Seriously, Use City Directories

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’m kind of obsessed with City Directories. It started when I was going through them on Footnote.com and learning so much about William Moore. Now it’s a full blown obsession. I just can’t believe the things I’ve learned just by looking up people in the directories. Today though, I found something even crazier then I’ve found in the months since my first look.

Montclair, Bloomfield Caldwell, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Verona, Cedar Grove Directory, 1941

From the directory excerpt you see above, what interests me most is the second Thorward on the list.

— George died April 8 1940 age 88

This is a great find for me, because the only documentation I have of George’s death are his obituary (a newspaper clipping with a year written on it), and the year on his tombstone. This gives me a date to check in vital records now instead of just a year.

Montclair, Caldwell, Essex Fells, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge Directory, 1945

Now we have George’s wife Josephine. For her, I only had a year written on her tombstone.

Montclair, Caldwell, Essex Fells, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge Directory, 1947

Now here’s George and Josephine’s son Lewis. I had his death date already, but this just proves why you should be using city directories! It just might solve the missing relative problems you have. It might give you a ballpark date to search for vital records. They are full of information!

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3 thoughts on “Seriously, Use City Directories”

  1. I love city directories, too. I have not found actual dates of death in any of the ones I’ve looked at. People just ‘disappear’ from the listings or a widow suddenly appears, but I have found other interesting things in directories – http://bit.ly/emYp5f Continued happy hunting!
    Jen

    1. Thanks for the comment Jen! I was very surprised to find actual death dates in the directory. Maybe it’s there because they were prominent business people. My Grandfather says the Thorwards were very active in the community so it could be for that. I’ve never seen it before, that’s for sure!

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