52 Documents in 52 Weeks #23 – Andrew Mery’s 1930 Census

Person of Interest: Andrew Leo Mery
Relationship: Husband of my great grand aunt Jennie (Repsher) Mery

Source Citation: 1930 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, East Stroudsburg, ED 45-6, page 3A (penned), dwelling 51, family 56, Andrew Mary; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2080.

Photo Source: http://www.census.gov

Document Description: These documents are part of the Fifteenth Census of the United States which was taken in 1930, shortly after the stock market crash which occurred on 29 October 1929. Herbert Hoover was the president on the day of the census. It is the fifteenth census taken since 1790. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for taking the censuses. After 72 years (and not before owing to privacy reasons), the records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. In accordance with the 72-Year Rule, the National Archives released the 1930 records to the public in 2002.  The U.S. Census Bureau provides the interested researcher a great overview of each census. In the 1930 overview, we find that Congress legislated The Fifteenth Census Act, which was approved on June 18, 1929, and that it authorized “a census of population, agriculture, irrigation, drainage, distribution, unemployment, and mines [to be] taken by the Director of the Census.” The unemployment piece of the census became vitally important after the stock market crash.

According to the 1930 overview site, some crisis and controversies arose from the data collected during the census:

“In the time between the passage of the act and census day, the stock market crashed and the nation plunged into the Great Depression. The public and academics wanted quick access to the unemployment information collected in the 1930 census. The Census Bureau had not planned to process the unemployment information it had collected – which some statisticians considered unreliable – until quite a bit later and was unequipped to meet these demands. When it did rush its data on unemployment out, the numbers it reported were attacked as being too low. Congress required a special unemployment census for January 1931; the data it produced confirmed the severity of the situation.

Both Ancestry.com (fee site) and FamilySearch.org (free) offers digitized copies of the census and are searchable by name.

Document Scan/Transcription: Numbers relate to columns on the population schedule
Abbreviations to be used (found at the bottom of the schedule)
[Use no abbreviations for State or country of birth or for mother tongue (Columns 18, 19, 20 and 21)]
Col. 6 – Indicate the home-maker in each family by the letter “H,” following the word which shows relationship, as “Wife – H”
Col. 7 – Owned – O, Rented – R
Col. 9 – Radio set – R, make no entry for families having no radio set
Col. 11 – Male – M, Female – F
Col. 12 – White – W, Negro – Neg, Mexican – Mex, Indian – In, Chinese – Ch, Japanese – Jp, Filipino – Fil, Hindu – Hin, Korean – Kor, Other races – Spell out in full
Col. 14 – Single – S, Married – M, Widowed – Wd, Divorced – D
Col. 23 – Naturalized – Na, First Papers – Pa, Alien – Al
Col. 27 – Employer – E, Wage or salary worker – W, Working on own account – O, Unpaid worker, member of the family – NP
Col. 31 – World War – WW, Spanish-American – Sp, Civil War – Civ, Philippine Insurrection – Phil, Boxer Rebellion – Box, Mexican Expedition – Mex

Entries are Required in the Several Columns as Follows (found at the bottom of the schedule):
Cols. 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, and 25 – For all persons.
Cols. 7, 8, 9, and 10 – For all heads of families only. (Col. 8 requires no entry for farm family.)
Col. 15 – For married persons only.
Col. 17 – For all persons 10 years of age and over.
Cols. 21, 22, and 23 – For all foreign-born persons.
Col. 24 – For all person 10 years of age and over.
Cols. 26, 27, and 28 – For all persons for whom an occupation is reported in Col. 25.
Col. 30 – For all males 21 years of age and over.

Page 3 Header
State: Pennsylvania; County: Monroe; Name of Incorporated Place: East Stroudsburg Borough; S.D. No.: 11; E.D. No.: 45-6; Enumerated by me on April 3, 1930; Enumerator: Olive S. Kistler; Sheet No.: 3A; stamped page number: 68.

