Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Lot Can Happen in Ten Years

I was thinking today about how much a person's life can change during the ten years between census reports. It's especially true for teenagers who become adults during those the ten years.

For example, my father, Lee Doyle began the decade as a farm boy of 17, living in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, with his father, stepmother, and step-siblings.  His paternal grandparents lived nearby.

In 1933 his father died leaving him in a home where he was no longer welcome.  Several months after his father's death he moved to Niles, Ohio, where his maternal aunt, Brendice Gerner Davis, and her husband, Raymond, helped him find a job in a steel mill.

In 1936, his paternal grandmother, Tressa Rose Froman Doyle, died.  She was probably the closest person to a mother he'd known:  she raised him after his own mother passed away when he was a baby.

Audrey Meinzen, my mom, lived at home with her parents and three younger sisters in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, in 1930.  She was 15.

In 1933 she graduated from high school and began nurse's training.

She graduated in 1937, took her boards and became a registered nurse.  She began working at Warren City Hospital. 

My parents met while she was in nurse's training and he was newly employed at a steel mill.  They were introduced by one of my mother's classmates and began dating.

They married in the autumn of 1938 and had a baby in May, 1939.

By the time the 1940 census was taken, they had an 11-month-old son.

Sometimes ten years is a long time; sometimes it's not very long at all.


  1. It's nice to see the people smiling and having a good time on all the 3 photos.

  2. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Rob. I wasn't thinking about their expressions when I posted the photos but it IS nice to see the smiles.

  3. What a lovely post...I especially like the first photo of your dad!

  4. Thanks, Jenny. In that first photo my dad epitomizes the look of the self-assured teen male, don't you think? It's one of my favorite photos of my dad.

  5. This is such a lovely post. It really made me think about how much can change in a relatively short period of time. I love all three photos, but I especially love the photo of your mom and dad together.

  6. Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, in those 10 years between the censuses (especially earlier ones) we can sometimes lose several family members, especially children. But I thought it was interesting to see it in terms of two individuals.

    It's fun for me to look at the photo of them together and see how happy they were in young love.

  7. For some reason this census has got me thinking about the passage of time too. I like the way you packed 10 years of change into this post.


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