Monday, October 29, 2012

Historic Poplar Bluff City Directories Online

For many years, patrons visiting the library have had the chance to browse through old city directories.  Now you can view the 1906 and 1908 city directories from home.

These are often an overlooked resource in genealogy research.  The early directories not only can they tell you where someone lived but usually include spouse's name (or indicate widow / widowed with "wid") and place of employment.

As the title page shows, the directory contains information for businesses, churches, street guide, city and county officials, and secret and benevolent societies.

The ads for prominent businesses are a fascinating snapshot of local history of a bygone era.  It makes one wonder which places family members living in or visiting Poplar Bluff at the time might have patronized.  Did they visit the store of A.J. Young for "Staple and Fancy Groceries" at the corner of 4th & Main Streets which also advertised "We Sell Sunflower Flour, The Best on Earth"?  Which bank might they have used? The Bank of Poplar Bluff, the Butler County Bank, or the State Bank of Poplar Bluff?  You're unlikely to find "Blacksmithing", "Harness", or "Wagon and Buggy" entries in the yellow pages today.

Use the links below to go straight to the directories.  These are in PDF format, so Adobe Reader is required to view them.  Depending on your Internet connection, it may take a couple minutes for the files to fully open for you since the files are approximately 5 megabytes each.

Click here to see the 1906 City Directory.
Click here to see the 1908 City Directory.

You may also find these by using the library's online catalog and performing a search for them, just like you would do for a physical item. While there, you can also see what other years of city directories are available for use but not yet online.

One last note, Ancestry.com does have an online collection of city directories from across the country but currently the only Poplar Bluff directories they have available are for the years of 1939, 1952, 1954, 1957, and 1960.

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