I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things around here after a glorious week piloting a 1997 Camry, requisite brown, around the Midwest. Ahh the memories we created and good times, they were a plenty. Any dreams I had about long engaging conversations with the middle son were dashed early on the trip, he likes to travel in suspended animation. He was also suffering with a nasty cold so I wasn’t going to keep him up just to entertain me. Not that it would have worked anyway, he is after all a teen and so prone to one syllable responses, which only sometimes actually form words.
I did get a wee bit miffed on Saturday morning, the day of the big marathon drive home from Cleveland. As I was getting in the car at 6:45 I saw him taking a big swig of Nyquil. “How the hell are you going to help me drive home when you’re..” he looked over, eyes all red, nose stopped up, hacking green stuff.. “I just want to sleep in the car for a while, I’ll be fine.” He was completely out from Cleveland to the western suburbs of Chicago when he came out of stasis and announced, like a Maslow experiment, that now that his first need, sleep, had been satiated he had moved up the pyramid one level to hunger.
I want to eat.
I spent the day Sunday getting caught up on things around the house. There were some Lodge chores that as Secretary, I had to attend too. Mrs S had a few things on her list which needed to get done, one of which is filling out the annual FAFSA, Federal Student Aid thing, this I did not do, I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, and I got a bye to next weekend.
When I’ve filled this piece of government bureaucracy out in the past it’s taken an hour or more. 15 minutes of actual filling in information, 45 minutes of looking for shit, trying to find forms, re-filling out shit because the screen blanked itself out when the session timed out while I was looking for other shit and finally, waiting for the new password(s) because I forgot the intricate password that was required set up the account, and since it won’t let you use a password you’ve used in the last 3,00 years, and you have to create a new one every time you forget the old one, (no password recovery) it’s a serious pain in the ass.
And for all my work, it was completed with the knowledge and satisfaction that for all our efforts we will receive not one thin dime. We won’t be applying for loans. What we might get out of the deal is a scholarship, and since colleges use the FAFSA worksheets to determine eligibility for scholarships it’s worth it to go through the trouble to do it. So I’m told.
Actually with the oldest kid, the great state of Michigan is paying him to go school there based on his academic performance and boyish good looks. While I hope the same from the great state of Alabama I’m not as hopeful given that Alabama has offered not even the slightest wiff of a grant for out of state or in our case foreign nationals (Minnesota and Alabama are different countries right? Wife thought so). We’ll see. It will be a fun couple hours on Easter when the rest of you are celebrating the Resurrection and promise of Eternal Life you can think about your old pal Sank chomping Matzo’s and cursing at the computer all day. There ain’t even a damned race to watch to distract me.
Big news this week around my house, or should I say in my room, is the much anticipated release of the 1940 Census. For those of obsessed with Genealogy this is huge. The release of census is a big deal, insight into where folks lived, who they lived with, what they did, and how open they were with people asking questions on their front steps. The documents were released online this week, the National Archives partnered with a provider in the silicon valley to put digitized versions of the information online Monday, April 2. Their site was up for about 11 milliseconds and as 2 million people went after the data. It went down the rest of the day. Tuesday morning I woke up 4:45 to get to it before the masses tried again. I found what I was looking for, my grandparent’s house in Fort Worth with my Dad and all my Aunts and Uncles living there. The data isn’t indexed yet by name so to find it you have to know the address where they lived, I did. You then have to pull up the census maps of the city you’re interested in and find the Census Enumeration District. The entire country was broken up into sections that a Census worker could canvas in about 2 weeks. I was able to find it. Next step is to look for the file from that enumeration district, in my case about 44 pages. Then you can look for the block number, which I would have found on the map, and finally the house numbers and BOOM there they were.
It sounds more complicated than it is. I had what I was looking for in about 5 minutes. If you readers out there are interested in finding your own information and are having trouble doing so, drop me a note. I can help I’ve been at this for a long time. Even if you don’t know the address of your family members I can sometimes figure that out from other documents.
The pursuit of data is more interesting to me than the pursuit of game or fish or good scotch. Not as interesting as the pursuit of my charming bride, but more often than not more fruitful.
The bad news is I was looking for a family member who I’d never heard off. She appeared on immigration records and in the 1930 census as living with my Grandparents and my dad (who was 4 in 1930) but vanishes in the 30’s. No one has ever talked about her so I’m seriously wondering about the deets.