Saturday, October 24, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT GENEALOGY FUN ~ Where were your ancestors 80 years ago?

An idea from Randy Seaver’s weekly Saturday Night Fun blog suggestions.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 April 1940 - 80 years ago when the U.S. census was taken.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.

  • My father – Harry Norman Gould, age 27, working as a Statistician at the State Auditors Office, renting a home at 12892 Faust Ave., Detroit, Michigan.  His first wife, Elaine Gertrude Croft, age 21 was living there as well.
(Click on any image to enlarge it)

12892 Faust Ave. Detroit, MI - courtesy of Google Maps ©

My mother – Patricia A. Milne, age 15, was living with her parents and older brother at 14156 Strathmore, Detroit, Michigan. My grandfather Joseph A. Milne, age 56 was a salesman, my grandmother Florence Milne nee Bowden, age 52 and my Uncle Robert A. Milne, age 31 working at an automobile factory, were in this household.

14156 Strathmore, Detroit, MI - courtesy of Google Maps ©

  • My paternal grandfather – Harry W. Gould, age 51, working as an Assignment Clerk for the Common Pleas Court, was living at 14520 Asbury Park in Detroit, Michigan as was my grandmother, Marie Gould nee Lindsay, age 50.  They owned this home and I went there as a child. 

14520 Asbury Park, Detroit, MI - photo taken by me in 2007

  • My paternal great grandmother, Mae Eve Gould nee Thorp, age 77, widowed, lived at 5639 Linwood in Detroit, Michigan in a home she owned.  Her son, my great Uncle Ford, age 50 was living with her.  He worked as a Truck Driver for a lumber company.  Also in the home was my widowed great grandaunt, Catherine “Kittie” Thorpe (her maiden name was Thorp and she married a man named Thorpe), age 75.

This house no longer exists 

  • My maternal great grandmother – Susan Anne Milne nee Gillespie, widowed, age 79 was living at 5029 Ridgewood, Detroit, Michigan.  She was living with her daughter Irene Roe and Irene’s husband Everett and their daughter, Betty Jane. 
Ridgewood St in Detroit, MI - courtesy of Google maps ©

  • My other maternal great grandmother – Florence Bowden Bell nee Hunter, age 70 was living at 4426 Windsor in Kansas City, Missouri, with her 2nd husband, George K. Bell, age 70.
4426 Windsor, Kansas City, MO - courtesy of Google maps ©

My direct line ancestors who were living when the 1940 census was taken were:

My Father – Harry Norman Gould, Sr.

My Mother – Patricia Anne Milne

My 2 paternal grandparents – Harry Gould & Marie Lindsay Gould

My 2 maternal grandparents – Joseph Milne & Florence Bowden Milne

My paternal great grandmother – Mae Eve Thorp Gould

Two of my maternal great grandmothers – Susan Gillespie Milne & Florence Hunter Bowden Bell

That’s a total of 9 ancestors.   All but one of them were living in Detroit, Michigan at the time of the 1940 census.

This was interesting and fun and I thank Randy Seaver of Geneamusings for the post idea.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2020   Diane Gould Hall



  1. You have definite roots to Detroit. My family moved all over the place. You also have a lot of direct ancestors living in 1940 - 9 is a lot!

    1. Hi Linda. Yup, deep roots in Detroit for sure. That’s how I decided on a name for my blog. The trails all lead from Michigan. I didn’t realize that 9 was a lot. I do have some long living females in my line.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I love the images of the homes. That really adds to the story.

    1. I agree. There's something about seeing an actual place your ancestors lived that warms my heart.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great post Diane and great challenge Randy! Will have to try this one sometime.

    1. Would love to see pics and read where your family was Debby.

  4. Great photos of the homes. You are fortunate to have them or have been able to find them online.

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I was very happy to locate some online. One of them I had taken myself during a visit to Detroit. Another I knew was just a vacant lot now. Photos and maps can add so much to our ancestor's stories.

  5. Eighty years ago both of my parents and their families were living in Detroit. I wrote them all up when the 1940 census came out. I did have photos of their houses, although now all of those houses are vacant lots.

    I can't wait for the 1950 census to appear and I will be in it!

    1. Kristin. I wonder if our families lived near one another back in Detroit in 1940? I too am waiting for the 1950 census and looking forward to seeing my name.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.