When I first started trying to find out more about Clara Johnson, it was a case of being in the right place, at the right time. That place, of course was Los Angeles, and a chance to look at the historical 1930 census, or the Los Angeles section of it at least.
And there she was, a certain Miss Clara E Johnson, living in town of course, and even without her giving her occupation as an actress, I might have suspected it was her. It gave me some details which I’ve posted before, the fact that she was born in 1905, in the state of Oklahoma (though it wasnt a state back then, not until 1907, was a territory before then), and that she had moved to Los Angeles, from Texas, in 1925.
I’m delighted to say that last year, I actually managed to find a few pictures of her, firstly from about 1934, then on Christmas day, some more from 1929! It was probably the latter, and some spare time over the holidays that inspired me to try another hunt for details. Remarkably, yes, it worked. Though full birth records didnt start before Oklahoma was a state, basic records were kept, and on one of the State history sites, putting her name, and year of birth into the website, and…bingo!
I now know she was born on 6th September, 1905, and I know she was born in Pottawatomie County! Unfortunately, as to where in the county, no idea, they didnt keep full records there until 1908! I managed to discover the 1920 census, and found 11 Clara Johnson’s living in Oklahoma, and Texas at that time, born in 1905. I assume the others were either born outside of Oklahoma (quite possible for the Texas ones), or their births werent registered properly (or at all), equally possible back then, before officially a state. Snag, Ancestry.com want a fee to see the details, though there is a free option, which might do for me, but its time limited, so I might do something when I’m off in a fortnights time. Hopefully, a date of birth might help to work out which one is her, but no idea if thats recorded, until I try! It wont tell me much more, other than telling me whether she moved to Texas before, or after 1920, I suspect. Parent names might enable me to see if there were any other children, I guess?
Funnily enough, my dear friend Kate is from Oklahoma! She has told me I might be underwhelmed by modern day Pottawatomie County, and I suspect she’s right. I doubt Clara would recognize it either! But yes, a lot of it would be the chance to stand in her footsteps, just once. So maybe next year, I might yet do that, but not before then, for sure! I know, she’s not really an ancestor, but she’s just so special to me, because well, she was me, in one sense at least.
The video? The most obvious Oklahoma one possible, just maybe?