Documenting Maine Jewry : Jews in Fairfield 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 members of the Colby College Maine Jewish History Project research team (2011), directed by David M. Freidenreich


Name with link to DMJ biosrelationHouse Number addressO/R Value/Rent ageAge at 1st Marrstudent POB personPOB fatherPOB mothermother tongueYOIcitizenoccupationEmployed?   sheet #districtSource
William Seltzerhead16 Island AvenueOabt 188436   RussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1907naturalized-1912Retail Merchantyes   2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Pauline Seltzerwife16 Island Avenue abt 188139   RussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1908naturalized-1913     2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Annie Seltzerdaughter16 Island Avenue abt 190416 yes RussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1908naturalized     2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Molly Seltzerdaughter16 Island Avenue abt 190614 yes RussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1908naturalized     2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Rosie Seltzerdaughter16 Island Avenue abt 190812 yes RussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1908naturalized     2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Goldie P Seltzerdaughter16 Island Avenue abt 19128 yes MaineRussiaRussia        2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Joseph P Seltzerson16 Island Avenue abt 19146 yes MaineRussiaRussia        2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
Lester M Seltzerson16 Island Avenue abt 19173   MaineRussiaRussia        2B1031920 US Fed Census - Fairfield
                      

1930 US Federal Census Data

Data extracted by members of the Colby College Maine Jewish History Project research team (2011), directed by David M. Freidenreich


[DMJ ID]Surnamefirst nameHouse NumberStreet nameRelation to headServant/Boarder?own/rent, valueageAge at 1st Marrstudentliterate?POB personPOB fatherPOB mothermother tongueYOInat/alienoccupationindustrycodeclassEmployed?enum. distAncestry pg#nj? 
 MackHarry65Cabot street ?head O 38004023noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1894naJunk dealerjunk9491Oyes448  
 MackGussie  wife  4023noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaJewish1894nanone    449  
 MackSarah  daughter  12 yesyesMaineRussiaRussia   none    449 Brunswick Grammar '32 [8th grade] (Brunswick Record); no refs later than that
 MackRuth  daughter  10 yesyesMaineRussiaRussia   none    449 grade 3 1929; no Record refs after that
 SingerMax5 ?Factory ? St. head O amount unreadable5425noyesLithuaniaLithuaniaLithuaniaYiddish1893naproprietordry goods store8491Dyes452  
 SingerBessie  wife  5021noyesLithuaniaLithuaniaLithuaniaYiddish1894nanone    452  
 SingerMorris A  son  26 noyesNew HampshireLithuaniaLithuania   salesmandry good store4590Wyes452 Bowdoin non-grad 1923-25 (gen cat)
 SingerJoseph L  son  20 yesyesMaineLithuaniaLithuania   none    452 Bowdoin '33 (registrar), Brunswick High '28 (Brunswick Record) [becomes lawyer in Brunswick (Bowdoin gen. cat.)]
 SingerWilliam  son  17 yesyesMaineLithuaniaLithuania   none    452 Brunswick High '31 (Brunswick Record)
 SingerGoldie  daughter  14 yesyesMaineLithuaniaLithuania   none    452 Brunswick High '35 (Brunswick Record)
 AbelonLouis19Federal St.head R 356528noyesPolandPolandPolandYiddish1883naproprietordry good store8491Oyes453  
 AbelonBecca  wife  5923noyesLithuaniaLithuaniaLithuaniaYiddish1883nanone    453  
 AbelonIsrael  son  26 noyesMainePolandLithuania   junkman?junk9491Oyes453  
 AbelonLena  daughter  25 noyesMainePolandLithuania   hair dresserbeauty store8096Wyes453  
 AbelonEsther  daughter  20 noyesMainePolandLithuania   saleswomandry good store4590Wyes453 B runswick High '28 (Record)
 AbelonHarry  son  18 yesyesMainePolandLithuania   none    453 Bowdoin '35 (registrar); Brunswick High '31 (Record) [plenty of other hits]
 DionJack H19Park St.head R 213732noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1896naproprietormeat store8891Wyes456  
 DionIda M  wife  2722noyesMainePolandLithuania   none    456  
 DionRhoda  daughter  3.25 noyesMaineRussiaMaine   none    456  
 DavisMyer L26Boody St.head O 50004224noyesRussiaRussiaRussiaYiddish1900al ?managergrocery store9X91Wyes58  
 DavisSadie   wife  3618noyesCanadaRussiaRussiaEnglish 1902na ?none    58  
 DavisJohn B  son  17 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    58 BHS grad (unknown year); married Gilberte Charron, employued at H.E. Davis in Freeport (Record 31 Oct 46
 DavisMaurice  son  16 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    58 BHS grad (unknown year); married Marguerite Shaw, works in parks dept of NorthEast Aviation in Portland (Record 31 Oct 46)
 DavisEdith B  daughter  13 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    58 Brunswick High '34 (Record)
 DavisHarold E  son  10 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    58 Brunswick High '37 (Record); still in army (Record 31 Oct 46)
 DavisDonald S  son  8 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    58 Brunswick High '39 (Record); employed at Sanders Engineering in Brunswick (Record 31 Oct 46)
 DavisInez F  daughter  6 yesyesMaineRussiaCanada   none    59  
 DavisNorman J  son  3 no MaineRussiaCanada   none    59 Brunswick High '44 (Record), Maine Maritime Acad '46 (Record)
 DavisHerbert L  son  1 no MaineRussiaCanada        59  
 SmithSamuel103Union Sthead O 40005918noyesLatviaRussiaRussiaRussian1913al Junk dealerself9491Oyes515  
 SmithMary  wife  5917noyesLatviaRussiaRussiaRussian1905al none    515  
 SmithIda C  daughter  14 yesyesMaineLatviaLatvia   none    515 Brunswick High '33 (Record)
 SmithJacob  son  20 yesyesMaineLatviaLatvia   none    515 Bowdoin '31 (registrar); Brunswick High '27 (Brunswick Record)
 AbramsonAlbert9R__ or B__roomerroomer 24 noyesMainePolandRussia   Instructorcollege8794Wyes529 

Methodological note :

This data was culled from the original 1930 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 : March 31, 2017