Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Workday Wednesday: Occupations of Selig Feinstein

Recently Denise Spurlock of Denise's Life in the Past Lane began a new meme: Workday Wednesday.  She writes:
Sometimes it seems like all my ancestors were farmers, but the records tell me differently. Some of the occupations I've found: shoemaker, milliner, wheelwright, mine worker, preacher, and sawmill owner. My dad was a sheet metal worker; I have several photos of him at work. I will be using the "Workday Wednesday" theme for sharing photos, stories, and records related to my ancestors' work lives. If you like, join me in posting on your own blog, or as a comment here, how your ancestors spent "Workday Wednesday!"
I like this idea. I, too, have been surprised by both the unique, and often repeated occupations of my ancestors. Most of what I have learned about recent ancestors hasn't been 'news' to my family, though I have uncovered documentation, and some extra details. Perhaps the biggest revelation has been in the case of my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein.  The paternal grandfather of my paternal grandmother, Selig arrived in America in 1890.  The family remembered him as being active in both real estate and in the laundry business.

My research uncovered he had been in the US for 16 years when he entered the real estate business in 1906 (at the earliest).  It may have been 1911 before he opened his first laundry. His trade in the 'old country' is unknown, though he is listed as a 'laborer' on the arriving passenger manifest, and 'schlosser' on the German departing manifest, which translates to either 'locksmith' or 'metalworker.'

Occupations and Business Partners of Selig Feinstein (1860-1915)
(Unless otherwise indicated - Source: St. Louis City Directories)
  • 1892-1898 - Feinstein and Wieselman - Shoers 
  • 1898 - Feinstein and Wieselman - Inventors (source: patent database)
  • 1899-1900 - Feinstein and Wieselman - Blacksmiths
  • 1901-1902 - mgr The Western Junk Shop
  • 1903 - Feinstein and Schriber, Junk
  • 1904-1905 - Junk
  • 1908 - Feinstein and Broude - Real Estate - Selig Feinstein, (his son) Harry Feinstein, and Sergius Broude
  • 1909 - Feinstein Real Estate Co - Selig and Harry
  • 1911 - Royal Laundry Co - Selig and (his son) Herman (Selig: Pres., Herman: Mgr) 
  • 1912 - Central Laundry Co. (source: newspaper clipping)
  • 1914 - Famous Laundry Co - Annie Feinstein (wife), Pearl Feinstein (daughter), Selig Feinstein incorporators 
    My interpretation of these facts is that following the successful patent of improvements to fire hydrants, shoers Feinstein and Wieselman promoted themselves to blacksmiths and experienced enough success that Feinstein opened his own junk store. Then, at the age of 46, Selig left the junk store business.

    Selig seems to have entered the Real Estate and Laundry industries just as his children were starting out in these industries themselves.  This leads to questions concerning his role in these ventures. His participation may have been a means of passing on his business management experience to his children.

    1 comment:

    Denise Spurlock said...

    John, Thanks for joining in on "Workday Wednesday" and sharing your information about Selig Feinstein's occupations. I wonder how many of our ancestors stepped out of active participation in their businesses to help their children get their start in the world.