Commercial Traveler  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , , , ,

I've been going over old census entries to see if I can find new clues as well as cite my sources properly. While this is somewhat tedious, I've already found a lot of information I've overlooked in the past. Here's an interesting example, the 1930 US Census for my wife's great-grandfather Saul Hytowitz and his family. Here's the interesting bit:

These are the columns 25-31 that deal with occupation, employment and veterans. I couldn't figure out what his occupation was from the handwriting although I can clearly see he worked in the shoe industry. Luckily, I ran across a blog post on Ancestories that had a link to a website that details the instructions for the census enumerators. And then I found this:

217. Distinguish a traveling salesman from a salesman in a store; the former should be reported as a commercial traveler.

I knew he was a shoe salesman because I found that out in the 1930 Pittsburgh City Directory and other sources:

But I didn't know he was a travelling shoe salesman. And guess what? His son Joe does the exact same thing.

A few other interesting things:

1. The city directory shows Saul owning the house on Straka Street with his children renting space there. The 1930 census says he's the one renting the house for $73 a month. I wonder which one is right. I wonder if he bought the house sometime during the year.
2. I just noticed that Saul's parents, Jacob and Rose are also in the city directory. Didn't see that before.
3. The veterans section of the census shows that Saul was a veteran and served in World War I. His son Joe was also a veteran. I need to figure out how to get their service records. I didn't notice that before either.

UPDATE: Steve Morse has a great little page that deciphers the occupation codes in the 1930 Census. I entered 4290 and got 'Commercial travelers' in 'Retail store or retail trade'.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 9:44 PM and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I'll send you info via e-mail on how to get that military record!

February 8, 2010 at 11:25 PM

Aren't we lucky to have help from other reserchers.These codes just help complete our ancestors story.
The family of a traveling salesman has a different life than those of a retail salesman.

February 9, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Post a Comment