NYRENSSE-L ArchivesArchiver > NYRENSSE > 1999-06 > 0929168448
From: Cliff Lamere <>
Subject: [NYRENSSE-L] CITY DIRECTORIES
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 02:20:48 -0400
I was going to send the following message only to in
response to her recent inquiry about her McNichols relatives. After finishing it,
however, I realized that it was valuable information for beginning genealogists so
I am sending it to everyone on the list. Nobody ever mentioned the value of city
directories to me, so perhaps some of you don't realize how helpful they can be.
It is likely that some of your relatives were listed in the Troy City Directory
which has come out just about every year since 1870 or before. As I understand it,
people who had a job were the only ones listed. I think the employers supplied the
information. I used to go to Troy and use the directories at the public library.
I found city directories to be extremely helpful. Beside the names of the
employed, other information that they gave was the address of a worker's residence
and sometimes their place of employment. It usually told if they boarded or owned
the property. Adult children boarded. If you look at these directories for every
year, you learn when the children in a family got old enough to have a job. Having
the same address as their parents is a pretty good clue to the family relationship,
but not infallible, of course.
When a worker died, the date of death was usually given, a sort of announcement
explaining why they wouldn't be listed in the next directory. The directories did
not come out at the very beginning of the year (my impression from having worked
with them) and so some death notices got published in the year of the death while
others did not get published until the following year. If a working woman got
married, and as a result, she was leaving the city to be with her husband, her new
husband's name was often given. Even the city to which she was going was named.
If a single person or a resident married couple moved out of the city, a directory
often told where they were going.
City Directories are a wonderful resource. I was tracking one man who went from
Troy to Pittsfield, MA. His descendents did not know where he had disappeared to,
but the directory told me the name of the city. I went there and looked him up.
The Pittsfield directories told me his 10+ addresses and the names of the companies
which employed him for the next 30 years (for most years it was General Electric).
Then a directory gave me his date of death.
You need to look at every year to do a thorough job. For example, a working woman
may not have been listed for a couple of years when she had a child, but then her
name may reappear when she returned to the ranks of the employed. I hope this
information will be helpful to you. I realize that this email only alerts you to a
resource that may have some of the data that you seek. It doesn't solve the
problem of how to get it if you can't get to Troy. Extracting information for
several individuals in a family can take an afternoon. I believe that the NY State
Library in Albany has city directories on microfilm. I don't know if there is a
system for borrowing them.
Cliff Lamere Albany, NY
Elise Brenner wrote:
> I have been doing my research after only having a baptisaml certificate
> for my grandmother showing her name was McNichols.
> The 1900 census shows the name as McNicholas and lo and behold, she had
> 3 sisters and 1 brother at that time. Her father was Francis McNicholas
> and her mother was Clara (maiden name Habit). We had always heard that
> they came from Ireland but the census shows they came from England. He
> was a day laborer and the oldest daughter worked on collars.
> The people at the FHC told me that the next census gave more detail but
> I don't know if they lived in Troy in 1910. Is there anybody out there
> that has any type of directory showing Troy in 1910? This would help me
> decide if I should go ahead and order more films. Since I am also
> researching my grandfather in Ireland and on the other side, my
> great-grandparents in Denmark this would be a big help to know if I
> should do the 1910 from Troy.
> Thank you
|[NYRENSSE-L] CITY DIRECTORIES by Cliff Lamere <>|