Mondays–V3E16–Seventy! Years

Did you ever think you’d get excited about US Census records? Probably not, that is unless you are a devoted genealogiophile (a word  you won’t find on Wheel of Fortune.) I got an email the other day that the 1950 United States census was being released and is currently being transcribed for indexing. WooHoo! Census records must remain sealed for seventy! years. Seventy!  (Actually, I just found out that it is 72 years, but what’s two years if you have waited Seventy!?)  To assure privacy, a federal law was passed in 1978 that protects Census records and prohibits their release until 72 years have passed, which was the average life span at that time.

The reason I’m excited about the 1950 Census is that in 1950, my dad was married to “the other woman”. Many years after I started the research on my dad’s family, I was finally able to locate his marriage license to “the other woman”. (See my post to explain the “other (mystery) woman”.) After a lot of searching, I haven’t been able to find a divorce record for dad and “the other woman” but since Dad and Mom married in 1952 (Seventy! years ago today, April 19) I knew they divorced before that (stands to reason) and maybe “the other woman” had remarried too.

Charles and Jeanette Shoults on the wedding day April 19, 1952
Charles and Jeanette Shoults on their wedding day, April 19, 1952

 And sure enough, I found her. Ruth Gail Shoults married Wilford W. Colvin April 26, 1951 in St. Louis County. WooHoo! Unless you are a genealogiophile, you probably wouldn’t understand the excitement when you are finally able to solve a mystery, even if it really doesn’t matter.  

My Aunt Mabel told me that when Dad and “the other woman” (somehow, I can’t link dad’s name with anyone other than my mom, “Jeanette”) were married, she had a son from a previous marriage who lived with them. With the release of the 1950 census, I hope to be able to see where dad and “the other women” lived and what her son’s name was. Then I can maybe tract him. Why you ask? Just sewing up loose ends, or, maybe just being nosy. Genealogiophiles are a nosy bunch. (You have to be.) If he was still alive, he would be in his mid-70s, or older now but what if he were still alive? What if he still lived in the area? What if he remembered my dad?

My dad has been gone since 1970-Seventy! So it’s nice to find someone who remembers them. Once when I was having breakfast at a restaurant, I started talking to a man at the next table, and it turned out he knew my dad. It was so nice to hear him say, “Well, I remember when Charley….”

Since I’m excited about the release of a new census, I’ve been helping with the Family Search indexing of the census by proofreading what the computer has generated as information for each family. Needless to say, it is a huge undertaking and it will take several months until all the states have been indexed and someone is able to search for their loved ones in the records. But it is another milestone that genuine genealogiophiles will love.

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