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, 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.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celebrate Family History Month with

What a way to celebrate Family History Month! is bringing together their databases, Halloween, and Genealogy's Family History Month into one fantastic contest, (and appropriately named it!) the Death Records Contest.

It's so easy to enter, it's scary!  All you need is an email address.  You don't need to be a member to enter. (A full list of rules, terms, and conditions can be found here.) Whether it's a dark and stormy night or a fabulous Fall day, you can easily enter to win the following:

Prize Description / Approximate Retail Value / Deadline
  • Week 1 - $100 gift certificate ($100) October 16, 2012
  • Week 1- FTM, User Guide, & Advanced User Guide ($114) October 18, 2012
  • Week 1 - Bonus entry for Grand Prize October 21, 2012
  • Week 2 - USD year membership ($155) October 23, 2012
  • Week 2 - DNA test ($99) October 25, 2012
  • Week 2 - Bonus entry for Grand Prize October 28, 2012
  • Week 3 - $100 gift certificate ($100) - October 30, 2012
  • Week 3 - WE year membership ($299) November 1, 2012
  • Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad ($599) November 1, 2012
Today's entry consisted of the following clues which allow you to brush up on your researching skills.  In this case, you'd need to research the 1850 Mortality Schedules for Calaveras County, California.  These Schedules are often under utilized in genealogy research so this is a great way to practice exploring them.

Cadavers of Calaveras

Put on your white lab coat and prepare to save some lives. It’s the late 19th century and the new California State Board of Public Health is reviewing mortality schedules for each district in the state. As you look over your jurisdiction you notice something interesting about the town of Calaveras in Calaveras County in 1850. Assistant Marshall John W. Jones reported that "this district is remarkably healthy. And he was right – just two conditions were deemed responsible for the majority of the 60 deaths there that year. In your report back to the powers that be, you wisely suggest the district invest in privies and a sheriff as a way to save lives in the future. What were the top two causes of death in the town of Calaveras in 1850?
  1. Dysentery, shot
  2. Diarrhea, stabbed
  3. Plague, hanging
  4. Influenza, revenge
Good luck to anyone entering and enjoy the challenges as you learn about new resources!