When I wrote the 1940’s Census blog on August 4, telling what the census revealed about my mother’s family in that year my it also left me with a couple questions…mysteries if you will. The biggest one for me concerned my grandfather’s mother, Catherine (Sitzmann) Wilkins. According to the 1940’s census, she was living next door to my grandfather by herself but was listed as married….but with a line through the
M. Yet I knew that her husband, my great-grandfather Wilkins did not
die until the mid-40’s. Moreover, the
census also revealed that in 1935 she had been living in Long
Beach, California, so clearly,
at that point she was not living next to my mother and grandfather who were
still at the same address. What was
I decided to try to see if I could locate my great grandfather Ed Wilkins. I found an Edward Wilkins listed in Yuba City, California quite a distance away. His age was approximately that of my great grandfather but a couple years older. He was listed as a handy man at what appear to be a campground. Moreover, he was listed as living at the same address as a housekeeper (I believe her name was Ella Longley) who was two years younger and originally from Canada. Because both Edward and Wilkins are common names, the possibility that this was my great grandfather seems pretty slim, except for two things. He was listed as having been born in Missouri, the woman listed as a housekeeper was listed as widowed while Ed was listed as being married, and, most importantly, to the question of where he was living on April 1, 1935, the answer was Long Beach, California, the same city that Catherine A. Wilkins was living in. Moreover, his original age had a line through it, changing it to 77, giving him a 1863 birthday. All of this is circumstantial, but pretty convincing to me that he was the same man. This does not answer the question, though, of why Ed and Catherine were separated (if still married) and why Catherine was living next door to my grandfather and listed as married but head of household. What happened between 1935 and 1940?
This picture shows a few of the players in the drama above.
Starting on the bottom left is my grandfather, Victor Wilkins.
next to him is his mother Catherine and next to her his father,
Ed. My mother's Uncle Ray (for whom she did child care)
is standing in back. He'll be the subject of a future blog.