A peek into social history

One of the things I love about family history research is that even census records can give you a little peek into the lives of people who lived before us. The fact that these people are related to us makes it even more interesting.

For example, I found my paternal grandmother, Beatrix Rasco, on the 1920 census. She was living in Plainview. Texas. with her family, on a farm. She was 13 years old and in school. She could read and write. In my experience, when a student is listed on the census, the occupation field is left blank or the word None is entered. In my grandmother’s case, her occupation was Farmer. Her little brother, Wilson, who at 7 was not in school, could not read or write and his occupation was listed as Farmer. (Their father was a farmer, as was their big sister, Lessie, who was 18 at the time. Their mother had no occupation listed.)

When I was 13 I think I babysat for some money, but my biggest worry, besides boys, was making sure I was able to watch Happy Days on Tuesday evenings. It’s hard for me to imagine life as a teenage girl farmer. Or a little boy who worked a farm but didn’t go to school and couldn’t read. (Though, to be fair, I don’t know at what age most kids started school back then. I’ll have to look into that.)

Kids today would probably consider my childhood deprived, since we had no computers, VCRs, cell phones (smart or otherwise) or, of course, internet. But by comparison to my grandmother’s childhood, it seems like I was living in the lap of luxury.

I can’t wait to have more glimpses of the past via my family history research!


  1. I’ve noticed the exact same thing about census records! It’s brilliant I think the occupation field is the second if not first section I check, admittedly about 80% of my ancestors where blacksmiths but that makes those who did something different even more interesting!

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