52 Ancestors, 52 Weeks #5

If anyone wants to follow along the original!  Enjoy!

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Full disclosure here – these prompts are really challenging.  To say the least, you think you have done a lot of research, and then the question comes up – (like this one for this week) “talk about what is IN THE CENSUS.”  The question I ask myself: How best to pull up the research that you have marked, notes you have made on things to follow up on, who to look for, what is missing in your research, it is quite daunting.

(I am singing like Dory “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” in her sing song cheerful voice…).  So, I will talk about just one census that I came across that I wasn’t putting two and two together, until I saw it.

So, here it goes:

My Great-grandfather, Anthony Sutherland, was born 1 Aug 1878 in Oil City, Pennsylvania. In 1900 he was listed in the census as a baggage handler for the Pennsylvania railroad.  In the next census, he had moved up to railroad inspector (nice!).  His wife, Kathryne Anna Jensen, was born in Sept 1886 to Danish parents Hans Peter Jensen and Helena Beck (I was so excited to find these two officially).

Children of Anthony and Kathryne: Helena “Toots”, Mary-Kathryn, William James (my grandfather), Frances Eleanor, Elsie Louise, David, Anthony Jr and Charlotte.  For the most part, nice healthy family.  Mary-Kathryn died in 1930 at the age of 22 of pneumonia and influenza (scary thought in this season.  God bless modern medicine!). Frances Eleanor died of diphtheria in 1919 at the age 8.

So all good, right? Nope. Anthony decided to talk to someone while walking on a busy street, went across the street to get a ride and got hit by a car.  His injuries were too severe for him to survive at the hospital, with multiple broken bones in his both legs.  The death certificate is always interesting to look at. Anthony Sutherland Death Certificate 1927  Within three years, Kathryne followed him, passing away in 1930.

Kathryne was alive during the 1930 census in April, her death not until October.  But if you look at the 1930 census, she had four younger children still at home along with William.  But, only William (who was 19), Elsie and Irene are listed still living in the house in 1930. Not David (12) and not Anthony (10).  Why?  When I looked for them individually, there were listed as being occupants at the Bethesda House, in Crawford, PA.

An orphanage.

1930 census Pennsylvania – Sutherland Kathryn 

1930 census Sutherland, Anthony & David_orphanage


But by 1940, Aunt Elsie (Anthony’s sister, Kathryne’s former sister-in-law) came and helped.  Thank goodness.  See above.

Finding these always raises more questions than provides answers…. but there you go.  Family history – the good and the bad!



~ Rachel


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