The 1940 census record for my grandparents includes a 9-year-old named June Taylor. She was listed as sister, which would indicate she was my grandfather’s sister. Other entries included attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940 = yes, highest grade of school completed = 2, and where lived on April 1, 1935 = same place. Also listed with my grandparents were their three daughters.1
When I first saw this record I was thoroughly confused for a few minutes.
Who in the world was June Taylor?
Now, I knew my maternal grandparents very well. I knew the names of all their siblings long before I ever became interested in genealogy, and I met most of them. A couple of things I was sure of: 1) My grandfather did not have a sister 37 years younger than him named June Taylor and 2) My grandmother did not have a sister 30 years younger than her named June Taylor, even though her maiden name was Taylor.
My grandmother was the Post Master at Loyall, KY from March 1937 to September 1941. I knew that her sister Gracie Taylor went to live with them when she took that job. Gracie kept house and was there for my mother and her sister who were both in elementary school.
It was pretty clear to me that somehow 53-year-old Grace was recorded in the census as nine-year-old June. Fortunately, I could also question my mother and my Aunt Edna (who was a college student in 1940) about this June Taylor. They were both sure they had no relative named June Taylor and no child by that name ever lived with them.
Technically, Gracie was my grandmother’s half-sister but I never heard that term used for her or my grandmother’s other two half-siblings.
Gracie was born 27 August 1886 in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky. She was the oldest of two daughters born to Sarah A. Ramsey and John Cook Taylor. Sarah died 12 February 1892 leaving John with two daughters 5 and 3 years old. John had a brief second marriage to Margaret Frances Warren before marrying Emma Jane Owens 16 January 1900 when Gracie was 13 years old.
Gracie never married and, except for that stint with Emma’s family, always lived with her father until he died in 1953. She continued living with her step-mother, Emma Jane, after John died. She worked as a clerk in Dr. Pennington’s office in the 1920s and also worked at the bus station in Mt. Vernon.
Gracie died 25 September 1961 at the Rockcastle County Baptist Hospital. She was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon next to her father.
If this had been a census record for a family I didn’t know so well, and I hadn’t been able to discuss it with my mother and aunt, I’d probably still be looking for June Taylor.
Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge from Amy Johnson Crow.
- 1940 U.S. census, Harlan County, Kentucky, population schedule, Loyall, enumeration district (ED) 4, sheet 15A, household 266, Elmer D. Hopkins; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 1313. ↩