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:

View map


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?

20 thoughts on “My Elusive Grandmother

  1. Keep looking for her. Is she in a state census? Is she living with someone other than her parents, like and aunt or a grandmother? Did she have siblings? There ares still places you can look for her. She’s out there waiting to be found.


    1. Rosa Smith-Jones had 3 sisters. One was more European and looked the same. She moved away. Lost photo of her and can’t remember her name. Have forwarded this to a 1st cousin who has a many family photos Rosa is my grandmother.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Donna! ancestors can really hide in the census records. I have had this same issue before. It took me months of searching before I finally found my Great-Grandfather, his name had been horribly misspelled. I found him by tracing a neighbor. Keep searching. You will find her. Good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed reading about your “elusive” grandmothers. I have one too, but finally found s marriage record for her by using your strategy of a wildcard search. Turns out she used a nickname. Could that be the case for Eunice? I’ve also had luck finding people using their middle names. Best of luck to you in finding her.


    1. Thank you! My grandmother LOVED her She would never, ever use any other name! As a matter of fact she use to say everyone pronounced her name wrong, her sisters name was Bernice and she felt that her name should be pronounced Eu-Nice! Always cracked me up…lol


  4. I agree with Teresa, she might have been visiting someone during that time. Keep up the search, I’m sure you’ll find her.


  5. Did you send for a death certificate and birth certificate for Bernice? Do you have their parents names? If not, they may be on one of the certificates, if not both. Are any of their children alive? If so, can they give you any information? Can you find a marriage record for either one, which would have the parent’s names, hopefully.

    The birth locations of her parents might be wrong on the 1940 census. Was she the informant? Or she may have been a great niece or even a cousin to the couple she was living with in 1930, which would make their parents birth places different. Or their parent’s birth places may have been wrong in the 1930 census.

    Have you looked them up in the 1920 census? The couple she was living with in 1930?

    Those elusive relatives are so frustrating.


    1. Hi Kristin!
      I have Bernice’s birth certificate and I do know the names of my grandmother Eunice’s parents. My mother, Eunice’s daughter and her older sister are both still alive, so I know I have birth locations correct.
      Just today I think I found some more information after speaking with my mother, so I’m excited!
      Happy New Year and Happy Hunting!


  6. Hi Donna…I have those kind of relatives too. I have to, like you, move on to someone else, then come back later. I have been searching for my gg-grandfather since 2008…he shows up on 1880 census, after that no more. So let us rest awhile, then go back to them!!! Allso, I like your Blog name.


    1. Hi Delores! Happy New Year to ya!
      I am so trying to let it rest, but I just keep going right back. I spoke with my mother today and she remembered a little something! So I have a new little clue I’m tracking down!
      Happy Hunting!!


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