Re: Ship Manifests : Profession " painter " - What does it mean ? #general


my late father used to refer to "ship painters" - a mildly derisive term for people who decided that they were "painters" during the voyage to america.

....... tom klein, toronto

At 13:49 -0700 8/9/20, main@... wrote:

My grandfather was a religious scholar in Lutsk i.e. as far as I know , he did not have a marketable skill when he arrived in the U.S. in 1902 . Eventually, he worked with others as a house painter , I don't know if that was inside or outside , but my father told me that he didn't make much money because he was always taking time off for the yom-toyvim or to daven during the day . On all the documents such as census etc . his profession was listed as " painter " . However , I just noticed that on his ship manifest his profession was also listed as "painter " .

Some cousins have speculated that he was a " portrait painter " in Lutsk . I doubt that , not only because the rabbis frowned upon painting the human form , but also because it was not a good way to make a living .

When I looked at other ship manifests , I noticed that there were a lot of people who put down their professions as "painter" . This leads to me to believe that American relatives had told people that "painter" was an acceptable profession for the American immigration authorities . I can't believe that there were so many Marc Chagalls among Eastern European Jews .

Does anyone know what " painter" was likely to mean to Americans and Jewish immigrants in the early part of the 20th century and if it was indeed a profession that relatives told new emigrants to use ?
Henry H. Carrey


....... tom klein, toronto

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