Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Ward Cubs, Houston, Texas, 1922-1923

Two interesting pictures in my mother's collection are from a football team her father, my grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967, pictured above), was a member of around 1922.  The name of the team (at left) was First Ward Cubs.  We didn't know much about the pictures beyond that.

The week before last, I was in Houston for the Texas Library Association annual conference, and I used that opportunity to do some research at the Houston Public Library, specifically at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research, and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.  One of the databases the library subscribes to (that you can only access with a library card, within the library) is the Access NewspaperARCHIVE.  I've encountered this database before in Internet searches, but it requires a fee to use, so I was excited to find it in the library.  I entered the last name Guokas and turned up over 50 articles!

Three of the articles were from the 1923 Galveston [TX] Daily News, December 1, 2, and 8.  The articles talk about a game between the Galveston Hurricanes and Houston's First Ward Cubs, "who claim the 145 pound amateur championship of Houston." The "Cubs at all times, win or lose, play a clean game of football, never having been cautioned by the referee as to unnecessary roughness, etc."

"The Cub football team is composed of young men between the ages of 16 and 20 years.  All of them are well known in Houston amateur sports."  Apparently their record going into this game was 2-2-1, where "the games the Cubs lost were won by much heavier teams."  They had "a large following of loyal rooters and supporters."

My mother and I were amused to see that her father/my grandfather, who played left halfback, was known as "Goat" Guokas on this team.  He was described as "a good broken field runner and once he gets by the secondary defense it takes a fast man to overtake him."  He and the rest of the backfield "appeared on the local gridiron before and showed speed and driving power"and "are a hard combination to beat at their own weight."

I also thought it was quite interesting that the team practiced at night, probably because the men all had jobs or school during the day.  "The ball has a coating of white calcimine, which enables the back field men to handle the ball with ease on moonless nights."  I didn't find an article that indicated who won this game.

I turned up one more article of interest in the same newspaper (at right), from the May 2, 1921 edition.  It refers to a baseball game between the Alvin [TX] Jasmine Buds and the "Patterson & Crawford Nine" of Houston.  Patterson & Crawford was apparently a company that, in 1922, had a location on Main Street in Houston "handling Diamond and Goodrich tires and tubes," according to page 748 of Automobile Topics, Volume 67.  A Guokas was apparently a catcher for the team, although this could also have been my grandfather's first cousin, Adam Lawrence Guokas (1901-1966).

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

To Arbitrate or Not? Watch a Webinar, Then Decide!

Though I've only completed 20+ 1940 U.S. Census indexing batches, I've completed over 100 batches and indexed nearly 3000 names overall in all the indexing projects I've worked on, with a 98% in arbitration results.  What does this mean?  It means I received an invitation from to become an arbitrator!  They have a backlog of over three MILLION images that need arbitration, and it's only gonna get worse with all the wonderful interest in indexing the 1940 Census.
view of an arbitration screen
Every image on the 1940 U.S, Census is indexed by two volunteers.  An arbitrator compares the two indexes and makes decisions where they differ.  It's the last step before the index becomes available to everyone to use.

I want to learn more about arbitration before I decide whether or not to do this.  Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to learn more about both arbitration and indexing.  I love webinars, and there are two coming up next week, provided by the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project (and this is also where you go to sign up to be an indexer):

Arbitration—How to Arbitrate the 1940 Census
  • Tuesday, May 1 at 6 p.m. MDT (that will be 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time, for me)
  • For participants new to arbitration or interested in arbitrating and wanting to see what it involves.
Tips and Trick for Indexing the 1940 Census
  • Wednesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. MDT (also at 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time, for me)
  • Participants will learn the unique features and codes on the 1940 U.S. Census and what to do to avoid some common problems.
To access both webinars, visit for instructions and links.  Recordings of the webinars will be available later.  You can also view training videos at and find other resources at

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card.]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indexing Insights - Helping to Make the 1940 US Census Searchable by Name

So far I've indexed 16 batches of 1940 Census pages. Not much, I know, but I was out of town all of last week at a conference (more on that in later posts), and I work full time 30 miles from my home.  I am still looking for my husband's father (in Corpus Christi, Texas), a paternal great-grandfather (in Cook County, Illinois), and a maternal great-grandmother (somewhere in Louisiana), so those are the states I've been working on.

