Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Workday Wednesday - Cubbages in the 1940 Census

So yes, the 1940 Census was released nine months ago and I am doing my first post on it now. Besides being really behind, it did give me time to process some of the info. I am starting with the Cubbage family who lived in Monessen, PA for those second cousins we are connecting with for a family reunion this year!

Five of the eight Cubbage children were still living in their parents' home in April of 1940 (George and Leah died as children). Maine Swank/Schwenk Cubbage had died in 1938 and Charles A Cubbage died less than a year later in 1939. Aunt Margaret (Swank/Schwenk) Speedy was also living with them. She is listed as Margaret Beatty ... sounds like Speedy, right?

Click image for a larger view.

For Workday Wednesday, I am focusing on the Occupation, Industry and Income columns to the right of the document. Below is a transcription of those areas.

                      Occupation             Industry        Weeks Worked in 1939             Income in 1939
Lester            Blast Furnace           Steel Mill                        45                                   $ 1875
Marian            Clerk                        NB ??                            52                                   $ 1575
Gladys           Stenographer            Steel Mil                         52                                   $   912
Arthur             Stenographer            Railroad                          52                                   $ 1100
Margaret         Stenographer            Steel Mill                        52                                   $   720

The 1940 Census was the first census to collect information on salary or wages and weeks worked in the previous year. So what do we learn from this census?

Lester was working at the Blast Furnace of the Steel Mill and only worked 45 weeks in 1939.  I'm not sure why he is the only one who worked less than a year. He has the highest income of the Cubbage children. He is also listed as the Head of the Household and the person who gave the information to the census taker (noted by the x in a circle next to his name). The 1920 and 1930 Censuses have Lester working at the Steel Mill (most likely Pittsburgh Steel) as an electrician and craneman, respectively.

Marian was working as a clerk at NB and the next word is difficult to read. The 1930 Census lists her occupation as a bookkeeper at a bank. A newspaper article in The Monessen Daily Independent later in 1940 states she works at National Bank and Trust, which must be what the NB on the census.

Gladys (aka "Babe") was working as a Stenographer at the Steel Mill, and was recorded with the same occupation in the 1930 census. A newspaper article about her bridal shower in The Monessen Daily Independent in 1941states that she had worked in a clerical capacity at Page Wire and Steel for some time.

Arthur was working as a Stenographer for the Railroad in the 1940 Census. To the right of Arthur's line on the census, there is a note in the margin: "out, not filled out self". We know from Art's Naval Discharge Papers that he worked from 1939 to April 1944 as a ticket agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Akron and Cleveland. I wonder how accurate the occupation and income areas are since Lester provided the information. I did a search of the 1940 Census in Cayuga and Summit Counties in OH and found no listing for Art.

Margaret is also working as a Stenographer at the Steel Mill. She was the youngest of the Cubbage siblings and was earning the least of them at the time. When she married six years later, she was still working for Page Wire and Steel.

If you flip through the pages of the Monessen census, it is clear that Monessen was a Western Pennsylvania "steel town". So many people worked for Pittsburgh Steel, Page Woven Wire and Fence Company, Monessen Foundry or Tin Mill. Charles Cubbage, father of these children, worked for Pittsburgh Steel from 1918 (when they moved to Monessen) until he retired shortly before his death in 1939. His son Lester followed in his footsteps and worked for the steel industry for his entire life. Babe and Marge worked in the offices of the mills until they married. Art, Minnie and Marian were the only children who didn't work at one of the mills.

Minne Cubbage Reabe worked as a Stenographer at a real estate office, according to the 1930 census and The Monessen Daily Independent. She married in 1931 and they moved to Baltimore in the 1930s, I'm not sure when yet.  Below is the 1940 Census for the Reabe family.

Minnie's husband, Harry, also worked in the steel industry. Minnie is no longer working and they have two children. This census is such a great example of why we can't take everything in them as fact, as it is filled with errors! First, they are listed as Harry and Minnie REABLE and born in Maryland (both were born in Pennsylvania). Next, the children are listed as Mariam K (she was Marna Kay) and Jean, a daughter (poor Gene, who was their son!). It makes me wonder what other things on this page are incorrect. It's a good reminder to always evaluate our sources and check it to other sources and information that we have collected on our ancestors.

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