Friday, March 09, 2012

WHERE to Look Next - City Directories

City directories place ancestors in specific localities  between census enumeration years. The US the federal enumerations occur only every ten years but annual city directories have survived for many places on a more frequent basis.

Once you know the locality where your ancestor once lived, then all sorts of other record groups come to mind:
  • church records of christenings, marriages, burials, coming and goings
  • tax records
  • court records - civil, criminal, probate
  • land records
  • newspapers - society pages, obits, wedding announcements
  • public vital records - birth, marriage, death

It is from a variety of these and other records that we're able to make kinship determinations.

Here's a sample from page 27 of the 1939 Linton, Indiana City Directory, scanned and searchable online at Scribd. Although typically a 1939 directory is created by data gathered during the first half of the previous year, you can bet there many of these Conklin, Conour, Cook and Coope families still lived at the addresses indicated on 1 April 1940, when the enumerator came to call.

With all the talk about the upcoming release of the 1940 US census images and the fact that the images won't initially be indexed means it is even more important that we look for the address in city directories for ancestors in the surrounding years. For more ideas about using the street address and an enumeration district map, see the following resources:

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. City directories have helped me pin point when ancestors moved out of one city or town and into another. It can also be used to help pin point when an ancestor may have died. If he is listed in year X of a given city directory, then his wife is listed as a widow in year X+1, then you have a good indication of which year(s) he could have died in.

    Some city directories are available for free using Google Books. I found my Henry L Sanders in two New York City Directories. I also found my Thomas Lowrie in a directory from Scotland using Google Books.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets