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!


kath0115 said...

I'm not sure if you still are active with your blog but I am going to leave a comment anyways.....Harold Burbank is my grandfather. I was watching something on TV recently that was about Native Americans and I started to think about my grandfather because he was part Native American. I knew he had a mother with a name that sounded like a Native American name but I couldn't remember it. I knew the name was listed in his obituary so I went online to look it up and I found your blog The story that I have gotten from my dad is that Nivula left when my grandfather was really young. He really didn't even know her. He looked at his step mother as his real mother because she raised him. I do remember there being a picture of Nivula. It was a picture of their family. My grandfather was a little boy and he was standing in front of his parents, Nivula and Harold. I know my grandmother has this picture.

So just to straighten this out....Nivula, I believe, is my great grandmother...who is she to you?

NV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NV said...

Hi cousin! I've been away again for years but am finding some stress relief by doing some hunting. If Harold was your grandfather, then this is, indeed, your great-grandmother. Her name actually is NEVADA. She apparently went by "Vada." She was my grandmother's younger sister, so that would make her my great aunt. My grandmother died when I was a toddler so I never got to talk to her about her sister or their MIA father. I felt so badly for young Harold when I read his obit. It would appear that Nevada abandoned her son, but we don't know the details, so I hesitate to condemn. That said, I did find the marriage license for her and a man named BISHOP but have never found anything since. Trail gone completely cold. I'm not sure if even they will know but plan to ask my older cousins if they have any info. Also going to plan on another census search now that it should be searchable ...