four major sections.
Section 1 – Sponsors of the directory. In this section businesses pay for ads to make the publication of the directory possible. I have found key information about people I have been
researching, including photos of individuals and businesses where ancestors worked. I would highly recommend you take the time to study this section closely for clues about your ancestors or places of employment.
Section 2 – Residential listings (similar to white pages) City directories contain an alphabetical list of citizens, listing the names of the heads of households, their addresses, and
occupational information. They also often list the wife’s name and in some cases, older children still living at home.
Section 3 – Business listings (similar to yellow pages) Names, locations, phone numbers, business owners and employees are listed in this section of the city directory and can provide the researcher with key information regarding the occupations of their ancestors.
Section 4 – Street and avenue directory which is an alphabetical listing of each street and house numbers in the city and a listing of the head of each of those households. This is also known as a crisscross directory and can provide information about the neighbors and the neighborhood where our ancestors lived.
City directories can also include a miscellaneous section with government locations as well as schools and churches in the city.
Copies of city directories can be found online at sites such as ancestry.com, familysearch.org, Fold3, Google Books, and uscitydirectories.com. Copies are usually available at local libraries and local historical societies. Don’t underestimate the value of city directories as you
pursue your family history.