Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ANATOMY OF A CITY DIRECTORY


In order to better understand the incredible variety of information a city directory can offer, I took a closer look at the St. Louis City Directory for 1891. Directories for numerous cities including St. Louis are available in the Ancestry.com and Fold3.com reference databases. Directories are searchable by name or keywords, or can be browsed by year. 

Note: Image numbers provided are those used in the Ancestry.com version of this directory.

The 1891 St. Louis City Directory includes a General Index (image 15) and an Index to Advertisers (images 15-16). The Index of Advertisers can be helpful for persons looking for display ads that cam include illustrations of company buildings and/or products. An Index to Business Headings (images 17-20) provides listings for types of businesses such as cooper, tailor, etc.


Additions, Alterations, and Corrections (images 21-22) notes changes to listings made shortly before press time.

Ward Boundaries (images 22-23) and a Street and Avenue Directory (images 23-46) can be useful for persons using the federal census, or for those researching a particular street or neighborhood. Over the years we have helped a number of writers of fiction make use of city directories to add verisimilitude to a work in progress.

The alphabetical listings cover employed adults, and provide name, occupation, and residential address. A list of abbreviations used in this section is provided (image 46). Widows are also listed (whether or not employed), with first name of the deceased spouse generally provided. Listings for women in 19th century records can be invaluable sources for genealogists (especially in the decade following 1890, because that federal census was destroyed and nearly all its information lost to future historians and genealogists).

People looking for information on city offices and officeholders can consult City Government (images 916-920). There are also listings for Public Parks (image 942) and Libraries (images 939-940). There are similar listings for state and federal government (images 920-921), officers of the National Guard and Regular Army stationed in St. Louis (images 920-921), and for Courts at all jurisdictions (image 920). Also included are listings for Foreign Consuls in St. Louis (image 921).

People interested in medicine and public health can consult the classified listings for doctors (images 868-871), dentists (images 808-809), druggists (images 810-811), and midwives (images 855-856). There are also listings for Hospitals & Dispensaries (image 925) and Medical Colleges (image 855).

People interested in transportation alternatives can consult Street Railways (image 923), Railroads (images 923-924), and Steamboats (image 924).

People researching education in St. Louis can consult the listings for Academies, Schools, and Colleges (images 940-957).

Of special interest to our genealogists will be listings for Asylums, Convents, Etc. (images 924-925), Cemeteries (image 925), Churches (images 925-928), Societies (images 928-939), Undertakers (image 906) and Embalmers (image 815).

HISTORIC CEMETERIES

Our Fine Arts Department is thrilled to begin the second half of their lecture series, "Architecture Around the World", in September. This series is a partnership between the St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and the Steedman Architectural Library of SLPL.

First up will be Amanda Burke of the Missouri State Preservation Office speaking on "Historic Cemeteries: Maintenance, Documentation, Restoration, and Funding". It will be held on Tuesday, September 27. The Steedman Room will be open for viewing starting at 6 p.m.; the talk will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Historic Cemeteries talk poster

NOTE: Because of the Fantasy Maps exhibit in our Carnegie Room, this talk will be held in the "Training Room", a room that located on the same (second) floor as the Steedman Room and Fine Arts Dept.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

DPLA PRIMARY SOURCE SETS

While Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop critical thinking skills by exploring topics in history, literature, and culture via primary sources, I think they will prove useful for anyone beginning to explore a covered topic. Materials are drawn from the online exhibits of libraries, archives, and museums across the United States, and can include letters, photographs, posters, oral histories, video clips, sheet music, and more. Each set includes a topic overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide with discussion questions and classroom activities.

I took a closer look at the U.S. History category. Numerous topics are included that may interest genealogists, among them:
  • Full Steam Ahead: the Steam Engine and Transportation in the 19th Century
  • The Great Migration (1910-1930)
  • The Homestead Acts
  • The Underground Railroad and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
  • The War of 1812
  • The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878
  • Women in the Civil War
  • World War I: America Heads to War
  • World War II: Women on the Homefront

Additional Primary Source Sets cover:
  • World History
  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • Latino Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Migration
  • Women

Information of this sort can prove very useful as we try to solve research roadblocks, or flesh out a dry-as-dust family history. Take a look!




HAPPY DAYS

Ancestry.com includes many data collections of interest to genealogists. One that is likely to interest many of our genealogists is Happy Days, the official newspaper of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

The CCC was created by Congress in 1933. It provided jobs for unemployed, single men (most 17-25 years of age). These men worked on conservation projects like road and trail building, tree and shrub planting, erosion control, and also responded to natural disasters like floods and forest fires. By time the program ended in 1942, the CCC had established work camps in every state, and provided employment for 3 million young American men (and 8,500 young American women, who toiled in camps known by their slang name, "She-She-She" camps).

Sign for CCC companies in the Badlands

Happy Days was a privately owned newspaper that was available for purchase in CCC camps, or could be mailed to the folks back home. It cost 3 cents per week if purchased in a camp exchange, 5 cents per week if mailed back home. This Ancestry.com record set includes weekly issues from 1933 through 1940. It is browsable only (not indexed at this time).

Happy Days was intended to serve as a source of information and entertainment for CCC enrollees. Each issue included articles on camp work projects and accomplishments, camp leisure activities like sports, involvement of CCC enrollees in disaster relief, and hanges in the CCC administration and higher-level personnel. Each issue also included editorials and a few advertisements.

