Two Discoveries in One Day

There were two family history discoveries today; one by me and one made by my cousin.

First of all, I finally found my father in the 1950 census. Back in April, the US government made public the individual listings of the US census taken in 1950. Within weeks after the release, I had found all of my ancestors who were living in that year. I found two of my great-grandparents who were then living, all four of my grandparents, and my mother who was then 21 and living in a boarding house in Washington DC.

I found my father recorded as staying in a large rooming house in Chicago Illinois. The record shows David DeBacker, age 21 and born in Nebraska.

The record shows that he was then working 40 hours a week at a concession for a hotel in Chicago. I do not know if this was before or after he was enrolled in art school. I recall my father saying that when he was in Chicago he worked as a bus boy for a nightclub.

The census record does not give a specific address but lists the location as Kolping House, a Catholic Society. The Kolping Society was sort of a Roman Catholic answer to the YMCA. It was founded in 19th century Germany to provide housing for young Catholic men who were pouring into the larger cities from the countryside to work. So far, I have not been able to determine where in Chicago the Kolping House was located in 1950.

On another note, my cousin Mollie discovered a photograph of our grandparents taken at her parent’s wedding in 1949. For some reason, unknown to me, my father did not have a photograph of his mother who died the year before I was born. I have been told that he was deeply upset by her death and that may have been a reason for no pictures.

From left to right: Patricia Kelleher Jacobus, Robert L. Kelleher, Geraldine DeBacker Kelleher, Geraldine O’Malley DeBacker (my grandmother), and Leopold J. DeBacker (my grandfather).

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