Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Documents Paint More Detailed Picture

The year was 1939.  Mary Yost had just become a widow - for the second time.  This time, she had six minor children to care for, ranging in age from 2 to 17.

While searching for other documents, I ran across two pertaining to Mary's first year after the death of her husband James Yost - a Social Security claim and the 1940 census.  Together, these documents paint a picture of the difficult financial circumstances of the family.

James Yost died in June of 1939, and Mary, who listed her occupation as "seamstress" was out of work after about October of that year.   What the family did for income was unknown, but her son Robert, 17,  had worked 6 weeks as a farm laborer.

In January of 1940, the Social Security Administration began making regularly monthly payments.*   Mary filed a claim the following month, so at least they had some money coming in.  How long she was unemployed is unknown, but she was still looking for work when the census was enumerated in April.

I always assumed that their situation was difficult, but seeing the information from these two documents combined drives home in more detail just how challenging her situation was.



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