ERC: Genealogy and Family History: Records
PAGE FROM THE BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY DIRECTORY
The city directories for the years 1933-1934
were the last ones published for the various boroughs of New York City.
Subsequently, telephone directories were published, listing perhaps less
information than was available in the earlier years.
These microfilmed directories, accessible at various New York City
libraries, archives et al, can be a very valuable tool for the person
seeking to trace the movements of family members from the middle to late
1800s until the years 1933-1934. The name of the resident or head of
household is listed, surname first, the spouse's given name (in
parentheses), when applicable his or her occupation is given, then their
home address (when a head of household is listed, the letter "h"
precedes the address; the address of others, e.g. minors, is preceded by
an "r.") Sometimes a place of employment is listed. One shouldn't forget
the possibility that a person's place of business (or the person
themselves, if self-employed) may have placed a display advertisement in
these directories, so this might be something valuable to look for. When
a woman was widowed, the word "wid" appears next to the name, often with
the name of her deceased husband. If you look in earlier city
directories and find that this woman is married, you can then estimate
the year her husband passed away. Similarly, a person in one year's
directory listed individually may the next year be listed with a spouse.
This can allow you to estimate the year this person was married.
Often we try to find information about our family/ancestors by accessing
census records. When this search is limited or unsuccessful because we
do not know the family address, city and telephone directories can be
very useful, as a careful search may reveal the information needed. Even
apartment numbers are listed in the old city directories. Also, by
searching for a particular surname, you may discover others with that
same surname that you were previously unaware of.
CITY DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE
You can obtain some city directory
assistance by going to
http://userdb.rootsweb.com/citydir/ . There is no charge to
subscribe, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Then you can post a
CITY-DIRECTORIES-L@rootsweb.com . Ask for the help you need. Put
the name of the city in capital letters at the beginning of the
subject line, and then outline the rest of the subject, e.g. "NEW
YORK CITY - GOLDBERG - 1920 lookup request." Make your subject
heading clear and concise if you want to get more responses. List
the city, year(s), and surname you want information on. Many people
who might respond to your posting won't open messages that don't
state the names of the people you are looking for. This site is run
totally by volunteers.
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