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1920 U.S. Census

Each U.S. Census is a little different from the others. They are snapshots  of how the country looked during a very short period-- during 1920, the  month of January. The records are handwritten and in some cases difficult to read.  Using the census creates a better picture than the city directory records -- each member of the family or occupant of the home is reflected in a census. The age, sex and race of each person is recorded, but here I have only recorded ages for the head of the family and employed persons and to show unusual patterns in births to older parents. If you see a question mark it means I was unable to read the censustaker's handwriting. If you have information, please let me know any missing facts!


You'll see that it was common for extended families to live together. Even quite wealthy families would have widowed mothers and sisters living with brothers or fathers. Almira Burnham was most likely a wealthy widow, but in 1920 she was living with her younger brother after being widowed. Other families made extra money by having a boarder in the house. 


The 1920 census recorded immigration information about foreign born citizens. Founders’ Grove did not have many immigrants but those that are reported come from unexpected corners of the world. Eloise Deasy on Vale was from Panama and Herlindo Martinez, a servant in Lyman Graham’s home, was from Mexico. Felicie Russell was from France and several other residents were immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Sweden, England and Canada. While the 1920 census does ask about employment, only generic answers are given about the place where the person worked.


The birthplace of the parents of each person is recorded as well as whether that person is currently employed. If they are not employed no record is made of the source of their income. Out of over 450 family groups in Founders' Grove about 27 people of working age (20 to 60) had no employment. Some were young women living with their parents and some were young married men.


The Great War had ended less than two years before this census. Were these young men disabled by the war or were there simply no jobs for them? Did they have sufficient means to live comfortably without working?  Soon enough, the Panic of '29 would occur and the Great Depression would work its way to McLean County. The next census I will look at will be the 1940 census, which was a very interesting census as the country tried to take a backward look at the Depression.


NOTE: Since the first time I posted this information I changed the format to PDFs with links. I added the maiden names of wives when they were available and added some death dates as well. If you need more information about a person, I may have more in my files that didn't fit here.

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