Documenting Maine Jewry :
Jews in Belfast in 1920 and 1930

NB : In the census tables below ‘POB’ means ‘place of birth’ and ‘YOI’ means ‘year of immigration’.
There is a bit of historical difficulty with the answers to the questions about place of birth.
Some people replied with the name of the place when they left; others replied with the name of place when the census was taken; in other cases it just seems that it was easier for the census taker to write ‘Russia’ rather than Lithuania, Ukraine or other unfamiliar country names.
And there is another reason to be skeptical of the accuracy of the place of birth information. Immigrants from the Pale had a very justified fear of the Russian and often local governments. One way to manage this reality was to tell government representatives what they expected they wanted to hear or what they thought would bring them the least trouble. This may well explain why a number of family members, who were clearly from Eastern Europe, may have answered ‘Maine’ or ‘New York’.


1920 US Federal Census Data

Data extracted by Ben Kissen


Link to DMJ BioRelation to head own/rent, valuec birthyrageAge at 1st Marrstudentliterate?POB personPOB fatherPOB mothermother tongueYOInat/alienoccupationindustryNotesSource
Louis FrankelSon25 High Street abt 189822 noyesMassachusettsRussiaRussia   salesmandry goods 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Sadie FrankelDaughter25 High Street abt 189624 noyesNew YorkRussiaRussia   saleswomandry goods 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Sam FreedmanHead16 Cross StreetRabt 187743 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1903alienjunk dealer  1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Annie FreedmanWife16 Cross Street abt 187842 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1903alien   1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Ida FrankelWife25 High Street abt 187842 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1896alienmerchantdry goods 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Marion FrankelDaughter25 High Street abt 189723 noyesNew YorkRussiaRussia   saleswomandry goods 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Louis FreedmanSon16 Cross Street abt 189921 yesyesEnglandRussiaRussia      1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Morris FrankelHead25 High StreetOabt 186258 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1895aliensalesmandry goods 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Abraham CasmanHeadX Market StreetRabt 187545 noyesPolandPolandPolandJewish1901naturalizedjunk dealerown shop 1920 US Fed Census -Belfast
Sadie FreedmanDaughter16 Cross Street abt 190812 noyesNew YorkRussiaRussia      1920 US Fed Census -Belfast

1930 US Federal Census Data

Data extracted by Ben Kissen


Link to DMJ BioRelation to headHouse Number Street nameown/rent, valuebirth yrageAge at 1st Marrstudentliterate?POB personPOB fatherPOB mothermother tongueYOInat/alienoccupationindustryNotesSource
Isaac RubenHead16 Cross StreetO, 2000abt 188248 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaJewish1905naturalizedbuyerjunk 1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Max RubenSon16 Cross Street abt 191020 noyesMaineRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Esther MaiselWife31 Congress Street abt 189139 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1926alien   1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Max MaiselHead31 Congress StreetO, 4000abt 188644 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1907naturalizedproprietorclothing factory 1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Howard RubenSon16 Cross Street abt 191911 yesyesMaineRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Harold MaiselSon31 Congress Street abt 191614 yesyesAlabamaRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Ethel MaiselDaughter31 Congress Street abt 191416 yesyesNew JerseyRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Sophie MaiselDaughter31 Congress Street abt 191911 yesyesAlabamaRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Grace RachlinStepdaugher31 Congress Street abt 191911 yesyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1926alien   1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Stephen BenoskiHead12 Belmont RdR, 10abt 188743 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaRussian1914naturalizedlaborerlumber factory 1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Bessie RubenWife16 Cross Street abt 188644 noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaJewish1907naturalized   1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Joseph RubenSon16 Cross Street abt 191317 yesyesMaineRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Molly RubenDaughter16 Cross Street abt 19228 yesyesMaineRussiaRussia      1930 US Fed Census - Belfast
Lena GrantServant12 Belmont Rd abt 187060 noyesMaineMaineMaine   housekeeperprivate familyServant to Stephen Benosky 1930 US Fed Census - Belfast

Methodological note :

This data was culled from the original U.S. census manuscripts, as found on www.ancestry.com. Jews are understood to constitute an ethnic group of Eastern and Central European origin characterized by common names and occupational pursuits, as well as a distinctive language. This definition lends itself well to analysis of the data preserved in census records.

Two primary methods were used to identify Jews:

1. Individuals born abroad whose mother tongue is "Yiddish," "Jewish," or "Hebrew" were automatically included in the spreadsheet, as were all members of their families.

2. For individuals born abroad whose mother tongue was another Eastern or Central European language (e.g., Russian, Polish, German), or individuals born in the U.S. with one or more parents from Eastern or Central Europe, we examined surnames, given names within a household, and occupations in light of common Jewish characteristics. This method of analysis is, of course, subject to inaccuracy, as we may have excluded Jews with uncommon names or occupations or included non-Jews whose characteristics appear Jewish. Individuals listed with the annotation "nj?" in the far right-hand column are those whose Jewish ancestry is plausible but questionable.

This method of analysis easily misses Jewish households whose members' parents were all born in the United States. In 1930 Maine, however, such households were quite rare. Special efforts were made to identify households of this nature in Portland, where they constituted less than 1% of identified Jewish households.

All members of a household containing a Jew are included in the spreadsheet, with the exception of Jewish lodgers and servants, who are listed individually. Household members who are evidently not Jewish (such as non-Jewish servants and some spouses or in-laws) are listed with the annotation "nj." <

Last Updated : April 16, 2017