Put Your Family in its Place

Put Your Family in its Place

You want to walk in your relatives’ footsteps this summer. See the places they lived. Go where they went. But how do you find where those were? In the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine, Fern Glazer suggests the following resources to help you pinpoint the places your family frequented.Censuses:...

You want to walk in your relatives’ footsteps this summer. See the places they lived. Go where they went. But how do you find where those were? In the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine, Fern Glazer suggests the following resources to help you pinpoint the places your family frequented.

Censuses: These enumerations provide a snapshot of a family, including the names, ages and occupations of household members, relationships among them and immigration information. The city and county are at the top of each page; the address is on the left. Look at every census during your relative’s lifespan.

City directories: Most American cities (and some rural areas) published directories annually or biannually beginning in the mid-1800s. These alphabetical listings of residents include names, street addresses and occupations.

Some directories include addresses for businesses and public buildings, maps and advertisements. Ads may provide clues about family businesses and details about the neighborhood. To locate city directories for your family’s area, visit USCityDirectories.com. Your local library probably has directories for your city. Some large libraries have other towns’ directories; if yours doesn’t, you may be able to borrow them on microfilm through interlibrary loan.

Telephone directories: If you want to find a person or place in more-modern times—say, in the years after the telephone was invented—you might have luck consulting the phone book. Or search US and international listings, including yellow pages, e-mail directories and fax listings, by name, address, phone number or ZIP code at Infobel.

See the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine for more trip-planning advice, including how to map ancestral addresses and create an itinerary even your grumpy brother-in-law can appreciate.

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