Archive for January, 2013

Tuesday’s Tip – City Directories

Posted by on Tuesday, 8 January, 2013

City Directories are a wonderful resource for the genealogist. It can track a family in between the census year and around that pesky missing 1890 United States Census. Many cities and towns have been creating city directories every year about their residents. Some of these city directories go as far back as the early 1800s. Generally the larger the city, the earlier the city began publishing its directory.

In many cases a city directory can provide a glimpse of what life was like when your ancestors were walking the streets. Below is a depiction of a building from New York City. This building was near where my ancestor Henry L. Sanders was living when he was in New York City. That area today looks a whole lot different.

NYC Store Front

City directories normally document all males who are working or retired. Woman may be listed in the directories as well. Generally women are listed when their husband has died or they are working. The directory will list the street address. It may also indicate the occupation and the employer of the individual. When a resident moved to a different town or city, the city directory will sometime indicate which town they moved to. You can find out a lot by looking at your ancestor over time.

The following four images are Washington DC City Directories between 1884 and 1886. My ancestor Edwin A Banks was living there at the time. Edwin was not listed in any previous directories or any after 1886.

1884 Washington DC City Directory : Edwin Banks
1884 Washington DC City Directory - Edwin Banks

1885 Washington DC City Directory : Edwin Banks
1885 Washington DC City Directory - Edwin Banks

1886 Washington DC City Directory : Edwin Banks
1886 Washington DC City Directory - Edwin Banks

1886 Washington DC City Directory : Abbreviations
1886 Washington DC City Directory - Abbreviations

  • In 1884 & 1885 Edwin A Banks is living at 1441 P nw and is working as an electrotyper.
  • By 1886, Edwin had moved to 1538 8th nw and is working for the Government Printing Office (g pr o).
  • Notice in 1886 there is a Ellen Banks, wid Robert (widow of Robert). Check for this is proceeding years to narrow down when Robert died.

City directories are usually easy to find. Your state library or archives will usually have a collection of the states historical directories. At the Connecticut State Library (CSL) for example, you can find many city directories microfilm or microfiche. The CSL also has some out of state directories for cities close to the Connecticut border. I was able to follow Sidney Ford from the time he resided in Albany, New York in the 1850s, through his move to Hartford Connecticut. I was able to narrow down the date he died based upon his disappearance from the Hartford City Directories. You can also find city directories in Google Books.

1837 Pigot Directory of Scotland

Here’s a word of caution I learned about the hard way. Just because your ancestor disappears from a directory and his wife shows up in the next years directory, doesn’t mean he died. My ancestor Patrick Fraher/Fryher disappears and reappears a number of times in the city directories. Each time he disappears his wife shows up instead. She is even listed as a widow in the 1884 New Britain (Connecticut) City Directory. I was looking for Patrick’s death certificate around this year. It comes to find out that my Patrick was still alive at least ten years after his wife is listed as a widow in the city directory.



Genealogy by the States – Week 1 – Delaware

Posted by on Sunday, 6 January, 2013

This week’s blogging prompt is the State of Delaware. Blog about an ancestor or your families connection to Delaware. If you don’t have any connections to Delaware, find a Delaware resource useful for genealogy research to highlight and write about. This week’s prompt runs from 1/6/2013 – 1/12/2013. If you choose to follow along, I would appreciate a mention to the Hidden Genealogy Nuggets website.


I do not have a lot of connections to Delaware. The closest connection to Delaware is my through my Great Uncle Joseph James Sanders.

Joseph James Sanders was the second of eight children of John Charles Sanders and Mary Agnes Fraher. He was born on 21-on Nov-1889 in New Britain, Connecticut. Joseph was married to Margaret Yost on 12-Oct-1911 in Wilmington, New Castle DELAWARE (The connection to Delaware). Joseph was born on 12-Nov-1889 in New Britain, Hartford County, Connecticut. He joined the Navy in about 1908. During the 1910 US Federal Census, he is listed as a member of the USS Rhode Island. This is the only relative I’ve ever seen who has been enumerated on board a navy ship.

Below is a snippet from the Delaware Vital records of his Delaware marriage.
James Sanders & Margaret Yost Marriage

Here he is in his sailor’s uniform.

James Joseph Sanders Sailor's uniform

James and Margaret had two children. Edward William Sanders born was 7-Mar-1913 in New Britain, Connecticut. Joseph James Sanders was born on 16-May-1914 also in New Britain, Connecticut.

