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  • Writer's pictureTheFormidableGenealogist

City Directories

Good resources for genealogy searches include the city directories for the location where your ancestor lived. These printed volumes contained the names and addresses of the residents, though usually only of larger towns and cities.


Sometimes they are overlooked as resources because, "I already know my ancestor lived there." Yes, these directories can tell you the address or intersection where your ancestors lived. They can also include employment information for the householder. And, I frequently use them to narrow down a person's date of death where no other mention of it can be found.


In the case of John Hagerty of St. Louis, I first estimated his death sometime between 1860 and 1870, because the first census included him with his family while the second did not. Beyond that, I could find no record of the death of that man. His name is common enough, and the range of his possible death big enough, that I might not be able to determine if an unspecific death or burial record during that span was him.


The residential directories of St. Louis are available starting in 1864. The 1867 edition is the first in which I find mention of Rebecca Hagerty, at which time she is noted as the widow of John. That John himself isn't listed as a household in any directory leads me to estimate that John died before the 1864 publication. Rebecca may have lived with her eldest son before the point at which she had her own entry in 1867.


Snippet from the 1867 city directory of St. Louis
Snippet from the 1867 city directory of St. Louis

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