Getting My Geek On, pt. 2: The Perretts in the 1940 Census

In Part 2 of ‘Getting My Geek On’, the recap of my adventures looking for family in the 1940 census, I want to move on to my next easiest to find relatives, my paternal grandmother’s family. Like the Elliotts in Part 1, the Perretts lived in pretty much the same town and area for several decades – Arlington, Texas – which made it much easier to look for them. My mother’s side of the family was a special problem unto its own and I’ll address those in future posts.

I expected the Perretts to either be in the same place as the 1930 census or pretty close to that, so I started here as I did for the Elliotts, by using the 1930 enumeration district (ED) to find the approximate 1940 ED via Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub’s Unified 1940 Census ED Finder. It suggested Tarrant County, Arlington, 220-13 for the ED. Excited, I started scrolling through the 32 pages (not much, compared to some groups I’ve had to scroll through), but without luck. No Perretts. I went back to the ED descriptions, though, trying to figure out if I should try 220-11 or 220-12 next (I would have gone through them both if necessary, but I was trying to be methodical and save some time). I noticed ‘Pecan’ St. on 220-12 and remembered the Perretts had lived on the corner of Pecan and another street, so that seemed the next most logical choice. Though parts of Pecan were in 220-13, it wasn’t the right part of Pecan. And sure enough, there on p. 13, I found the family I was looking for:

Will Perritt (Perrett), the head of the family is 52 and born in Tennessee, married to Medey (Susan Almeda Abigail Scott), also 52 and born in Tennessee. Their oldest two children, Stanford and William Karagan/Kargan were already out of the home, but Carl is there, as is ‘Geneve’ (Jenny Vesta – gma!) and Roy, their youngest.

I felt better about them not being where I expected them to be – 5 years prior they were living in the ‘same place’, but not the ‘same house’, so they may have moved down the street. Pecan is a really long street, so it’s very possible – or I was just remembering Pecan from a later time.

Though Will was a carpenter, like his father, he wasn’t working at this time. In fact, he was listed as ‘U’ or unable to work. In his later years, his eyesight degenerated significantly and I wonder if that was affecting him even then. That’s only a supposition, though. Medey/Meda was involved in housework, Carl was working as a carpenter also, and both Jenny and Roy were in school still. Will and Medey are both listed as receiving income from other sources, though. Which brings me back to the same question from Pt. 1 of this series – what is this money they’re receiving? Was it benefits from the government? Someone else? If one of my readers has a clue, please leave me a comment!

All in all, nothing too surprising here. None of these individuals won the ‘census lottery’ and were asked the supplemental questions. However, several of Will Perrett’s brothers and nieces/nephews also lived in the neighborhood, including Charles Morgan Perrett and George Perrett, the eldest brother. George Perrett won the census lottery, meaning more information about his parents!

This was so very important, as his father is one of my biggest brick walls – George W Perrett, whom I wrote about in a previous post. In that post, I indicated George W. Perrett himself had always claimed Mississippi as his place of birth. I hoped to find a match here, even though it wasn’t George himself who answered the questions, but his wife, Lou. So what did his wife have to say?

His father was born in Illinois?!

Well, ok, there is a family legend that George W. Perrett was born in Illinois, but I’ve never paid it much mind because I have absolutely no proof. Also, G.W. himself always said Mississippi. Was this true? A misunderstanding by the man’s wife? It also says his mother, Mary Elizabeth Bell, was born in Tennessee, but that wasn’t right. She was born in Mississippi, like her husband. Hmm. I guess I can trust the part about the English language being spoken at home, and the ‘no’ for veteran status. But the rest? This has only raised more questions and doubts than it answered.

Curse you, G.W. Perrett! Even now you elude me! But at least finding his children turned out to be relatively easy. We’ll get into the more difficult stuff – my mom’s side – in future posts.

Source Citation: 1940 U.S. census, Tarrant County, Texas, population schedule, Arlington, enumeration district (ED) 220-12, sheet no. 7-A (penned), dwellings 150, 156, & 159, Will Perrett & George Perrett & Charles Perrett households; digital images, accessed 23 April 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627.

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