Each issue also includes black and white photos, illustrations, and several cartoons drawn by staff artists. The photos can picture camp buildings, recruits engaged in camp work projects and leisure activities, and CCC officials and higher-level personnel. Photos of individuals are generally labeled; group shots are generally not labeled. Photos are generally fairly good quality, although contrast can be poor at times.

Monday, September 12, 2016

COLLAGE OF CAPE COUNTY

Our genealogy collection concentrates on the State of Missouri, and states and countries that furnished large numbers of migrants to Missouri. As part of that research focus, we collect printed genealogical materials for various Missouri counties, including family histories, record compilations, county and local histories, and publications of county genealogical and historical societies.

One newsletter we receive is Collage of Cape County (Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society). This quarterly newsletter originates from the society’s headquarters in Jackson, Missouri. Newsletters are sixteen pages long (fifteen pages of content and one page for mailing info). Contents generally consist of family stories, transcriptions of county records, plus a list of recent society acquisitions and an index for the issue at hand.

Issues of this newsletter for 2011-present are available in the Genealogy Room. Our collection also includes several Cape Girardeau County histories and record compilations, which you can locate by searching our Catalog for these terms (case does not matter):

cape girardeau county missouri genealogy
cape girardeau county missouri history

CCHS MUSEUM NEWSLETTER

Our genealogy collection concentrates on the State of Missouri, and states and countries that furnished large numbers of migrants to Missouri. As part of that research focus, we collect printed genealogical materials for various Missouri counties, including family histories, record compilations, county and local histories, and publications of county historical and genealogical societies.

One newsletter we receive is CCHS Museum Newsletter (Chariton County Historical Society). This quarterly newsletter originates from the society’s museum in Salisbury, Missouri. Newsletters are ten pages long (nine pages of content and one page for mailing info). Contents generally consist of transcriptions of newspaper articles, short articles about Chariton County history, plus a list of society acquisitions and pubications.

Issues of the newsletter for 2012-present are available in the Genealogy Room. Our collection also includes several Chariton County histories and record compilations, which you can locate by searching our Catalog for these terms (case does not matter):

chariton county missouri genealogy
chariton county missouri history

AUDRAIN COUNTY AREA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

Our genealogy collection concentrates on the State of Missouri, and states and countries that furnished large numbers of migrants to Missouri. As part of that research focus, we collect printed genealogical materials for various Missouri counties, including family histories, record compilations, county and local histories, and publications of county historical and genealogical societies.

One newsletter we receive is Audrain County Area Genealogical Society Newsletter. This quarterly newsletter originates from society headquarters in Mexico, Missouri. Newsletters are eight pages long (seven pages of content and one page for mailing info). Contents generally consist of material reprinted from local newspapers, but can also include queries plus info about society meetings, events, officers, new members, and deaths of long-time members.

Issues of the newsletter for 2007-present are available in the Genealogy Room. Our collection also includes several Audrain County histories and record compilations, which you can locate by searching our Catalog for these terms (case does not matter):

audrain county missouri genealogy
audrain county missouri history

Thursday, September 1, 2016

FREE GENEALOGY CONFERENCE!

That's right, folks--this upcoming conference is free (including lunch!). They would not refuse a generous donation from you, but that will be a matter for you and your conscience to sort out. Now, I am one of the presenters, so of course this will be a quality affair...

ANCESTRY.COM FREE WEEKEND

Access to occupation records on Ancestry.com will be free now until September 5, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET (they do require registration for a free temporary Ancestry account). After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the occupation records using an Ancestry paid membership. You may view a full list of occupation records via the search page (they’re including federal and state censuses in the list!).



Remember, you can access Ancestry Library Edition for free any time at Central Library or any of our branches!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ANCESTRY.COM SPOTLIGHT: U.S. NAVY SUPPORT BOOKS, 1901-1902, 1917-2010

Navy support books are "yearbooks" for naval units based on land rather than onboard ship. For example, this collection includes books for the U.S. Navy Preparatory School, Navy ROTC programs at various colleges and universities, U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School, U.S. Naval Training Centers, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, mobile construction battalions, recruiting depots, naval air stations, and others.

Content of support books varies. Some contain labeled individual head shots or group photos of unit members, while others contain only candid (unlabeled) photographs of unit members at work and play. Some contain photos documenting significant events in the history of that naval unit, and most include short biographies of prominent currently-serving officers. Photos are sometimes color, sometimes black and white (sometimes both types in one support book). A majority of these books date from World War II era forward.

It is possible to search or browse these books. The following searches are possible:

  • First & Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Keyword
  • Year (covered by Support Book)
  • School, Station, or Unit

You can also browse by:

  • Location (state or territory)
  • City
  • Year (covered by Support Book)


I browsed through a Support Book for the Parris Island Recruit Depot (South Carolina), 1973. This 128 page item includes a photo and bio sketch of the commanding officer, an historical sketch of Parris Island, and a photo essay (in color) concerning the training of Marine Second Battalion, Platoon 226. This unit began training on 19 March 1973, and graduated on 5 June 1973. The photo essay begins with the arrival of these recruits at Parris Island, and ends with their graduation ceremony. These photos are not labeled, but are generally sharp and clear, so that it would be fairly easy to identify recruits of interest. Next are labeled black and white head shots of training officers and enlisted men, followed by labeled head shots of graduating recruits.