Friday, April 1, 2022

Diamond Emigration Anniversary - and Diamonds' First US Census

On April 1, 1947--75 years ago today--my Diamond grandparents and my Baich/Bajcz great grandmother came to America.  And today, April 1, 2022, the day that the 1950 census became publicly available, I was able to see them on their first-ever United States census, along with my father's older brother Abe, age 2.  (The census becomes publicly available on the April 1 that is 72 years after the census was taken.)

Diamond/Baetz in the 1950 Census (Paul Diamond inserted from end of previous page).  Baltimore, Maryland

Because my grandfather appeared on the last line of one page and my grandmother on the first page of the next, they were selected to be asked additional questions, which is nice.  So what did the census tell me? My grandparents were living where I expected, at 1700 Harlem Avenue in Baltimore, where they had a grocery store.  My grandfather is listed as being 28 years old, born in Russia, not (yet) a naturalized citizen, who had worked 75(!) hours the previous week.  And he was a salesman in a retail grocery.  The additional questions tell me that he was not living in the same place a year prior, but he was living in the same county (Baltimore City).  Both of his parents were born in Russia.  He had completed the seventh grade in school.  And he had made $3500 the previous year.

My grandmother is said to be 24 (she was born in 1922, so,...math?) in Poland.  This is interesting, because my grandparents were born quite nearby one another.  And when they were born, they were born in Poland.  However, at the same this census was taken, their hometowns were in the Soviet Union.  So why is one listed as being from Poland and one from Russia?  Who knows why they chose those countries.  She worked 70 hours the previous week as a saleswoman in their retail grocery store.  The additional questions say that she also lived elsewhere in Baltimore city a year prior, her parents were from Russia (well, the area was part of the Russian Empire when they were born, so that's right), and she had completed the eighth grade.  She'd made $1500 the previous year.

Diment Ship Manifest

My great-grandmother Sheva Baich/Bajcz was enumerated as Shevar Beitz, a 54-year-old widow from Russia who kept house (not a surprise given the hours-per-week that my grandparents worked!).  This the only US census in which my great grandmother Sheva (for whom I'm named) was enumerated; she died just over a year after the census was taken.

So on this 75th anniversary of Diamonds being in America, I also get to get a glimpse into my grandparents' first few years of life in America--having their first child, working (long hours!) at their small neighborhood grocery, while my great-grandmother kept house and watched the baby.  And this is no April Fools joke!

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  1. Interesting that the manifest lists Sonia as having Polish nationality but Pejsach is "stateless."

  2. Before Harlem Avenue, they lived on Cross St - which is now under M&T Stadium (Ravens). Zaidy would travel to D.C. to work at the Zitelman's restaurant.