Friday, May 4, 2012

Finding Nevada (1930-1940)

So I found Nevada. In 1920, in Arkansas, with my grandmother and their uncle. Then, Nevada was back in southern Illinois (Murphysboro) by at least 1927. And I confirmed that with the 1930 census.

No grass grew under Nevada’s feet. She was living with the LEEs when the census was taken in April 1930 and by year’s end, she’s married –and had a baby! This meant I now had a name to search: BURBANK. The newspaper was dated Dec. 29, 1930, which meant the son had been born Dec. 27. Now I had a name and a birthdate. Sadly, it didn’t take me long to find this:

Harold W. "Pete' Burbank, Sr., age 75, of Murphysboro, passed away at his residence in Murphysboro at 12:20 p.m. Monday, August 14, 2006. Harold was born on December 27, 1930, in Murphysboro, to Harold G. Burbank and Nivula Lynn Burbank. His father later married Lucille Martin, who raised him.

OK. Couple of immediate red flags here. This information confirms that he is Nevada’s son. But Nivula? To not even have her name right? And then the mention of the stepmother “who raised him.” That means one of two things happened: Nevada died while Harold was quite young … or else she took off.

The truth can be ugly and you find out some really nasty things about your family sometimes when you go poking around. While I was trying hard to give ole Nevada the benefit of the doubt (you can’t after all help it if you DIE),I found a marriage license. In 1940, Nevada BURBANK and Edward BISHOP, both of Murphysboro, applied for a marriage license in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Did they actually use it?

I don’t know … yet. I’m hoping that the recently released 1940 census might help answer that. Since you can’t search it by name yet (except in a handful of states) we’ll put this search on ice for a while. In the meantime, I’m not going to judge. It’s looking more and more like all my grandmother and her sister had as kids was each other so it’s no wonder then that, regardless of the circumstances, she could overlook her sister’s actions. But still …

On the other hand, I know all too well what it’s like to have a parent walk away from you. If this is what happened, my heart bleeds with empathy for Harold. What he must have thought of his biological mother!

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