Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Paternal Grandfather in the 1940 Census

My day job has kept me pretty busy this week, but I did manage to get some research in the 1940 census done on Monday night. I got home about 5:30 PM on Monday evening to find that the cite was down. I had checked Facebook throughout the day and somewhat expected this. I then tried the site, but none of my states were ready there. Neither were they available on FamilySearch. Oh, poo. So, I started indexing instead. I indexed one page of the Delaware census and then listened to the RootsMagic webinar about the 1940 census. As I was listening to the webinar, I read on Facebook that Liz Hall Morgan (a fellow Louisiana researcher and blogger) stated she had found some of her Louisiana families. That's how I found out the site was back up and running, so I dashed over.

My first find was my paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN. He was exactly where I thought he would be (thank goodness...after the waiting, I would have been discouraged otherwise). I knew he would be living with his parents and they would all be with or near his widowed maternal grandmother. He told me he was born on her property in 1935. My grandmother still owns the property, so I know exactly where it is in Ossun, Lafayette, Louisiana. In fact, today there is a sign saying "Ossun" as soon as you get to the intersection of Hwy 93 and Wyman Road north of Interstate 10 off exit 97. This just happens to be the same intersection where his grandmother's house is located, so I knew it was at the very limits of Ossun.

When I used Steve Morse's One-Step ED Finder, I found that Ossun was in ED 28-4. This is the official description: POLICE JURY WARD 1 OUTSIDE DUSON VILLAGE IN TOWNSHIP 9 RANGE 3, OSSUN.  Ossun is just east of Duson and north of Scott in Lafayette Parish. Luckily, by the time I downloaded the enumeration district (34 pages), I only had to wait until the 2nd page to find them. Sure enough, the line above them stated "Here begins unincorporated Town of Ossun." They were the first family enumerated in Ossun!

1940 U.S. census, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Police Jury Ward 1, Ossun, enumeration district (ED) 4, sheet 2A, family 24, Marie S. Boneaux household; digital images, 1940 Census ( : accessed 2 April 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1409.

Marie S. Boneaux Head F W 47 Wd 0 LA Same House
Ben Trahan Son-in-law M W 33 M 4 LA Same House Farmer Farm
Beatrice B. Trahan Daughter F W 29 M H-3 LA Same House
Benford Trahan Grandson M W 5 S 0 LA Same House

Just as I expected! I believe Marie and Ben's ages are off by about 1 or 2 years. Marie's baptismal certificate states she was born 7 Sep 1891, which would have made her 48. Ben's baptismal certificate states he was born 26 Oct 1908, which would have made him only 31. Beatrice's middle initial seems to be incorrect as well. Her name was Beatrice Marie, so I'm not sure where the "B" comes from (other than that her nickname was Bea). Otherwise, the info seems to be correct. I figured that Marie did not have very much schooling, as she grew up in a very poor Cajun family, and she was a female. My dad said she never spoke English. I knew Ben (short for Bienvenue) had some schooling, but I knew it wasn't much. This confirms that he only made it to 4th grade. I knew Beatrice had the most schooling in the family, as her paternal grandmother was part of the Mouton clan, and my grandmother had told me that she thought Beatrice went to high school. The Mouton family was one of the more aristocratic Cajun families that intermarried with the often more educated descendants of French immigrants. And grandpa, Benford!!! This is the first census I had ever seen him in, since he was born in 1935. 

Little did Benford know that in 1940, his future bride was living in Mulhall, Oklahoma....

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