Originally published 7 January 2020
I’ve been guilty of neglecting City Directories but they really helped me in a quest last month. The couple was in the 1920 and 1930 Census but disappeared in 1940. They owned the house and the son had been living with them and was still in the house in the 1940 Census.
My first thought was to look at the Deeds, but then I thought I probably wouldn’t find out anything until the son sold the house. I saw the wife in an Ancestry search at the correct address with the correct spouse in the City Directories. I found her in 1933 and 1934, but a listing didn’t show up in the search for 1935. So I clicked on the right buttons and called up the 1935 City Directory, turned the electronic pages and there she was listed as “died Jan 1, 1935.”
I didn’t find a listing for the husband after 1937 so again I started looking in the 1938 City Directory and there he was, “died Nov 30, 1937.”
The other wonderful thing about the old City Directories is that in many cases they name the person’s profession — widow, barber, miner, ice cream maker, waiter…