US Census documents


The census material below was provided by Bob McDonald, class of 1943. The more important aspects of the material is encapsulated in the time line that he created during his genealogy investigations.

The census documents are arranged by individual, for different years. A great deal of the 1890 census was lost in a fire, and none were available for use here.

Frank Rackett

1870 census
1880 census
1900 census
1910 census
1920 census
1930 census

George E. Rackett - father

1860 census

George H. Rackett - brother

1860 census
1870 census
1880 census
1900 census
1910 census
1920 census

George E. Rackett - son of George H.

1880 census
1900 census
1910 census
1920 census
1930 census

Gertrude M. Rackett - wife of George E.

1920 census
1930 census
1970 death record

George E. Rackett - grandson of George H., son of George E.

1930 census

Charity Rackett - mother

1860 census
1870 census
1880 census
1910 census

Thomas Payne - Charity's second husband

1870 census
1880 census

Frank A. Rackett - maybe not related

1870 census
1880 census
1900 census
1910 census
1920 census

Sadly, a lot of information that could have been collected during the census in various decades was not. For example, in the 1930 census, some of the questions are "Family and neighbors," "Occupation," and "Education." All of these could have provided interesting information. For example, did Frank Rackett attend Godwin? It's not known at this time exactly when the white house on the southwest corner of Division Avenue and 36th Street ( Allen Road in earlier times ) was built, but the 1870 census makes it clear that Frank Rackett ( surname Payne at the time ) was living in Grand Rapids, Ward 3. Just where the family lived before the land that was formerly part of the Godwin family farm is not known at this time. If it was in the Godwin area, then perhaps he did attend Godwin.

Had "Occupation" been filled in, it would at least be known what he thougth his primary source of income was. He brother George is listed in the 1880 census as having the occupation "furnature finisher," a probably occupation in early Grand Rapids. He might well have lived in the downtown Grand Rapids area while he lived in the area. Thomas Payne, the stepfather of Frank and George Rackett, is listed in the 1880 census as a carpenter, so while the family did own 10 acres of land, that likely would not have been nearly enough to make a living from, and it is possible that his primary livilihood involved workign with wood too. But there is no indication of what Frank Rackett's primary source of income was, if there indeed was any one thing..

While family is somewhat covered, the "neighbors" part of the 1930s census might have been interesting. Beginning to develope rapidly by 1930, Division Avenue nevertheless still saw a large number of farm houses and open land between today's 28th Street and 44th Street. ( There were still a number of them in the early 1970s, and none in year 2006. ) Frank Rackett and his family could count among their neighbors the Godwin's, whose house, dating from before 1855, was located just north of today's 34th Street, on the west side of Division Avenue. Augustine Godwin, the school's namesake, only moved out of the family house in about 1908, by which time a lot of the family land had already been sold to developers. So by 1930s the area was changing rapidly, and the farms and farm families were similarly disappearing. It would have been interesting to see who Frank Rackett listed as his neighbors. But in reality the census forms were not always completed, if only because some fraction of the population resented having to provide any information at all.