12 May 2012

1940 U.S. Census: the Morris Perrineville farm

I have been pretty successful in my family history work locating relations in the 1940 U.S. Census by determining their likely address in 1940, determining the 1940 U.S. Census Enumeration District (ED)and sorting through 20-40 pages of images per ED. My best prize thus far? The Morris farm.

For most of Isadore and Sarah Myers Morris' children and grandchildren their retirement from their Manhattan glass business to farming in rural Perrineville, New Jersey must have been a bit of cultural shock. Some of their children and most of their grandchildren had grown up in New York City and milking a cow and raising chickens probably did not come second nature. My father, the Brooklyn boy, talked with bemusement and some satisfaction about milking his grandparents' one cow at their Perrineville, New Jersey farm. 

For Isadore and Sarah their move to a rural setting must have been like going home to the old country - but much much better. They'd grown up in a rural shtetl: Lubin in Volhynia Gubernia, Russian Empire.  They'd left in in the early part of the century never to return.  In New Jersey there were no pogroms and they could actually own a home and land. 

The 1930 U.S. Census shows Isadore and Sarah on 234 East 105th Street, NY, NY [1]. I knew that they'd moved to rural New Jersey sometime after the Census was taken in April 1930 and moved back to NYC (627 Manida, Bronx, NY) sometime before Isadore's death on 22 December 1947 [2].

The 1940 U.S. Census finds Sarah Myers and Isidore Morris at number 6 and 7 on sheet 11A of Enumeration District 13-120, Millstone Township, Monmouth County.[2]

They lived in a rural area along what was identified as Perrineville Hightstown Road. Column 17 indicates that they'd lived in the same house five years earlier (on April 1, 1935). This gives me a better idea of when they might have moved to New Jersey from NYC.

They owned the home (column 4) and valued it at $5,000 (col. 5) for the census taker.  

Column 11 indicates that both Isadore and Sarah were 64 years old. This information comports with prior information I have for them.  

They were foreign born in "Russia" (col.15). Their Russian Empire village is within the boundaries of today's Ukraine. Column 16 indicates that they had both applied for citizenship.  The "PA" indicates that they had filed their first papers (aka the Declaration of Intention). However, I have yet to find any indication that they ever finished the naturalization process.  I will have to do some additional checking in New Jersey (mostly I've checked in New York records).

Column 26 indicates that Isadore usually worked 49 hours each week as a farm laborer (column 28) at his own home (column 29). Column 32 indicates that he earned no wages at this work. Of course this does not mean that the farm was not somewhat self-supporting, just that Isadore did not take wages.

Go to this link to see photographs of the farm in the 1930s and early 1940s. 

The photograph below shows a shot taken today from Google Maps of 842 Perrineville Road, Millstone Township, New Jersey: my great grandparents home as it looks in 2012.