Last night I was excited to find Illinois indexing still in Cook County, but specifically in Evanston (where I was born and where much of my family is from)!  This is where my dad says that great-grandfather was living in 1940.  It was fun to come across two streets I was familiar with: 
One is Sherman Avenue (above).  This is from the 1700 block, near the intersection with Clark.  My great-grandfather, John Pape, lived at 1043 Sherman, near the intersection with Greenleaf, from at least 1882 through at least 1920.  His brother Anton Pape (and later Anton's widow Kate) lived a block north at 1131 Sherman, near the intersection with Crain, from at least 1889 through at least 1920.

The other was Central Street (below).  My grandparents, Paul and Elizabeth Massmann Pape, lived on Hastings at Central in the 1960s.  This is a few blocks away, near the intersection with Hurd:
It was interesting to me how both of these areas had immigrants from everywhere - Belgium, Russia, England and Sweden are visible in the page snippets shown here.  Sherman Avenue, in particular, still held many working class immigrants' homes in 1940, just as it did in the 1880s when my great-grandfather came here from Germany.

Another indexing insight:  how difficult transcription can be!  The two samples above are pretty readable, but the arbitrator did not always agree with my interpretations of the handwriting.  Even printing, which I prefer (both to read and to write myself), was open to misinterpretations (is that Nethercot or Wethercot?):

What I really love about indexing is the freedom to choose the state or states you want to work in.  It's fun to run across places you are already familiar with (if only from your research)!

You can see a little bit of what indexing looks like from the first two images in this post.  It's really very easy!  To make the 1940 Census searchable by name, the 1940 Census Community Project  needs all the volunteer indexers it can get.  Click the link to find out how you can help.  There are even contests you can enter at the project's blog.

Don't let indexing scare you!  Every page of the census is transcribed by two volunteers, and reviewed by yet another, called an arbitrator. You can review a page after it's arbitrated and learn from your mistakes.  Sometimes it's not a mistake, just a difference in interpretation of the handwriting, and arbitrators are often more experienced in reading this than less-experienced indexers like me.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire.]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Same Person - Louis Henry Wolfe

Back in July 2010 I did a post comparing the photo on the right with a photo I THOUGHT was from the 1921 passport application of my great-grandfather, Louis Henry Wolfe (1874 - 1929).  Turns out I accidentally used the photo from the previous passport application on the microfilm, because it was facing the first page of my grandfather's application, and because the material indicating the photo belonged to another application was blocked by the blank back side of an inserted affidavit for said application.

The photo above left IS the correct one for my great-grandfather's passport application.  I think it's definitely the same person as the photo on the right.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Stories from the 1940s

Back row:  John Pape, Lee Pape, Charles Bleidt
Front row: Gretchen Reis Pape, Mary Jane Bleidt, Jack Bleidt
Jack's First Communion, May 17, 1936
Martha Pape Bleidt, March 1944

About two years ago, my then-81-year-old dad wrote down some memories about his first cousin Jack Bleidt for Jack's son, Bill (Jack died at age 44, when Bill was only 6).  There are some great stories there from the 1940s, which also just happen to tie into my 1940 Census hunts:

"Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade [this would be just before 1940], Jack and family [parents Charles and Martha Pape Bleidt and sister Mary Jane] moved south [from 2084 West Lunt Avenue, across the street from Dad's family] to [2043] Waveland Avenue [in Chicago]..."

This was in Illinois enumeration district (ED) 103-2860 (thanks to Steve Morse's Unified 1940 Census ED Finder; click on the images to make them larger):

"...Uncle Walt lived just a half block down from Jack's building. He lived in a large apartment with Uncle Dick (Richard Pape) and Grandpa Pape, your great grandfather John Pape. Uncle Walt had a coupe with a 'rumble' seat (an open seat in the rear, behind the roofed seat, which could be folded shut when not in use. It opened at the top and folded back. It was a real treat when he would let Jack and me ride back there.It was fun to feel the wind in my face and wave to people. Of course he allowed no standing up on penalty of no more rides...."

Here are John, Walter, and Richard Pape, around the corner from the Bleidts at 3618 N. Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, in the same enumeration district:

"...Jack and I decided one day to ride our bikes out to Wilmette to visit Uncle Lee and Aunt Gret (Gretchen nee Reis) Pape. I don't remember if we had our parents' permission. We had plain old 2 wheel single gear bikes. The trip was probably 8 to 10 miles, maybe more. It took us all morning and we were tired when we got there. Uncle Lee was working somewhere (he was a first class carpenter). Aunt Gret was home and she fixed us a great lunch complete with lemonade and homemade cookies. Uncle Lee came home early and we got to ride in his pickup truck. It was the first time Jack or I had ridden in a truck which was a lot of fun. They owned two adjoining lots with the house and garage on one lot. Aunt Gret had a huge well-cultivated garden which occupied most of the other lot. They grew lots of greens like lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, etc., and cooking vegetables like potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, etc. We had fun picking some of the ripe vegetables with her. I really liked the radishes. She also gave us some to take home. Around 5 o'clock we were going to go home on the bikes, but Aunt Gret had Uncle Lee put our bikes in the back of his truck and he drove us home. We were happy not only to ride home in the truck but, being tired, we appreciated not having to pedal those bikes all the way back to my house."

