Thursday, November 13, 2008

A happy scattering of online Midwestern city directories

If I were doing this as a project for Genea-Blogging 101, I'd probably get some kind of bad grade for being so slow to find this site. Since I'm not, I can just be happy to report that has a bunch of city and county directories online, as one part of their archive of genealogical data and document images.

Most are scanned images, although I found one transcription. Very few places are represented more than once, which means that WHAT'S ON THE INTERNET IS JUST A TASTE, and hopefully it will inspire you to get out more... to actual libraries, that is. Like a census, any individual city directory entry (or non-entry) is subject to error; better to check a few adjoining years for consistency or surprises. One last point -- not all of these scans include the business sections (valuable additional evidence on employers), title pages (essential for proper citation), or the descriptive matter (sometimes useful background).

Of course, one thing only the internet can give you, and DistantCousin offers, is the ability to search for your research targets over all their city directories at once. Here's what they've got:

ILLINOIS: Aurora 1910-11, Chicago 1844 (transcribed -- you can check the original at, Chicago 1855-6 (much easier to navigate than Footnote's version), La Salle County 1917, Pana 1914, and Peoria 1883-84.

INDIANA: Delaware County 1909-10, Evansville 1922, Jay County 1927, Plymouth 1919, Tippecanoe County/Lafayette 1929-30 (with a reverse directory!), Union County 1917, and Wabash city/county 1914-15.

MICHIGAN: Alpena 1920, Battle Creek 1921, Coldwater 1949-50, Detroit 1837, Detroit and Wayne County 1893-94 (business), Gratiot County 1917, Ingham County 1916, Ottawa County 1918, and Saginaw 1923.

OHIO: Canton 1914, Chillicothe 1928, Cleveland 1900, Erie County, 1905, Findlay 1927, Hancock County 1927, Huron County 1905, Lancaster 1924-25, Sandusky County 1905, and Williams County 1916.

WISCONSIN: Fond du Lac 1928, Madison 1911, and Oshkosh 1886-87.

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