Genealogy Research Journal #4, Entry #6
To The Census We Go!
Census records are a great way to see a snapshot of a family at 10 year intervals. I expected to learn something about Helen and Frank Correia from the 1930 Census since they were married 3 years earlier. My searches for Jesuina were fruitless. I’d all but given up on her. If she wasn’t in the census records between 1910 and 1930, my guess was she died before she got herself recorded.
And a Mother-in-Law, Too
You never know when the genealogy gods will reward you. My break came with the 1930 census. Helen and Frank were living on E. 15th Ave in Oakland in 1930. And, who was living with them? Jesuina! Not Jesuina Fitkal or Jesuina de Caires, but Jessie Gomes, mother-in-law!
1930 U.S. Federal Census
Correia, Frank, Head, 28 yrs old, born in Hawaii
—–, Helen, Wife, 23 yrs old, born in Hawaii
—–, Frank, Son, 4 yrs old, born in California
Gomes, Jessie, Mother-in-Law, 47 years old, born in Portugal
[Source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Brooklyn Township, Oakland, Alameda Co., CA, Enumeration District 173, Sheet 9A]
This was exactly what I was searching for! The reason Jesuina had escaped me was that I didn’t know that she was married twice. The census didn’t report whether she was widowed or divorced, but it was clear she was married before the Fitkal encounter. Somehow this 1st marriage had escaped everyone’s notice.
But, Jesuina existed! Hooray!
I went back to the 1900 census with my new information. There was a Manuel and Jesuina Gomes living in Waimea, Kauai in 1900. They were of the right age and Jesuina was from Madeira which is where the de Caires family originated from. There wasn’t enough information to tie this couple in with Helen, but they are most likely a match.
The 1930 Census told me some important things about Jesuina:
- She was known to family as Jessie.
- She lived with her adoptive daughter and son-in-law.
- She was married once at 17 to a man with the surname Gomes.
- She married Peter Fitkal after the 1930 Census was enumerated.
I now had proof that Helen was Jessie Gomes’ daughter. Now I had to prove that Jessie Gomes was Jesuina Fitkal. If not, my whole theory was going to be thrown asunder. No one likes being asunder.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com