Page 3A Detail
lines 40-47, Andrew L., Jennie F., Blanche C., John A., Jane E., Leona M., Raymond L., and Kenneth A. Sharbaugh [respectively with ; between]

Place of Abode
1. Street, Avenue, Road, etc: Elizabeth St.
2. House number: 87
3. Number of dwelling: 51
4. Number of family in order of visitation: 56

Name and Relation
5. Name: Mery, Andrew; —- Jennie F.; —- Blanche C.; —- John A.; —- Jane E.; —- Leona M.; —- Raymond L.; Sharbaugh, Kenneth A.
6. Relation: Head; Wife – H; Daughter; Son; Daughter; Son; Daughter; Daughter; Son; Nephew

House Data
7. House Owned or Rented: O; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
8. Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented: 6,000; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
9. Radio Set: R; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
10. Does this family live on a farm: No, [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Personal Description
11. Sex: M; F; F; M; F; F; M; M
12. Color or race: W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W
13. Age at last birthday: 34; 28; 9; 7; 5; 3-10/12; 1-10/12; 19
14. Marital condition: M; M; S; S; S; S; S; S
15. Age at first marriage: 24; 18; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

16.  Attended school or college anytime since Sept. 1, 1929: no; no; yes; yes; no; no; no; no
17. Whether able to read and write: yes; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; yes

Place of Birth
18. Person: Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania
19. Father: France; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania
20. Mother: France; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania

Mother Tongue (or Foreign language) of Native Born
21. Language spoken in home before coming to the U.S.: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
A. State or M.T.: 58; 58; 58; 58; 58; 58; 58; 58
B. Country: 12; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
C. Nativity: O; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Citizenship, etc.
22. Year of immigration to the U.S: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
23. Naturalization: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
24. Whether able to speak English: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Occupation and Industry
25. Occupation: Tire dealer, none, none, none, none, none, none, Sales man
26. Industry: Auto tire shop, [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; Auto tire shop
D. Code: 8289, [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; 4589
27. Class of Worker: E, [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; W

28. Whether actually at work yesterday (or last regular work day), yes or no: yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
29. If no, number on employment schedule: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

30. Whether a veteran of U.S. military or naval forces, yes or no: yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
31. What war or expedition: W.W.; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

32. Number of farm schedule: yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Analysis: The above listings/transcriptions are a bit hard to read, I admit it. So why go through the pain of typing it all out? It forced me to look at every single box and tick mark and code and notation. So, let’s put the above in a more user-friendly, narrative format:

On 01 April 1930, Andrew L. Mery (34), head of household, was living in the borough of East Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, with wife Jennie F. (28) and daughters Blanche C. (9), Jane E. (5), and Leona M. (3-10/12), sons John A. (7) and Raymond L. (1-10/12) and nephew Kenneth Sharbaugh (19). Andrew owned the house, valued at $6,000, on 87 Elizabeth St. when enumerator Olive S. Kistler visited the household on 03 April 1930 to record the family’s information. Ms. Kistler was working in her Supervisor’s District of 11 which oversaw Enumeration District 45-6. In order of visitation, the family was labeled as living in dwelling #51 and as family #56. The family owns a radio set.

Andrew was married when he was 24 years old and Jennie was 18. Everyone else in the household is single. Blanche and John were the only ones in school. Andrew was born in Pennsylvania but his parents were born in France. Everyone else was born in Pennsylvania as were their parents.

Andrew was a tire dealer within the auto tire shop industry. He was an employer and, since nephew Kenneth is working as a salesman in the auto tire shop industry, he most likely employs Kenneth in the shop. Andrew worked yesterday (or the last regular working day),  although Kenneth’s answer was blank.

Andrew was also a veteran of the World War. There is no designation for I or II since World War II had yet to occur. 

A family photo corroborates that fact that Andrew was a tire shop owner. I have a wonderful photo of his shop located in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The people aren’t identified, but I’m pretty sure Andrew was the gentlemen wearing the tie and white shirt and highly suspect that his nephew was the young man on left. Looking at the detail in the photo shows that they sold the General Tire brand of tires and Sinclair gas. I also suspect that the family may have lived over the shop given the architecture of the building.

It is unclear why Kenneth Sharbaugh was living with the Mery family. Was it because Andrew employed him? How long had he been living with them? How was he nephew, through Andrew’s sister or Jennie’s sister? All interesting questions that this census, taken by itself, does not answer.

