Re: Finding Seltzer Merchants #general

Judith Singer

Hi - I hate to be so discouraging to a fellow researcher, but I don't
think you'll find much in the way of records of employment for your
family in the seltzer business. All someone needed to become a seltzer
merchant at that time was a very little capital to invest in a machine
to carbonate NYC tap water, glass bottles, and a capping machine, plus
a strong back to lug the bottles up and down the stairs of six-story
tenements. That, combined with the popularity of seltzer among
immigrant Jews, meant that during the period you are researching,
there were dozens and dozens of "seltzer manufacturers" in New York
City. Also, at that time businesses were not required to keep records
of employees as they are today for income tax, Social Security tax,
and Bureau of Labor Statistics purposes.

My grandfather and his older brother were both in the seltzer business
in New York City; my grandfather employed his brother for a while,
then the brother went into business on his own. Both were very small
businesses at that time. Eventually my great-uncle's business grew,
but not until years later. I doubt they kept records of employees:
there was no reason to.

The best evidence I found of my grandfather's employment in the
industry were listings in the town directories when he lived in New
Britain, CT; he was always either self-employed or one-half of a
partnership, never an employee. You might try looking for listings in
the New York City directories of the time for seltzer manufacturers
named Goldberg.

By the way, the wikipedia article about seltzer water is not at all
helpful. Try googling - seltzer Jews - and you'll find more
interesting information.

Judith Singer
Resarching CHARNEY / CHERNOFF in Kavarskas, Lithuania and New York,
Connecticut and Massachusetts in the U.S.; SORTMAN / SORTAN / ZORTMAN
etc in Seredzius, Lithuania, Leeds and Manchester in the U.K., and New
York and Connecticut in the U.S.

Arlynne Brown Brown <arbrown2@...> wrote:

I am researching my GOLDBERG family ancestry. Every male is listed as working
in the seltzer industry in New York City in the early to mid-1900s. I have
"googled" the history of and records related to seltzer and found 1 article
about the history.

Does anyone know if companies kept records of their employees? Where would I
find them?

I would appreciate any tips on how to further this research,.

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