1950 Census: My paternal grandparents’ Holland Patent home

Sepia Saturday 639. Seventh in a series about family history discoveries in the recently released 1950 U.S. census.

When the 1950 US census went public in the spring of 2022, I focused my research on my maternal grandparents, my mom’s sister, Rita, and my parents, with whom I lived in an extended household – and, of course, myself, since I made my census debut that year at the age of 2 months.

However, 1950 was a significant census year for my paternal relatives as well. It was the last census in which my dad’s family of origin was still intact: by 1955 my father’s brother Frederic and my paternal grandmother, Mary Frances “Molly” (Owen) Charboneau, for whom I am named, had both passed.

Contemporary photo of the gazebo on the Holland Patent village green. The Presbyterian Church my paternal grandfather attended is in the background. Photo: Oneida County Tourism

Uncle Fred and Grandma Charboneau were gone before I could form any memories of them – so finding them one last time with Dad’s entire family in the 1950 US census was a poignant research experience.

Holland Patent then and now

My research journey began in Holland Patent in Town of Trenton, Oneida Co., N.Y., where we used to visit my paternal grandfather, Wm. Ray Charboneau, and Dad’s brother Owen and wife, Aline, during my elementary school years.

1992: Historic Holland Patent railroad station, which closed to passengers in 1960. The station now houses the Village of Holland Patent Municipal Office. Photo: Eredien/wikimedia commons

I don’t have any Dutch ancestry, but I have long been intrigued by the name of this small hamlet – current population 408. Turns out the village was founded in 1797 by Delft-born settler Gerrit Boon, an agent for the Holland Land Company that privatized and sold usurped Native land from Central to Western New York State in the state’s early years.

A 2016 online montage by Kathe Harrington titled “A Day in Holland Patent: Photo essay of people, places in Upstate New York village” captures the contemporary scenic beauty of the hamlet and surrounding rural areas. One of her photos shows the stately Presbyterian Church my grandfather attended.

What I remember from childhood visits was playing around the small creek that flowed past the back yard of my grandfather’s house, shown below, at 105 Elm Street (7901 Elm St. today).

1992: The Holland Patent home where my paternal grandparents, Wm. Ray and Mary “Molly” (Owen) Charboneau, lived during the 1950 US census. Photo by Molly Charboneau

There was also a huge school across the street – way bigger than mine in Endwell, N.Y. — and my brothers and I used to play in the schoolyard during visits. The school must have served children beyond Holland Patent proper, because the village is essentially a crossroads where Routes 274, 291 and 365 meet.

Until 1960 the hamlet was also a local stop on the Utica and Black River passenger railroad. The restored station, shown above, is now the Village of Holland Patent Municipal Office.

Upstate migrations

My paternal grandparents moved to Holland Patent in their later years. When the 1950 census was taken my grandfather Ray, born in Forestport, N.Y., was 62 and my grandmother Molly, from Baltimore, Md., was 61. They are shown below at my parents’ wedding about a year and a half before the census.

1948: At left, my paternal grandparents Wm. Ray and Mary “Molly” (Owen) Charboneau at my parents’ wedding. My dad Norm and mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau are at center. My maternal grandparents Elizabeth (Stoutner) and Tony Laurence are at right. Scan by Molly Charboneau.

They arrived at their final home by a circuitous route through upstate New York. Marrying in Dolgeville, they moved to Utica, Whitesboro, and Otter Lake for better job opportunities as they raised their five sons — eventually ending up in Holland Patent.

Each location holds a family story of its own — and details of their migrations will unfold in future posts.

Up next, my paternal grandparents appear in the 1950 US census. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

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16 thoughts on “1950 Census: My paternal grandparents’ Holland Patent home”

  1. Glad to have you back and to be able to continue following your family stories! It always amazes me how greatly you deep-dive into your family history and bring it to life! Did you take all the photos of Holland Patent? Great photos! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Diane. The house photo is mine, the wedding photo is from my family photo collection and the other two I found online during my Holland Patent research.

  2. What a great glimpse into your family history. I’ve recently been reading news clippings of my early nineteenth century ancestors. Now I know that newspapers are indexed by names, I’m going to look for a lot more!

  3. Interesting what one can find out from the censuses. I was lucky (about a decade ago) to find my two emigrants from my grandmother’s family in the 1910 US census, as the next year they both returned to Sweden. I recently began to explore the Swedish ones. I found some useful data from 1900, 1910 and 1930. (It seems there was no census in 1920, and they’re still working on getting the 1930 online.)

    1. Thanks, Liz, and that’s a very good question. I try to post weekly, when not taking time off, but there are some weeks that have me asking, “Is it Friday already!?”

  4. I look forward to meeting another branch of your family, Molly. I’m very impressed with family bloggers like yourself who map out their family tree by interpreting the documents and little clues to establish a real history of each generation. I think I’ve been through Holland Patent, or near it anyway, as I have visited that part of the state a few times partly to research photos of a musician from Lowville, NY.

    1. Thanks, Mike. Documents can be pretty dry if you don’t tease out the story — in this case made a bit easier because I visited some of my grandparents homes as a child and young adult and heard family stories about them. And yes, you probably drove through Holland Patent. The route to Lowville and the North Country passes through the town.

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