Digging up the family history of the ladies can sometimes be a bit more difficult than the guys. Changing names can hide female history, leaving blanks in their stories. I want to be sure to put a fair share of attention on the females in researching, document and writing our family history. So, I’m putting together this “Ladies In My Line” series featuring my female ancestors.
Of course, my mom, Rosemary, is the first on my list. Rosemary Ethel Weber was known to her friends as Rose and to her family as Sis. To set the stage for her, here’s a link to her ancestor chart.
But, I have a quandary about Rose’s story beyond those ancestors. Where do I go first? There could (will) be many chapters. Let’s see: her parents, Harry and Tillie Weber, her birth in 1916, sibling relationships, her years growing up on Indianapolis’ south side, her high school years, marriage, children, divorce, all the ups and downs. Actually, I’ve decided that I’ll center on the the most-recently-found piece of family history, the 1940 census. This particular census, I believe, portrays a snapshot in time at a significant era in Rose’s life. That’s how my series begins.
We’ll take a look on April 10, 1940, as her father, Harry L. Weber, answered the census questions about his family asked by the enumerator visiting their home at 2160 Singleton Street, Indianapolis. His oldest daughter, Rosemary Ethel Weber, was 24 years old and making an annual salary of $900 as a stenographer at an auto insurance company. She prepared for this occupation by taking courses at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in the early 1930s. Rose enjoyed working in the office atmosphere.
At the time of the census, Rose was engaged to be married later that year to Frank Niehaus. Also, she was enjoying activities such as bicycling, traveling and picnics with her longtime friends from school days. The Weber family spent time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, including summer vacations at Lake McCoy, near Greensburg, Indiana, where they rented a cabin and enjoyed fishing and swimming.
Below is a transcription of the 1940 census (and a jpg of the census page), presenting an outline of Rose’s family. When this census was taken, Rose’s mother, Tillie (Kuhn) Weber, was enumerated separately as a hospital patient.
1940 Census, Indianapolis, Indiana, Enumeration Dist. 96-292, Sheet 7B, 2160 Singleton Street, Indianapolis, Indiana:
Weber, Harry L., Head, Age 52, Married, Occupation: Asst. Secretary, Bank; Income in 1939 - $3000
Weber, Robert W., Son, Age 25, Single, Occupation: Developing Room, Photographer; Income in 1939 - $760
Weber, Rosemary E., Daughter, Age 24, Single, Occupation: Stenographer, Auto Insurance, Income in 1939 - $900
Weber, Virginia F., Daughter, Age 19, Single,
Weber, Margaret E., Daughter, Age 15, Single
Weber, Delores M., Daughter, Age 13, Single
Weber, Harry J., Son, Age 12, Single
The census-taker found the Weber family at their home on Singleton Street (photo below). This was not only the childhood home of Rose and her sisters and brothers, but it was a Weber family gathering place into the 1960s. And it served as a home for the married children, spouses and grandchildren from time to time when they needed a temporary place to live or wanted to help their widowed mother. Rose’s family was a part of that tradition as well.
This short story quickly peeks at the life of my mother, Rosemary Weber, as a 24-year-old young lady beginning to forge her way in the world. The continuation of the “Ladies In My Line” series will step back another generation next week.
copyright (c) 2012, Nancy Hurley