Saturday, February 25, 2012

Small City Directories for Indiana

There's something cruelly tempting about an inadequately labeled box of microfilm. I recently discovered that the admirable "City Directories of the United States" series includes a few boxes for most states that are labeled only with the state name and a date range. The only way to find out what's in them is to scroll through and look.

Indiana has five such boxes, and microfilmed therein are a scattering of directories from the early 1900s for smaller cities that didn't have continuous runs (or at least don't any more -- but always check locally before concluding that!). I went through the Indiana boxes and found that they contain 34 directories covering 24 towns and 18 counties (more northern than southern) for the first third of the 1900s. Each film is identified both by its long CDUS number and by its short Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center number (where I encounter them); that plus the item number within specifies each directory.

I worked from the title pages and did not analyze the contents of each directory. It could well be that some of them have more coverage of the surrounding rural county than expected. And in at least one case it was difficult to tell where one Randolph County directory ended and another began. In all cases, there is hope that if you visit or consult locally you may find additional directories that the microfilmers missed.

Over at MidwestRoots I have posted the item-by-item, film-by-film listing, followed by an alphabetical index to county and town and time, running from Adams County in 1908 to Winchester in 1912-1913. (If you get lost just go to and hit the tab for Indiana small city directories.) Happy hunting!

[Added later: Amy Johnson Crow points out on Facebook that the vast majority of city directory films are well labeled in Allen County's microtext catalog (which everyone should check before visiting). The films I'm talking about in this post are a small group with several different cities included on each reel, not described in detail on the box provided by the microfilm vendor nor at the beginning of each reel. Since I need to know what's in the boxes anyway, why not share?]

1 comment:

Judy G. Russell said...

>>Since I need to know what's in the boxes anyway, why not share?<<

Thought that was worth repeating. We all do a lot of research that could be useful to others. Why not share?