Telephone Books and City Directories
January 10, 2012
Most people toss their old telephone books in the recycle bin and never give them a second thought. To a genealogist, however, any city directory is a valuable resource in locating people. A telephone book, which is an alphabetical listing of residents, is a type of directory familiar to most people. A city directory can be used to locate an ancestor between census years. It may also list a spouse or other family members living in the same town. Some directories give a person’s occupation. City directories often have a section that lists residents by street. Using a street listing can be helpful when researching the history of a house; by searching for the address of the house, you can see who lived in the house from year to year.
The Midwest Genealogy Center has a large collection of city directories from all over the country. A new listing of Missouri directories has been added to our website, which lists our library’s city directory holdings in book, microfilm, and microfiche format. If you cannot find what you need, do not forget to check Online Resources for directories as well. Two MCPL databases available contain directories (NOTE: these two databases are in-library use only.). Ancestry Library Edition has U.S. Phone and Address Directories 1993-2002, and Fold3 has city directories from Kansas City (1865-1923) and St. Louis (1863-1923).
Midwest Genealogy Center