Sunday, June 24, 2012

City Directories- Underused Genealogical Source


Have you been attempting the time of arrival or departure of family member to a Urban area between census records?  Looking to see where your ancestors were between 1880 and 1900 the large census gap in the United States?  City directories offer a excellent way to track your family that is very accurate.

Directories were printed for all large cities, but were also printed for a large amount of small towns.  Many records date back into the 1700's.  Majority of directories started consistently in the 1850's in the United States.  Provide a excellent year to year way of tracking your ancestors.  Allows you to pinpoint location as a catalysis to finding other records.  These records are also also being put on the internet in large amounts.

There are many successful methods that will help in locating your ancestors.  The first one is the "Straight Search".  This allows you to see all the persons living in a particular area at a specific time for possible family relationships.  Lists employment of both females and males.  You want to look for people with common employers and living in same neighborhoods as your ancestors.  Look for multiple names that are located at the same address.  Listings will include older children that are living under their parents roof, but have outside employment.  Make sure to compare the addresses with a city map for the time period to be aware where all people are located.

The next method is the address or street search method.  Will identify people living at the same address with your ancestor that may not share the same surname.  This is a great way to find parents, in-laws, siblings and other collateral family lines.  Allows you to also look at neighbors for possible relationship.  Make sure to check out business listings to see if other family members are working at the same employer.  Family members often worked the same occupation for generations.

Get out there and look at those city directories.  Excellent way to locate ancestors between census records and is often more accurate.
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