Sunday

1940 US Census Chicago, Illinois - The Sevald Family

I explore a census record and list the genealogical clues it contains (or doesn't)

1940 US Census - Chicago, Illinois - The Sevald Family: Paul, Dagmar, Arnold and Grace


lines 24, 25, 26 and 27  These are my grandparents Paul and Dagmar Sevald and their children. My uncle Arnold and mother, Grace.

*The family lives at 2432 Harding Ave. and have since at least 1935. This is good considering the depression. The family remains in what was a predominantly Scandinavian immigrant neighborhood (Logan Square). They no longer have boarders living with them. Although the children are now in their teens and need more "space" I would think if finances were still tight boarders would be a necessity to keep their apartment.

*Arnold and Grace are 14 and 13. They are both in the 7th grade. I had expected to see Arnold in the 8th grade at this age since he will be 15 in Sept. He may have been left behind a grade or as was common with immigrant children their parents enrolled them both in school together. My mother had told me that she spoke no English until she went to school. Both are still in school which is encouraging. The depression had not made it necessary for them to find work at this young age for the family to survive.

*Paul and Dagmar had both finished 8th grade in their education. It is marked that Paul gave the answers for the family so it may be possible that he finished 8th grade but I don't know. His mother died when he was 14 and he may have been schooled until that time but my grandmother told me she quit school at 12 (very common for the times in Norway) to serve as a cook for the crew on her fathers boat.

*Paul is now a naturalized American but Dagmar is not. She will become an American during WWII which was very common for immigrants who had procrastinated in the past. During wartime they became citizens as a form of solidarity or "proving" loyalty and fidelity to their new home. The women immigrants in particular I have seen became citizens during WWII. Perhaps in support of their sons who were serving?

*Paul works as a mechanic (machinest) in a printing factory and worked 44 weeks of the year. I am sure he did not vacation for 8 weeks. Most likely layoff due to the depression. It states Dagmar did not work except in her home but she told me and also Uncle Arnold told me that she took domestic type work on and off to help. I am guessing not so different from today, immigrant women working "under the table" for cash at less than the prevailing wage.

*Paul earned $1585 in his work. A pittance today but seems in line with his neighbors in the area.

my mom, Grace, in her school photo about this time (second row third from left)


Unfortunately the 1950 US census will not be available to the public until 2022. I expect to see a phenomenal difference in the lives of my grandparents during that time. Their children will both be grown and married. My uncle will have served in the Navy. The country as a whole will have changed a LOT. Pulling out of the depression to enter WWII and then post-war recovery and boom.
Can't wait to see it.


*click on documents or photos to enlarge for easier reading"