I Love Ancestry’s Expanded, Updated City Directories

Last week, Ancestry.com updated and repackaged its U.S. Directories and U.S. Public information databases.  These are now all a part of Ancestry’s “1940 Census Substitute.”   Part of the upgrade was acquisition of  what Ancestry VP for Content Gary Gibb called ” a huge collection of city directories.”   I was excited about this from the outset.  I’ve long understood the value of city directories and have been disappointed to see so few available online resources of this sort.  Ancestry.com’s prior entry in that beauty contest was not all that attractive.

As soon as I read the announcement last week, I went to the  U.S. City Directories Database to see what was new.   Ancestry made me very happy with a truly expanded set of city directories, covering more years and more cities than ever before.  In just a few minutes, I had evidence of the following matters that I had not know before:

  • My great-grandparents, Otis and Bettie Manson, moved to San Angelo, Texas, with several of their children, before they settled in Midland in about 1947.
  • My grandfather, Quentin Manson, worked as a longshoreman in Houston in the late 1930’s.
  • My great-grandfather, Richard William Gines, most likely died before 1936, since his wife Sylvia, is listed in the 1936 Shreveport city directory as living along in the family house at 1540 Ashton street.

I was able to identify a number of my Brayboy cousins and ascertain their occupations and addresses during the period 1935-1945.  I came away from this surf-session thoroughly happy.  I can’t wait for the further refinement of the individual databases that  make up the “1940 Census Substitute.”


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March 2009
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