Instructions to the enumerators are a good way to make sure you understand what each item on the census means. The instructions for the 1920 are found on a handy website called IPUMS which stands for the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Perusing the instructions for the 1930 census at IPUMS shows that:

  • How names are to be written.-Enter first the last name or surname, then the given name in full, and the initial of the middle name, if any, except that where a person usually writes his first initial and his middle names, as “J. Henry Brown,” you should write “Brown, J. Henry,” rather than “Brown, John H.”
  • Occupants of an institution or school, living under a common roof, should be designated as officer, inmate, pupil, patient, prisoner, etc.; and in the case of the chief officer his title should be used, as warden, principal, superintendent, etc., instead of the word “head.” Pupils who live at the school only during the school term are not usually to be enumerated at the school.
  • Owned homes.-A home is to be classed as owned if it is owned wholly or in part by the head of the family living in the home or by the wife of the head, or by a son, or a daughter, or other relativeliving in the same house with the head of the family. It is not necessary that full payment for the property should have been made or that the family should be the sole owner.
  • Negroes.-A person of mixed white and Negro blood should be returned as a Negro, no matter how small the percentage of Negro blood. Both black and mulatto persons are to be returned as Negroes, without distinction. A person of mixed Indian and Negro blood should be returned a Negro, unless the Indian blood predominates and the status as an Indian is generally accepted in the community.
  • Indians.-A person of mixed white and Indian blood should be returned as Indian, except where the percentage of Indian blood is very small, or where he is regarded as a white person by those in the community where he lives.
  • Persons retired or incapacitated.- Care should be taken in making the return for persons who on account of old age, permanent invalidism, or other reasons are no longer following any occupation. Such persons may desire to return the occupations formerly followed, which would be incorrect. If living on their own income, or if they are supported by other persons or institutions, or if they work only occasionally or only a short time each day, the return should be none.
  • Unusual occupations for women.-There are many occupations, such as carpenter and blacksmith, which women usually do not follow. Therefore, if you are told that a woman follows an occupation which is very peculiar or unusual for a woman, verify the statement.
  • Those men are to be counted as “veterans” who were in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States during the period of any United States war, even though they may not have gotten beyond the training camp. A World War veteran would have been in the service between 1917 and 1921; a Spanish-American War veteran, between 1898 and 1902; a Civil War veteran, between 1861 and 1866.

When recording country of birth, some special attention was given to countries affected by World War I:

  • Since it is essential that each foreign-born person be credited to the country in which his birthplace is now located, special attention must be given to the six countries which lost a part of their territory in the readjustments following the World War. These six countries are as follows:

    Austria, which lost territory to Czechoslovakia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Rumania.
    Hungary, which lost territory to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia.
    Bulgaria, which lost territory to Greece and Yugoslavia.
    Germany, which lost territory to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, Denmark, France, Lithuania, and Poland.
    Russia, which lost territory to Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Turkey.
    Turkey, which lost territory to Greece and Italy and from which the following areas became independent:
    Iraq (Mesopotamia); Palestine (including Transjordan); Syria (including Lebanon); and various States
    and Kingdoms in Arabia (Asir, Hejaz, and Yemen).

  • If the person reports one of these six countries as his place of birth or that of his parents, ask specifically whether the birthplace is located within the present area of the country; and if not, find out to what country it has been transferred. If a person was born in the Province of Bohemia, for example, which was formerly in Austria but is now a part of Czechoslovakia, the proper return for country of birth is Czechoslovakia. If you can not ascertain with certainty the present location of the birthplace, where this group of countries is involved, enter in addition to the name of the country, the name of the Province or State in which the person was born, as Alsace-Lorraine, Bohemia, Croatia, Galicia, Moravia, Slovakia, etc., or the city, as Warsaw, Prague, Strasbourg, etc.

One instruction in particular popped out at me as a lesson in looking at censuses: “Enumerators must make a special effort to obtain returns for all infants and young children. Children under 1 year of age, in particular, have frequently been omitted from the enumeration in past censuses.” This could explain the lack of finding someone (negative evidence) who should have been listed as a person in a household in a prior census, especially if they were less than 1 year of age.

This census also has some notations in the column labeled D for the family members that are employed. Andrew had “8289” and his nephew Kenneth had “4589.”  IPUMS also is handy for looking up industry codes. Andrew’s code translates to “Retail dealers, automobiles and accessories” but Kenneth’s is not listed in this table. So, I checked on Steve Morse’s One-Step pages, and found that Kenneth was classified as a salesman at an “Automobile agency or accessories store; Automobile filling station; Automobile service station (filling station).” Both make sense and match what the 1930 has listed for them as occupations.


Andrew and Jennie Mery’s family seems like the typical family found in 1930. They have five children together and have taken in Kenneth Sharbaugh. What is unclear is how the stock market crash affected them. It may have been too early for the effects to trickle down to his tire shop. Some research into city directories between 1931 and the next census in 1940 might help to figure out if his tire shop survived the extreme downturn in the economy.


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