The loss of the 1890 U.S. Census is a stumbling block for many genealogy researchers. “Losing” our ancestor in 1890 is the cause of many brick walls, but we do have research options to overcome these brick walls.
Devon Lee from the Family History Fanatics and I have teamed up once again to bring you an 8-part video series focusing on how to research around the 1890 census loss. We want to take the overwhelm out of researching your ancestors during the 1890 US Census Loss time period. And yes, we will have fun along the way!!
In this third video of our 1890 census series, I am talking about using city directories to research around that 1890 census record “black hole”.
Let’s start with some of our favorite reasons and tips for using City Directories in your genealogy research:
- Remember city directories are Not phone books!
- Tracking an ancestor year by year can help you determine when he/she migrated out of an area or if their economic situation improved based on a change of neighborhoods.
- We can literally place an ancestor on the map in a specific time period.
- Pay attention to the other listings of the same name. Do you see people living in the same household?
5. If a listing shows a wife as a widow, that’s a clue to help narrow down the death date of her husband!
6.Folks who lived in the rural areas surrounding a large city may be listed in the neighboring city directory (but not always).
7.Look for county directories for your rural ancestors
Where To Find Historical City Directories
Now that I have convinced you of the value of researching city directories, let’s find them! As with other records, what is available will vary by state and time period. Check out these sources for those family directories.
- Google books – Here is an example of a 1910 Ann Arbor, MI directory.
- The New York Public Library
- University Collections
- State and local archives
So check out the City Directories and get over your 1890 Census record loss hurdle.
Researching 1890 with City Directories
Did you miss the first videos on the 8-part series?
You might also be interested in:
- How to Use City Directories In Your Genealogy Research
- Finding Children Between the Census Years
- How To Make Genealogy Sense of Census Records
Pin for Future Reference!