Monthly Archives: December 2013

My Elusive Grandmother

My Elusive Grandmother

I have a few ancestors who are easily found in one census but can’t be found in any others with any certainty.

For example, my grandmother, Eunice Sarah Franklin is listed in the 1940 census with her husband and daughters.


Eunice S Holland





Estimated Birth Year:

abt 1914




Negro (Black)



Marital Status:


Relation to Head of House:


Home in 1940:

Galveston, Galveston, Texas

Map of Home in 1940:

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Ave O 1/2

House Number:


Inferred Residence in 1935:

Galveston, Galveston, Texas

Residence in 1935:

Same Place

Resident on farm in 1935:


Sheet Number:


Attended School or College:


Highest Grade Completed:

High School, 4th year

Weeks Worked in 1939:




Income Other Sources:



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Household Members:


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Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Galveston, Galveston, Texas; Roll: T627_4038; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 84-32.

Source Information: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

There’s a census from 1930 that list a Eunice Franklin in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri.  She’s listed as a niece, but neither the head of household or the wife list their parents as having been born in Tennessee (Father) or Louisiana (Mother) where Eunice’s parents were born. So is this MY Eunice Franklin?

I checked the 1920 census on both Ancestry and Family Search and I came up empty.

I used Family Search to try and locate a birth certificate; I used just the last name of Franklin, years of birth 1913-1915 and just the state of Texas as my parameters. 2,467 records later and I came up empty yet again!

There is a birth record for her sister Bernice Franklin, who is the oldest but not for Eunice. But then I can’t find Bernice until 1934 listed in a city directory and then not until her death in 1987.

Where are these women?

Grandma Eunice

Eunice Sarah Franklin born in Houston, Texas, 30 August 1913, Died 4 September 1998 in Chicago, Illinois.

I had the family over for dinner Christmas Eve, and I mentioned how when we were younger we would have Christmas brunch at grandma’s. She’d fix scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, grits, fried apples and biscuits. Didn’t matter if you didn’t like scrambled eggs, you ate what was put on your plate!
And all the food had to be eaten and the kitchen cleaned before anyone opened any gifts!
As my grandma got older the task of holiday gatherings fell to my mother, despite the fact that she was the middle daughter and now I am the matriarch of the family holiday dinners.

Grandma Eunice
A dress she designed and made.

Grandma Eunice was a very talented woman, she was a tailor and a furrier. That woman could, would and did take newspaper or brown butcher paper and create a pattern in the morning, sew up a dress for herself to wear to a formal event in the evening! She was just that good! You better believe she would not walk into an event and see her dress on someone else!

Xmas party
A dress I made.

She tried to teach all three of her daughters to sew but the only one who showed any skill or interest was my mother, who passed it on to me. Neither of my two sisters were interested.
Sometime between 1941 and 1942 Grandma Eunice moved from Galveston, Texas to Chicago. After a period of time she purchased a two flat on Chicago’s westside across the street from the Garfield Park Conservatory. She was a single parent providing a strong, secure home for her daughters and their families. 327 N Central Park 1 June 2013