How Can City Directories Help Genealogy Research?

William Franklin Linton standing in front of his grocery store about 1899.

 

City directories are a marvelous source of genealogy information.  Not only do they list who lives in a particular city, and their residential address, but it lists their place of work and that address as well!  I have used city directories in several instances, not only to prove where people lived, but to prove they weren’t living in a particular city.

The following examples are from Louisville, Kentucky.  This was research complied for my dear friend Richard Linton about ten years ago.

The Linton’s listed below are the grandsons of Moses Linton and Nancy Pead.  Moses was the son of Captain John Linton and Ann Mason, and came to Kentucky a few years before his father made the move from Loudoun County, Virginia, to Washington County, in 1818.  Moses moved to neighboring Nelson County, but later in life moved back to Washington County, although his children remained in Nelson and raised their families.  In the book I’m reading on Frankfort, Kentucky, they spoke about how the Depression of 1893 hit the state hard.  Perhaps these men who had worked as farmers for years, with their fathers, felt a new location and a different job would help them support their families.

The cast of characters:  William Yerby Linton, Moses Fillmore Linton and Benjamin Clark Linton – all sons of Moses Linton and Nancy Pead.  Those who moved to Louisville, Kentucky:

  • James Monreo Linton – son of William Yerby Linton
  • William Franklin Linton, John Kennedy Linton, Joseph F. Linton – sons of Moses Fillmore Linton.
  • James Fenton Linton – son of Benjamin Clark Linton

Now let’s see how jobs and home addresses change throughout this six year period.

1894 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. and James Fenton Linton), grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • James Fenton Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 226 7th
  • James Kennedy Linton, packer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 511 22nd
  • James Monroe Linton, engineer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 226 7th
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 2401 Slevin

1895 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. Linton) grocers, 1324 W. Broadway
  • John Kennedy Linton, packer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2401 Slevin
  • Joseph Fenton Linton (J. F. and J. M. Linton), grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • Joseph Fenton and James Monroe Linton (J.F. & J. M. Linton) grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • James Monroe Linton (J. F. and J. M. Linton) business 2401 Slevin
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 1324 W. Broadway

1898 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. Linton) grocers, 1324 W. Broadway
  • James Monroe Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove, residence 1816 Todd
  • John Kennedy Linton, porter, Robinson-Pettet Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, driver, Bridge-McDowell Company, residence 2828 Cleveland Avenue
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 1324 W. Broadway

1899 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • James M. Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2136 Duncan
  • John Kennedy Linton, porter, Robinson-Pettet Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, grocer, 1628 W. Madison
  • William F. Linton, grocer, 1324 W. Broadway

1900 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • James M. Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2136 Duncan
  • John Kennedy Linton, packer, Carter Dry Goods Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, clerk, W. F. Linton, residence 1851 Lytle
  • William F. Linton, grocer, residence 1322 W. Broadway

4 thoughts on “How Can City Directories Help Genealogy Research?”

  1. Phyllis, I think the Linton Brothers were William F (Uncle Bill). and Joseph F. (Uncle Fenton) rather than James F. James F. was not my grandfather’s brother. My mother boarded with Uncle Fenton and Aunt Annie when she worked in Louisville before her marriage. She talked about Uncle Bill, Uncle Fenton and Uncle John a lot. Fenton and John married sisters, Annie and Janie McCarthy, first generation Americans. She adored Aunt Annie and her humor. She said when she was tickled, she would get on the floor and roll with laughter. She also said Aunt Annie had her father’s Irish shillelagh hanging on the wall. I can remember visiting Aunt Annie when I was little and we visited her daughter, Jen, and husband, Elmer Patton, later on.

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s