Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Workday Wednesday ~ Sam Handler

These past few weeks I've been focusing on my husband's great uncle Sam Handler. Census records, although often full of errors, can provide a way to follow a family through the decades, and it's interesting to see how a person's occupation is listed through the years. Using city directories along with census records helps clarify what an ancestor was doing for a living and if his (or her) occupation changed over time.

At Fold3, I found Samuel Handler in the 1918 Cleveland City Directory. His occupation (as on his WWI Draft Registration Card) is "confectionery," meaning he made candy of some sort.

A couple of years later, in 1920, at 6314 Central Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Sam Handler's family is listed with his wife and two children.

Sam is 32 years old, Sadie is 29, and their children, Esther and Arthur are 10 and 7 and in school. In this census record, it looks like he and his wife immigrated in 1903, and the "Pa" indicates that he has his papers for naturalization, meaning that he is in the process of becoming a citizen. (Sadie is still considered an Alien.) (They became citizens later in 1920.) It looks like they are reporting that they were born in Vienna, Austria, yet their "Mother Tongue" is listed as Hungarian Magyar. (According to Sam's naturalization papers, they were both born in Hungary.)

Sam's occupation is Proprietor of a Fruit Store (healthier than confectionery) and is self-employed (indicated by OA).


In 1930, this Handler family is at 6908 Hough Avenue in Cleveland.

42-year-old Samuel Handler owns his home, valued at about $14,000, and this record indicates that he was born in Hungary. Wife Sadie is 40 years old, also born in Hungary. No, they didn't attend school during the prior year, and yes, they can read and write English. The children, 20-year-old Esther, and 18-year-old Arthur, were both in school during the prior year and were born in Ohio.

This is a continuation of the 1930 census record and shows that all their parents were born in Hungary, and for immigrants Sam and Sadie, Magyar (Hungarian) was the language that was spoken at home before coming to the U.S. They indicate here that they arrived in the U.S. in 1904 (this immigration year seems to be different in every record I find for them!) and are naturalized citizens. Sam has done well for himself. He is now a Manufacturer at a Beverage Company, which he owns and his daughter, Esther is a bookkeeper at a Beverage Company (probably for her father).

In's City Directories database, I found a few city directories for Cleveland. Here is the listing for Saml Handler in 1926, where he is President of Electura Water & Beverage Co.


In 1940, Sam and Sadie Handler are renting their home at 782 East 105th Street in Cleveland.

He is 52 and now born in "Jugoslavia" and Sadie is 51 and born in Hungary. (The city of Sam's birth, Illok, is one of those places that changed home countries during the first part of the 20th century.)

In their household is their daughter, Esther, along with their son-in-law David Simon, and their grandson, Alan. David was born in Roumania, is a naturalized citizen, and in 1935, lived in Niagara Falls, New York. (The rest of the family is listed with "Same Place" as they were at another address in Cleveland in 1935.)

I can't quite read Sam's occupation - possibly Mixes syrups at a Beverage Plant, where he earned $180 during the 12 weeks he worked in 1939. Esther is listed as Bookkeeping for Private Party, but the zeros in the right columns indicate she earned $0 working 0 weeks in 1939, the year her son was born. Son-in-Law, (Esther's husband), David Simon's occupation is listed as driver for a beverage truck, where he worked for 28 weeks in 1939, and made $980.

In the 1939 Cleveland City Directory (from's City Directories database), we see Saml Handler listing his occupation as "beverages."

However, things looked brighter just a couple of years later. If you look at Sam Handler's WWII Draft Registration Card, you'll see that he has his own beverage company. I find Sam and his son Arthur in the 1943 Cleveland City directory noting that the company is the Sante Beverage Co. (as noted on the Draft Registration Card).

I am still looking for information about when and where Sam or Sadie Handler died.

Update: See Sam Handler's Death Certificate.

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