Lee and Gretchen Reis Pape were still at 210 17th Street in Wilmette, where they’d been in 1930 (they were also here in 1942, as this was the address on Lee’s WWII draft registration card), in ED 16-302:

Thanks to my dad's great memory, I had, if not the addresses, at least the streets or enough information to find these relatives on the 1940 US Census, even without a name index.  Once the 1940 US Census is indexed by name, it will be MUCH easier for everyone to find their relatives.  Indexing is easy and it's FUN!  Go to the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project site and find out how you can sign up to be an indexer, if you haven't already!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for a Visa gift card.]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: 1940 US Census Community Project blog

Check out this cool infographic about the 1940 Census! It came out a week ago, on April 4, two days after that census was released to the public:
1940 census
Where did I find this? On the 1940 US Census Community Project blog, at!  It's full of interesting information about that census, such as famous people found in it, life in the 1940s, and infographics like this one!

Readers - you - are encouraged to comment on the posts, and to enter the indexing contests.  Links are available at the top of the blog's home page to subscribe to its RSS feed, or follow on Twitter or Facebook.  Use the blog to keep up with the latest information on this so-important volunteer census indexing project!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for an iPad.]

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Easter! (1958)

Mom and me, Easter, 1958, taken in the courtyard at Incarnate Word Academy and Convent at 609 Crawford, Houston, Texas.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday: 1940 US Census Update

I thought it was time for a little update on where I am on finding my folks in the 1940 U.S. Census.  I did a lot of preparation, and in some cases, it's paid off.  In other cases, there have been some surprises.

As mentioned before, I found my parents and grandparents on the first day the 1940 US Census was released, April 2.  They were at the addresses my parents had told me they'd be at, and I'd researched the enumeration districts (EDs) in advance.

Here's the status of some of Mom's other Guokas kin (state and ED#):
  • TX-258-98 - found 2018 Crockett, but Anton Guokas isn't there.  I have not yet checked the address of his estranged wife Marie, in another ED.
  • TX-258-104:  Found Roy Lee Guokas, his wife "Maxine," Eva Guokas Scott, and her son Otis Scott Jr., all at 1717 Shearn.  No Otis Scott Sr. though, and Maxine's sister Shirley Cook is living with them.  Wonder where he is?  Maybe off at a CCC or WPA camp?
  • TX-258-106:  Found widow Pauline Guokas, her sons Adam and Frank, and daughter Marie at 1414 Bingham.  Did not find Adam's second wife Frances there - guess they were divorced by then (the 1942 City Directory shows a third wife, Janie B.)  However, Pauline's other daughter, the widowed Verna Tubb, is there, along with her three daughters, and there are two lodgers at this address.

I didn't have much luck with other folks in Dad's family (in IL-103-3212) I think because I wasn't sure of their addresses.  I also had no luck with my husband's parents - found the addresses I thought they were at (and my husband's Aunt Ivis) in Corpus Christi (TX-178-14 and TX-178-15 respectively), but they weren't there, and my father-in-law was not with my husband's Gresham grandparents in Krum (but I found those grandparents, in TX-61-22).

I found my maternal great-grandfather, Levi Marion Shelton, in the Verda community in Grant Parish, Louisiana (LA-22-11), and some other Shelton kin, but not his daughter, my great-grandmother, Addilee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris.  I feel pretty confident she's somewhere in Louisiana, though.

So what does this mean?

This means I need to START INDEXING!  And so do you!  The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project  needs volunteers to help create a name index for all these wonderful images!

And guess what - when you complete your first 1940 US Census batch (by Sunday, April 8, 2012, 11:59 p.m. MST) in the FamilySearch indexing site, you will be entered to win an  Amazon Kindle Fire!

Here's what you need to do:

First, go to the 1940 Census Games and Prizes page to register for the contest.  If you have already done this for a previous contest, you don't need to do it again.

Next, download the FamilySearch indexing software, if you haven't already.

Then, complete at least one 1940 U.S. Census batch by Sunday, April 8, 11:59 p.m. MST.

Finally, submit your batch and your name is automatically entered into the drawing.  That's it!
You'll find that indexing a census is really quite easy!  There are lots of instructions and field helps available on the site to help you - be sure to read them!

