Monday, April 30, 2012

Michigan Small City Directories Content and Index

There's still something cruelly tempting about an inadequately labeled box of microfilm! For those who don't recall my previous posts on this topic, I recently discovered (by accident, while looking at Texas) 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, which can be a pain when your target may not be there at all!

Michigan has seven 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 appear not to -- check locally before concluding that!). I went through and found that these films contain 39 directories covering 37 communities and six counties 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. (Most city directories at Allen County are well labeled and catalogued in their microtext catalog.)

I worked from the title pages and did not analyze the contents of each directory. It could well be that some of them cover more of the surrounding rural county than expected. In all cases, there is hope that additional directories may be held locally.

Over at MidwestRoots I have posted the item-by-item, film-by-film listing, followed by an alphabetical index by community or county and time, running from Allegan in 1921 to Sturgis in 1934. (If you get lost just go to and hit the top menu for "Unfindables" or the entry for Michigan on the list of categories on the right-hand side.) Happy hunting!

Harold Henderson, “Michigan Small City Directories Content and Index” Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 30 April 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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