Friday, May 29, 2015

Family Birth: The Grocer, Rachel Renner Jay

Grocery Store Ancestors in Genealogy
On May 26, 1858, Rachel Friederike Renner was born in the East Birmingham neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (now the South Side). She was baptized at First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church on July 4th. Her father, Louis Renner, was a butcher so maybe that's how she came to be interested in running a grocery store as an adult.

On May 13, 1877, she was 18 years old when she married Henry Jay, the half-brother of my great-grandfather. In 1893, the couple moved to their home/grocery store on Carson Street where they would remain until Henry's death. (You can view the building as it looks today in the post listed at the end.)

Henry was shown as the "groceryman" in the 1900 census, but the store clearly became Rachel's business. In 1910, his occupation was listed as a carpenter for a foundry and she was the "retail merchant." As early as 1898, Rachel's name appeared as the owner in Pittsburgh city directories and even on maps. She ran this business while raising their seven children (another died before they opened the store).

Rachel Renner Jay died at the age of 81 on February 1, 1940. She is buried in South Side Cemetery.

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