The 1940 US Census Community Project site has more information about the contest.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for a Yeti Microphone or an Amazon gift card.]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Memory from Dad

Dad and me, not too long after I was born in April 1957.
You can see the radiator he's referring to in the background.
I received another lovely birthday e-mail from my dad last night:

I remembered a couple more things when you were a baby. The first winter after you were born we were still living in the apartment at Touhy Ave. & Ridge Road [in Chicago]. The apartment heaters worked on steam heat and were so hot they could burn the skin if one touched them. We did not want you to touch them so we let you touch other things that were warm but not really too hot. We would say "hot" loudly but not screaming unless you got too close to the radiators. Hot then became your first word.

We didn't go out too often when you were a baby but when we did we got a nice older lady named Mrs. Sepser as your baby sitter. She and you got along very well. She would tell us you were  very smart and would learn quickly.

Another memory of mine was the long trip I made alone from Chicago to Houston when we moved in Feb. 1958. You and your mother took the train so your playpen would go as baggage and be available as soon as you arrived in Houston. I was sure happy when I finally arrived at Nani & Popo's house. When I came into the family room you stood up in your playpen

and extended your arms for me to pick you up. Thus began our long family life in Houston.

Have a real nice day tomorrow.

Love, Dad

(photo at right is of me in early 1958)

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Levi Marion Shelton on the 1940 Census

photo courtesy Bob Taylor via
My maternal great-great-grandfather, Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941), who is buried in the Brown Cemetery (aka Brown-Swindle Cemetery) in Sardis, Winn Parish, Louisiana, was the next person I found in the 1940 US Census, today.

In 1940, he was living on Verda Road in the Verda community in Grant Parish, Louisiana, with his youngest son, (James) Rufus Shelton (1899-1968), along with Rufus' wife Mary Ann (Davis, age 37), and their children George (age 18), Lorene (16), Dorothy (10), James Rufus (J.R.) Jr. (8), Gerald (6), Richard (3), and Gordon (2).  Click on the image below to enlarge it - Levi is near the top, on line 44:
 You'll note that Levi was asked the supplementary questions.  It indicates that his father (Jacob Shelton, 1822-ABT 1874) was born in Alabama, which corresponds with other sources.  However, it says his mother (Elizabeth A. Bridges, 1823-1865) was born in Mississippi, while the 1850 and 1860 censuses indicate she was born in Tennessee.  However, she and Jacob were married in Mississippi, in 1845.  It's possible that his daughter-in-law Mary Ann Davis Shelton provided this information (she is marked as the one who answered the enumerator's questions) and did not know for sure.

Levi was not a veteran, did not have a Social Security number, and was unable to work (probably because he was age 77).  The regular questions indicated that he lived in the same place (Verda community, Grant Parish, Louisiana) in 1935, but not the same house - likely because in 1935, his wife Sarah Ann Shelton Spikes was still alive (she died that year) - he is listed as a widower in 1940.

What I thought was most interesting was that Levi was only able to attend school through the third grade.  Again, if Mary Ann was answering and did not consult Levi, this information may not be accurate either.

I had hoped to find my maternal great-grandmother, Addilee Tennessee Shelton Wolfe Harris (1890-1977), in this enumeration district, but had no luck.  I looked for her at her previous location in Pasadena, Texas, but as I expected, she was not there.  I'm pretty sure she was in Louisiana in 1940, and will probably check surrounding EDs in Grant Parish and possibly in her home town in Winn Parish when I have more time.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Success! Finding My Parents and Grandparents in the 1940 U.S. Census!

A quickie post here - I have actually had some success this morning finding my parents and grandparents in the 1940 Census, which just became available at 8 AM Central this morning!  I was looking in Texas and Illinois, so I had to use the National Archives website, but I was still fortunate.

The site is getting slammed, and it's best NOT to wait for the image to load on the website, but instead to download it.  Also, it often works better to download image-by-image (page-by-page), rather than try to download the whole enumeration district at once.

Luckily, Mom's family was within the first six pages of her Houston enumeration district (click on the image to enlarge it - the Guokas family starts on line 46):

In Dad's case, I was able to download the entire enumeration district in Chicago. That was fortunate, as his family was missed on the enumerator's first visit, and was on page 61B (click on the image to enlarge it - the Pape family starts on line 64):

Dad also fell on a line that got asked the supplemental questions (look down at the bottom of the form above).  However, being only 11 years old at the time, the questions weren't really relevant to him!

More later!  I'm SO excited!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.