Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, October 2, 2002, pg. 12
“Come to your senses--and answer the Census.”--Passic.
We all remember two years ago when we filled out our U.S. Census forms and sent them in with all that personal information about ourselves. That information of course is confidential and cannot be released until 72 years later. The 1930 U.S. Census has just been released for public viewing--including the Census taken here in Albion.
The City of Albion portion is found on microfilm reel No. 978 at the State of Michigan Library and bears a catalog number of HA441.5. Albion is fortunately at the very beginning of the reel, beginning with the Precinct 1, or the Austin Avenue “west end” of town. How lucky can you get? The 1930 Census contains a “gold mine” of information about Albion and its people. In looking through the first 25 or so pages on the reel, we find many of the people living on the “west end” of town worked as a molder at a foundry: most likely the Albion Malleable Iron Company or the Gale Manufacturing Company. The heads of households were born either in Europe, or in Southern U.S. states such as Alabama, Georgia, or Florida. Most of the children, however, were born here in Albion; many of those still living are now in their late 70s and older.
The U.S. Census enumerator for the “west end” was Clyde A. Bacon--who was also an enumerator in the 1920 Census in Albion. Bacon worked in the office at the Decker Screw Products. One thing about being a Census enumerator is that once you’ve done it, you want to come back and participate again. Precinct 2 covered the central west portion of town around West Ward School and was enumerated by Lua H. Miller. This section included many black residents living in the W. Cass St.-Culver St. area that worked at the Malleable. Precinct 3 was enumerated by Novanne G. Schuyler and focused on the south part of town including Crandall and S. Superior Sts. Mary Dooley was in charge of enumerating Precinct 4, which covered the north central part of town. Kathryn Young enumerated Precinct 5, consisting of the northeast area around Burr Oak St., while the east side of town, Precinct 6, was handled by Jessie Davis. Of the above, Dooley and Davis are “tied” for the best handwriting among the group of Albion enumerators.
We’ve all learned about the importance the U.S. Census has had on our community already with our “new” official 2000 population figure of 9,144 persons. Back in 1930, Albion came up with an official population of 8,267 people. Albion College students however, “didn’t count” as part of our overall population--they were credited in the communities they came from. College students weren’t included here until the 1950 Census.
In looking at the various pages of the 1930 Census, I noticed that the enumerator would go “around the block,” much as they are trained to do today. Clyde Bacon enumerated the “west end” of Albion on April 5, 1930. There were not individual Census forms like we have today. Instead, names were compiled on ledger sheets 17 inches long, with personal information given in columns along the way. Thus, several families would be listed on one sheet. My maternal grandparents (Kulikowski family) had so many kids, it took two pages to list them, I found out.
Information given on the 1930 U.S. Census included: Address, name, head of household, names of persons living at a particular residence, sex, relationship to others in the same residence, house owned or rented, value of home, did they own a radio set?, did they live on a farm?, age at last birthday, marital condition (they meant status--not if you were having problems with your spouse), age at first marriage, did they attend school or college since September 1, 1929?, place of birth, place of birth of parents, language spoken in home before coming to the U.S., year of immigration to the U.S., were they naturalized?, can they speak English?, occupation, type of industry, class of worker, did they work yesterday?, and are they a veteran?
I encourage our readers to take a visit to the State of Michigan Library and look at the 1930 Census on microfilm. You may learn some things you didn’t know about your family. I have been fortunate to obtain a complete 170-page “hard copy.” Here is a quick sample listing of page 14-A, mostly on N. Albion St. of heads of households at these house numbers. The place in parentheses is where the head person was born. 810½: boarder Florence Johnson (Missouri); 816: William Jackson (Georgia) family; 902: George Dubovik (Russia) and lodger Andrew Espowuzg (Minsk-Russia); 906-John Kita (Poland) family; 908-Florence Ridley (Georgia) family; 910-John Klimiewicz (Poland) family and boarder Paul DeAngelo (Italy); 912-Joseph Snyder (Alabama) family; 1012-Judson Arties (?) (Arkansas) family; 1018-William Tucker (Mississippi) family; and 624 W. Broadwell-Michael Kulikowski (Lithuania) family.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a portion of the 1930 U.S. Census listing of the Joseph Bommarito family at 311 Austin Avenue, showing the kids born in Michigan, but the parents from Sicily/Italy, and Italian as the mother tongue.
1930 U.S. Census listing of Joseph Bommarito family
All text copyright, 2015 © all rights reserved Frank Passic