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10 July 2011

Have You Tried City Directories?

Recently I've been using 1890 era city directories to fill in some gaps during that time period in my research. Directories can augment what is found in census records. While directories do not mention every person living in the household, they can list widows (and who their deceased husbands were) and may indicate adult children living in the household and where they work. 

Directories may also give more specific information regarding place of employment than the census. Census records frequent just list the type of work--a directory may name the employer specifically.


  1. I recently discovered your blog and wanted to comment. City Directories were a great help on a research trip I took last month. By looking through directories from 1925-1970, I found 4 generations of family members and a cousin that is still living and we hope to connect with soon. The address and employment information is invaluable and helped verified the information.

  2. Thanks for sharing this reminder. I love older city directories that are like mini-gossip columns.

  3. When I went to Worcester, MA for my Family Research trip, I looked at every directory from 1890 to 1930. I could see the transition of my family moving from one house or another, and also when the last person left Worcester and then went to New York. I also was able to see when indiv. died which info may not have been readily available. Wonderful Tip, Thank you!!!

  4. City directories are a wonderful resource. I've found some good information in the ones now on line.