Monday, September 7, 2015

52 Ancestors Week 36: Dry Goods Clerk

Manning David Daughrity, Jr. (light suit)
Dry Goods Clerk
Late 1920's
© Cheri Hudson Passey

   Labor Day is a great time to think about what your ancestors did to support themselves and their families. 
 This week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2015 Edition has us doing just that with the prompt Working For a Living
   There are several ways to find out about your ancestors occupation. 

    One way is from family stories. My maternal Grandmother, Azile Juanita (Daughrity) Roberts Sullivan (1921-2009) told me of her father Manning David Daughrity, Jr. (1889-1931) working as a clerk in a department store in Sumter, South Carolina. The picture above, given to me by my grandmother, shows David and several other employees. The store was at one time called WM Folsom, Co. and was a dry goods store on Main St. in Sumter, SC. At some point the store may have become a JCPenney's as family members tell of David working there. 

 Military Records can also help determine an occupation.
  This 1917 World War I Registration Card filled out by David Daughrity helps to confirm the family story.  He writes that his present occupation is clerk and that his employer is WM Folsom, Co. in Sumter, South Carolina.

WWI Draft Registration Card
Manning David Daughrity
Sumter County, SC image

  Census Records are another way to discover what your ancestor did for a living. In this 1930 Census from Sumter County, South Carolina, David Daughrity's occupation is filled in as being a clerk in a dry goods store.
1930 Sumter County, SC Federal Population Census
Image from

   Clues to employment can also be found in obituaries.  David Daughrity's 1931 obituary from the The State (Columbia, SC) includes information about his job working in the dry goods business. It also states that he had been ill and had to retire.

Obituary of Manning David Daughrity, Jr.
The State, Columbia, SC June 10, 1931, pg. 6

     These are just a few examples of how different record groups can be helpful in determining where and how our ancestors supported their families. Newspaper stories, city directories, tax lists, and probate records can also help to determine employment.
 What record groups have you used to discover the occupation of your ancestors?

Are we kin? Please contact me. Together we can find our people.
Thanks so much for stopping by!


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