Feeling The Void.

Like so many of you out there in the blogosphere, I have been pouring over the 1940 census records searching for my ancestors. Luckily I have been able to find many of my kin who lived in Morehead City and New Bern. I had a bit of an unexpected reaction when I located the households of my maternal great grand parents in the census records. You see, both of my great grandmothers on this side of the family died in 1939. This would be the first census where they would not be listed in their households. I knew this before looking at the records so I should have not been surprised not seeing their names listed.

Bryant Household 1930 Census
All the Bryant siblings are under one roof with their parents.
Grandma Rosa Jones living next door.

Bryant Household 1940 Census
My great grandfather Frank Bryant is clearly listed as being a widower

The thing that struck me when I saw this is that the family has dispersed. My 2nd great grandmother Rosa Jones passed away in 1931. It appears that Frank Bryant and his son Linwood, still reside in the family home. The four youngest children are listed but are shown absent from the home. Ray Bryant being a truck driver took him away from home quite a bit, I suppose. The three girls, Mary, Rosa, and Eloise were sent off to boarding school with the assistance of their older sister, Loris who was already married at this time. After the death of his wife, Frank Bryant was going to split the girls up and send them to different relatives to be cared for. Thankfully my aunt Loris stepped in and put her foot down and said no. She wanted her sisters to be together. Can you imagine losing your mother and then being split up from the rest of your family? Oh goodness, I can't.  My eye keeps looking irrationally hoping to see Ophelia's Bryant's name suddenly appear next to her husband. She's dead this simply isn't possible and then it truly hits me. I finally feel the impact of the loss of my great grandmother Ophelia--this void. Someone that is supposed to be there, the anchor of household, my great grandmother is just not there. Gone. It saddened me. I thought of my own family. What if all of the sudden I was gone? What becomes of my husband and my kids? The tremendous impact of a loss like that, how do you bear that?

For my Harrison family line, the comparison is similar.

Harrison Household 1930 Census
Sarah J. Whitney, Carrie's mother, resides in the home with the family

Harrison Household 1940 Census

The absence of my great grandmother and her mother is seen. My 2nd great grandmother Sarah J Whitney died in 1937. Also, the older children have moved out and on with their lives. 


  1. I feel you on this one Andrea..I have had to grieve at various times looking at the loss of ancestors I never knew, but very much a part of me through records and through family stories.

    So glad for your success in finding family through the 1940 Census

  2. While looking at my various family households in the 1940 census it hit me that many that I started out with in 1870 are gone now. Everybody who was born in slavery is dead. Those who were children in 1870 are old. Their children of the 1880s are middle aged. The children of the early 20th century are forming their own families. And all the families have dispersed from where they were in 1870. Only a few of the middle aged remain in Montgomery. Still have to wait for an index to find those from Lowndes county but it feels like a completion of some sort. and yet the generations go on.

    1. Very well said Kristin. It is does "feel like a completion of some sort and yet the generations go on." Thanks for checking in.


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