Directories are much like today’s telephone books except that they offer a better panorama or “bird’s-eye view” into the makeup of a community or an organization during a particular time period. They offer an abundance of terrific clues and research tips about finding people from the past. Much of this information cannot be found elsewhere. While city directories are a popular tool for finding urban ancestors, researchers should keep in mind that there are farm directories geared toward the rural population. Like city directories, their purpose was to be a tool for businessmen. Not only do farm directories provide valuable family information—especially for those years in between the federal censuses—they also offer a kind of “snapshot” of life on the family farm. Depending on the publisher, you may find various types of information in a farm or rural directory. There were several publishers of these directories, and in today’s blog,...
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