What’s in a Name – or a Census Report for that Matter

Several people have commented that of the four Giorgio boys, Adrian and Custode gave their children (sons at least) the most “Americanized” names – Fred, Gene (Luigino so perhaps the exception), Joseph, Hubert (unusual), Victor and Francis (or Frank.) Like many Italian immigrants, I suspect they wanted to minimize the discrimination their children might face based on their name.

If you click on the image below it should enlarge (I’m trying to use a new screen clipping tool). I captured the lines from the 1930 US Census for Midland in Beaver County PA, where Fred George was living with his brothers – Victor and Hubert. Their names were the first three in what appears to be a boarding house at 384 Midland Avenue. There were at least four other families there, including the owner of the house – a total of 20 people – with some living “upstairs” or “rear.” The house had boarders from strange and exotic places; Yugoslavia, Italy and even Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina!

But if you check the middle columns for our ancestor F W George and his brothers, it is reported that they were born in Pennsylvania (true) and that their father was born in England (not true) and their mother was born in Wales (also not true). Isn’t it ironic that we take such delight in exploring ethnic heritage when less than 100 years ago some of our ancestors were compelled to deny it!

1930 Census for Fred George and two of his brothers - taken in Midland, Beaver County, PA

1930 Census for Fred George and two of his brothers – taken in Midland, Beaver County, PA

We cannot assume from this bit of information that Fred was intentionally hiding his Italian background since we don’t know who was providing the information to the census taker. Perhaps the three George boys told the landlord that their background was English instead of Italian to avoid housing discrimination. Perhaps one of the other brothers (Hubert or Victor) provided the information.

I wonder if this was originally where Fred lived with his wife Evelyn when they first moved to Midland. In 1930 they were separated, she was in California with her sisters and the two boys she had with Fred but we don’t know when she left for California or when she returned to Pennsylvania.



2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name – or a Census Report for that Matter

  1. How interesting. I wish I had had this information years ago, but then, Kalin wasn’t around years ago, so I’m grateful for her now.


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