A Comedy of Errors: My Family in the Census (Part 2 of 3)

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)


~ Act III: 1920 Worcester, Massachusetts ~

Now pay close attention to the 1920 census, because this is where things start to get complicated. Antoni Bulak/Tony Bolak/Anthony Bolack has now become Anthony Bullock for the 1920 census, enumerated on 12 Jan 1920. Anthony (52) is listed as living with his wife Ella (47), daughter Rose (12), son S[t]ephan (8), daughter Helen (25), and daughter Antoinette (22). Eva, whose name back in the old country would be spelled Ewa, is now Ella. Daughters Helena-Helen and Antonina-Anthony-Antoinette are still living with the family. Where did Rose and Stephan come from? I know Rose for sure, and I believe Stephan as well were adopted by my great-grandparents after their parents died during the 1918 influenza pandemic (For the back story on this please see my three part series, Flu 1918 (Part 1 of 3) - Amanuensis Monday.). The dates of immigration have changed yet again. Now Antoni-Tony-Anthony is listed at immigrating in 1896 and Ewa-Eva-Ella is listed as immigrating in 1899. What complicates matters even more is Helena-Helen and Antonina-Anthony-Antoinette are listed as immigrating in 1904.

If all was right with the world and the planets were in perfect alignment we would be done with the 1920 census right here. Unfortunately that's not the case. Somehow, my grandmother's sister Helena-Helen is listed in the census twice. She was enumerated as Helen Bullock living at home with her parents on 12 Jan 1920 AND was also enumerated on January 2nd and 3rd as Helen Bulak living as a boarder at the St. Agnes Guild in Worcester. Her age is still listed as 25, however her year of immigration is 1897. She is not listed as having an occupation in the Bullock family listing, however she is listed as the proprietor of a millinery store in the St. Agnes Guild census record.  For the record, she did have a millinery store at this time on Millbury St. in Worcester.

~ Act IV: 1930 Oxford and Worcester, Massachusetts ~

On 25 Apr 1930 Antoni Bulak/Tony Bolak/Anthony Bolack/Anthony Bullock was enumerated as Athony Bulak (62) living in Oxford, Massachusetts. He is living with his wife Eva (51), son Edward (18), and daughter Helen Pawloski (15). After spending years in the city of Worcester, my great-grandfather moved to Oxford, MA about 1921. My grandmother told me he longed to have a farm, so he moved to the town of Oxford about 10 miles south of Worcester to start up farming. He is listed as a dairyman in the census. I honestly have no idea who Edward and Helen Pawloski are. My guess is Edward could be another child adopted after the 1918 flu pandemic or Edward and/or Helen could have been hired to help my great-grandfather around the farm. Clearly more research is needed.  Antoni-Tony-Anthony-Athony is 62 which would make him the right age. My great-grandmother Ewa-Eva-Ella is listed as 51. She was 47 in 1920 so there's no way she would be 51 in 1930. Here's the kicker--my great-grandmother Ewa-Eva-Ella died in 1924.

Why do I still think this is the right record? Eva was 51 when she died. Is there a possibility this might not be my family? You bet, but I haven't been able to find another census record for them up to this point. I still need to verify the information in another source to be sure. My best guess is my great-grandfather was asked if he was married, and he said yes leaving out the details about his wife dying or simply not understanding or hearing correctly what was asked of him.

What about Helena-Helen and Antonina-Anthony-Antoinette? Where are they? By 1930 my Aunt Helen was living in Worcester as a boarder with Rose and her new husband, and my grandmother, now Anna Szerejko, was married and living with her husband and young children, also in Worcester.

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