Us­ing old city di­rec­to­ries in your ge­nealog­i­cal re­search

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Ginny Ack­er­son

Di­rec­to­ries are the pre­de­ces­sors of the phone book but of­ten had more in­for­ma­tion. Peo­ple’s home and busi­ness ad­dresses, oc­cu­pa­tions and some­times their mar­i­tal sta­tus were listed.

There are sev­eral types of di­rec­to­ries avail­able. City di­rec­to­ries list where and when a per­son lived. You will also find a pub­lisher’s in­tro­duc­tion, a history of the city, a street di­rec­tory, ward bound­aries, a map of the city, ab­bre­vi­a­tions, a di­rec­tory of churches, a di­rec­tory of ceme­ter­ies, a list of city of­fi­cials, clas­si­fied lists of busi­nesses, a list of fra­ter­nal and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions, city laws or or­di­nances, a cal­en­dar of events and more. A city di­rec­tory can of­ten guide you to other records such as cen­suses, death and pro­bate records, nat­u­ral­iza­tion records, land records and church records.

Busi­ness and farm di­rec­to­ries list busi­nesses and farms in the com­mu­nity and can con­tain per­sonal in­for­ma­tion about the owner such as dates and places of birth, dates of mar­riage, names of chil­dren, length of res­i­dence in the town and other valu­able in­for­ma­tion. They are usu­ally or­ga­nized by county and, depend­ing on the time pe­riod, vary in the amount of in­for­ma­tion they con­tain.

Pro­fes­sional di­rec­to­ries in­clude in­for­ma­tion for peo­ple such as doc­tors and lawyers. They of­ten in­clude in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to that in­di­vid­ual’s history in the pro­fes­sion and other bi­o­graph­i­cal in­for­ma­tion.

Alumni di­rec­to­ries con­tain a list­ing of in­di­vid­u­als who at­tended a par­tic­u­lar school, the year that they grad­u­ated and their de­gree. Find­ing in­for­ma­tion about your an­ces­tor in one of these di­rec­to­ries can help you to lo­cate other records within the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Most peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with the com­mon tele­phone di­rec­tory; they con­tain ad­dresses and phone num­bers. These di­rec­to­ries can be quite help­ful in lo­cat­ing liv­ing rel­a­tives or pos­si­ble rel­a­tives with the same sur­name or a sim­i­lar sur­name. The phone com­pany in each city in the United States pub­lished a di­rec­tory of ev­ery­one in that area who had a phone num­ber; how­ever, phone books are dis­ap­pear­ing in this cy­ber age.

The first place to look for a book or mi­cro­film copy of di­rec­to­ries is the public li­brary of the town you are con­duct­ing re­search about. State li­braries and larger re­gional li­braries also have city di­rec­to­ries for towns in that state or area. Ge­nealog­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties may have sets of city di­rec­to­ries. Many di­rec­to­ries are online. Google the name of the town you are look­ing for plus the words “di­rec­to­ries online.” Other online re­sources in­clude Dis­tan­tCousin, United States Online His­tor­i­cal Di­rec­to­ries, and US City Di­rec­to­ries.

For those who don’t want to miss a minute of this year’s Folk­fest, World Pass­port passes are avail­able for $30 per per­son. This pass will al­low the bearer in to ev­ery per­for­mance dur­ing Folk­fest week. Many groups do dif­fer­ent dances on each night of the Folk­fest and bring a va­ri­ety of cos­tumes, mak­ing each evening per­for­mance unique. Au­di­ence mem­bers are guar­an­teed to see some­thing dif­fer­ent and new each night.

The Folk­fest will open with a free street dance on Mon­day, July 27, at 8 p.m. in the park­ing lot of the Springville Mu­seum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville. This fam­ily-ori­ented event is free and open to the public. Folk­fest dance groups will teach sim­ple folk dances to those at­tend­ing with ac­com­pa­ni­ment by their mu­si­cians.

Host fam­i­lies are cur­rently be­ing sought to house from two to four dancers dur­ing the week of the Folk­fest. Host fam­i­lies are asked to pro­vide room, board and trans­porta­tion to Folk­fest events for their in­ter­na­tional visi­tors. For in­for­ma­tion on how to be­come a host fam­ily dur­ing the Folk­fest, con­tact Folk­fest Hous­ing Di­rec­tor Heather Quass at 801850-8454 or folk­fest09@ya­hoo.com.

Old city di­rec­to­ries can be a great re­source for peo­ple re­search­ing their an­ces­tors.

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