finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

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kencwalker
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finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby kencwalker » 20 Sep 2016, 23:53

Is there a forum category for “Invisible Italians”?
If so, I have a "thought experiment" for the group regarding US census searches.

My search for my GGF Carlo in the 1920 census has been frustrating (aka unsuccessful). Other family members have presented challenges, but none as hard as this. My frustration is compounded by the lack of success searching for 2 associated family members: his niece (Maria) and her husband (Rene). One person might get missed in the census count; it seems unusual for 3 to be missing. With prior cases, the explanation was either a name entered differently, OR they weren’t living where I was searching. It’s especially frustrating because I have addresses from government documents in 1917 and 1921. To be so close....and nothing...they’re like ghosts. I can't figure out where they went.

Family summary (all confirmed with appropriate sources):
1911: Carlo arrives Ellis Island
1910: Rene arrives Montreal
1911: Rene arrives USA (thru St Albans, VT)
1915: Maria arrives Ellis Island
1916: Maria and Rene marry in San Rafael, CA
1917: Carlo and Rene WW-I draft registration; confirms relationships / next of kin
1921: Carlo's daughter (my GM) and Maria's siblings arrive Ellis Island

I have 2 different addresses from these sources:
1) Carlo and Rene's WW-I draft registration (give a common address in 1917)
2) "Relative’s address" for Carlo given by my nonna provided at Ellis Island (1921)
Carlo is living at this address in the 1930 census. It’s also on his 1934 Naturalization documents.
Also, Rene and Maria appear in the 1930 San Rafael census (although not at either address above – this is a complicated family situation).

I did a page-by-page search of all 1920 San Rafael, CA enumeration districts (plus several others in Marin County). Neither address appears in this census. (In other words no one was registered as living at the addresses I have.) And, I didn’t find Carlo, Rene or Maria at another address.

Also, I’ve expanded my 1920 census search to all of California for all Italian (or French) born residents with matching birth years (+/-2 years) for each person. No success with that either.

Like I said - This is a thought experiment. What am I missing? What/where else can I check?

I intentionally left out last names to discourage more searches. (I will provide names if someone really wants to rehash my research.)

Thanks,
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

VotM
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Re: finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby VotM » 21 Sep 2016, 02:36

Sometimes people just aren't in the right place at the right time, and no one gets around to counting them.

1930 census: my father, his sister, and their step-father are all missing, yet my father's mother is present. Also in 1930, my godfather (a first cousin twice removed) and his wife are missing from the census. All of the above lived in Baltimore the whole time.

To help restore the karmic balance of the universe, my cousin Marion was counted twice in 1940; once at his father's house, then eight days later at our maternal grandparents.

Then there are the ones where the name or the place defy expectations. My paternal grandfather showed up in 1910 under the leading name in his dual surname in a New York hotel as part of a railroad work crew. (Not entirely unexpected as he worked as a track hand when he first came to the U.S., but not an easy entry to find!) And my paternal grandmother's uncle, who came to St. Louis in 1902 and was still there in 1905 when his brother (my great-grandfather) & family arrived, apparently moved his family from St. Louis to Lincoln, Nebraska for at least ten years (1910 and 1920 census). He then moved back to St. Louis in 1921 -- as per city directories -- to stay.
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

C_Artale
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Re: finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby C_Artale » 21 Sep 2016, 03:05

Have you searched any city directories for that timeframe and region?
Surnames of interest:
Artale, Minincleri, Cattat (Accattato), Manfredi, Licetti, Durso, Pizzuto

kencwalker
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Re: finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby kencwalker » 21 Sep 2016, 05:09

C_Artale wrote:Have you searched any city directories for that timeframe and region?

Yes, I found an entry for Rene Pommier in the 1911-12 San Rafael city directory. I'm not sure why he's listed in the directory. According to the family legend, these 3 family members met while employed at the LaFarge French Laundry - not exactly "sophisticated" business people.
Thanks for the suggestion!
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

kencwalker
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Re: finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby kencwalker » 21 Sep 2016, 05:25

VotM wrote:Sometimes people just aren't in the right place at the right time, and no one gets around to counting them.

Thanks, sounds like my ancestors spent 1920 in your family's 1930 census black hole. :)
I hear you about the names or places defying expectations. I found Peter Greoge (aka Pietro Giorgi or Peter George) in Erie and Charlie Contos (aka Carlo Cantioa) in San Rafael. I even searched the San Quentin 1920 ED on the off chance they were in prison that year. But, alas, no criminals.
I'm beginning to think they lived in the back of the laundry, and the owner didn't want to acknowledge that people were living on his business premises.
Our ancestors lives were so different from our own! These are the mysteries that make this stuff interesting. Thanks!
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

VotM
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Re: finding invisible Italians in 1920 census

Postby VotM » 21 Sep 2016, 09:46

Forgot to add this one: in the 1940 census, my mother's paternal grandmother is listed as a patient in a hospital.

That said, I think people could fall through the cracks much easier in the days when the census used roving enumerators instead of mail-in forms.


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