich, Connecticut, where my mother grew up in the neighborhood of Riverside. Her family lived on Meadow Road, at the apex of the triangle it forms with Tower Road. They were part of Enumeration District 1-62.

My mother, Judith Farrar, was nine on Census Day in 1940; she would turn ten later in the spring. She was the youngest of three children of John and Roberta Farrar. Her sister Joan was 14 and her oldest brother, Robert, was 16 that spring. Their parents were both 41 years old.

The household included a nurse, 48-year old Edna Bullock from Massachusetts. She was there for Joan, who was unwell. There was also a maid, Geneva Lumpkins (I think), a 20-year old from Alabama. My mother tells me that Geneva was not there much longer. As she put it, "The war changed a lot of things." Robert and their father would both enlist; Robert became a navigator on B-17 bombers out of England.

Before the war, though, my Grandfather was making films. The Census form lists his occupation as Movie Director. My brother John found a listing for his company, Mercury Pictures, in a 1948 edition of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He also owned a hardware store and wrote jazz music.

Among the other occupations listed in their neighborhood in 1940 was an interesting mix of the wealthy and people who work for them. There were lawyers, publishers, and bank vice presidents, as well as maids, cooks, housemen, and a butler. That neighborhood is still very high rent; last time we visited we had to get special permission to go through the gates.

In Part 1, we looked at my father's household.

No comments:

Post a Comment