The following passage is from notes my dad (William Alfred Sanders) made during a personal interview he had with Theresa M. Sanders . (She was the wife of Edward Sanders who compiled the history of the Sanders Family.) I corrected some grammatical errors and added punctuation to make the passage more readable.

Joseph James Sr. started working in 1904 at the age of 14. He worked fifty nine hours a week in a machine shop for $3.85 per week. As an apprentice in 1905 at age 15 he made 50 cents per day with a 10 hour day and worked for Corbin Motor Vehicle. He enlisted in the navy in 1908 and spent his first six months at Newport, Rhode Island, training station. In June 1908 he transferred to the USS Prairie, a transport taking 500 sailors and 600 marines to Panama, where he saw them digging the Panama Canal.

He went overland and then boarded the USS Buffalo to San Francisco where he transferred to the battleship USS Illinois for a trip around the world. The route was to Honolulu, Sidney Australia, Melbourne Australia, Aukland New Zealand (then Amoy), China,the Phillipines, Ceylon, Port Said, To Messina in Italy in 1909. In Messina they aided in the rescue of earthquake victims and were awarded the Italian Red Cross Medal. Then on to Gibralter and home to Hampton Roads, Virginia. The crew was selected to participate in the inaugural parade of President William Howard Taft. They then proceeded to Boston, Ma were the Illinois was decommissioned.

He then joined the USS Rhode Island for three winters in Guantanimo Bay in Cuba. when he transferred to the USS Iowa in Philadelphia he took a midshipman cruise to Gibralter, France, Germany and Norway. Later to Queenstown, Ireland and England. Joe left the navy on January 29, 1912 having attained the rank of QM-3C (signalman). After marriage he worked as a lock inspector at Russel & Erwin in New Britain making 9 dollars a week which was a good pay in those days. They moved to Philadelphia in 1915 and Joe went to work as a toolmaker becoming a foreman and staying there for 10 years. He then was employed by Franklin Arsenal of the US Army in 1937 until his retirement in 1954. When he left he was foreman of the Artiliery Tool Room.

Children of Joseph James Sanders and Margaret Yost
1- Edward William Sanders

2- Joseph James Sanders

1- 1900 United States Census: New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut; Roll: 139; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0213
2- 1910 United States Census: USS Rhode Island, US Navy, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: T624_1784; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0096
3- 1920 United States Census: Philadelphia Ward 33, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1625; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 1105
4- 1930 United States Census: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2117; Page: 49A; Enumeration District: 1183
5- 1940 United States Census: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3727; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 51-1271.
6- United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, Joseph James Sanders
7- United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, Joseph James Sanders
8- Photograph in possession of the author, Jim Sanders, Oxford, Connecticut
9- Social Security Death Index: Joseph Sanders, April 1969
10- Delaware Marriage Records, 1806-1933 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Delaware. Delaware Vital Records. Microfilm. Delaware Public Archives, Dover.
11- Notes from a personal interview William Alfred Sanders had with Theresa M. Sanders (She was the wife of Edward Sanders who compiled the history of the Sanders Family)
A few Delaware Genealogy Links


Society Saturday: NERGC 2013 Update

Posted by on Saturday, 5 January, 2013

I previously posted about the 2013 New England Regional Genealogy Conference. The conference is getting closer so I thought I’d provide an update.

The conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel & Expo Center, Manchester, New Hampshire April 17 -21 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is “Woven in History – The Fabric of New England”. The program brochure is now available for downloading. The featured speakers are Colleen Fitzpatrick and Stephen Morse. There are also many other well known speakers who will be present.

Wednesday April 17 is a librarians and teachers day with special sessions devoted to them. Wednesday is also a tech day with Stephen Morse providing two separate talks during the day. Thursday through Saturday is when the bulk of the classes will take place. There are usually seven or eight different classes you might take at any given time. There are also several different workshops in which you must register in advance and space is limited.

If you are looking for an inexpensive genealogy conference to attend the 2013 NERGC might be just the conference for you. I know I’m planning on being there and will most likely post a blog entry and the end of each day summarizing the conference happenings I went to that day.


Search Civil Military - Fold3

Funeral Card Friday: Ruth (Laurie) Smith

Posted by on Friday, 4 January, 2013

My great aunt Ruth (Laurie) (Stedman) Smith lived to be 99 years old. Funeral cards can be a great resource. I’ve even seen photos on some funeral cards as early as 1923.

Funeral Card: Ruth Laurie Smith, New Britain, Connecticut: back

Funeral Card: Ruth Laurie Smith, New Britain, Connecticut:front


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