Databases · Local History and Genealogy · State Specific Research · Technology Tools · Websites

Internet Archive Hosts Outstanding Collection of City Directories, Yearbooks, and Gazetteers – Follow Friday

Dear Genealogists, I want you to add just one more item to your list of goals this year – Get to Know the City Directories, Yearbooks, and Gazetters on Internet Archive.

internet archiveI’ve been extolling the virtues of Internet Archive as a place where you can find great genealogy resources – most of which are searchable and can be read online and downloaded for free to your e-reader or tablet.  The preview area of each title allows for users to view each page in miniature, individually, or in a set of four.  You can also perform a keyword search, listen to a audio transcription of selected pages,  and share a link to your title via your favorite social media sites.

After perusing the Genealogy subject page on the Internet Archive website, you will see an ‘All Items’ link at the bottom right of the first paragraph.  This will take you to all recently added genealogy titles by date.  This is both advantage and a curse for items such as city directories yearbooks, and gazetteers, as there are multiple volumes and publishing years listed, but each entry may not be in numeric order on the site.

A straight keyword search for ‘city directory’ will glean nearly 5,000 items off the main page of the site.  If you search via the genealogy subject page, the result will be closer to 375. So in a pinch, try searching for items via the main search page.

Here are a few gems I picked out of the site:

The Annual Monitor or Obituary of the members of the Society of Friends in Great Britain and Ireland 1843-1912  – The Annual Monitor is a list of British Quakers who died each year, between 1812 and 1919, including well over 20,000 persons. Most entries include basic data: age at death, date of death, names of parents or spousal information. Some entries have a “memorial”, the equivalent of our modern obituaries,  citing biographical details and religious accolades.

topeka undertakerRadge’s Topeka city directory : Shawnee County Taxpayers and an Official List of the Post-Offices of Kansas – This series chronicles the history of Topeka and provides essential information such as a street and avenue guide, a look at local government office holders, church addresses, descriptions of clubs, social and fraternal organizations, addresses of residences and businesses, and a fantastic alphabetical death record which occurred during the previous year.

Michigan Rural Directories (1916-1919) – Rural directories are valuable sources of information, as a majority of our ancestors resided in non-urban areas until the middle of the 20th century.  Much of the same information found in city directories are available in Rural Drectories.  Rural directories are traditionally not printed as frequently, and emerge in some states a little before the 20th century.  Michigan’s Rural Director collection includes titles such as:

  • Kalamazoo County, Michigan, rural directory (1919)
  • Montcalm County, Michigan, rural directory (1917)
  • Ingham County, Michigan, rural directory (1916)
  • Jackson County, Michigan, rural directory (1918)
  • Eaton County, Michigan, rural directory (1916)

The Spectrum – North Central College Class Yearbooks 1912-1927 – I fell in love with the college yearbooks from this lovely historic college in Naperville.  The earliest title I could find was from 1912, and I spent a few hours going through these very comprehensive and lively accounts of student life.  This photo of the 1912 Women’s Basketball Team was particularly memorable.

spectrum 1912

There a ton of treasures I would love share with you, but my blog can only hold so much awesomeness in one sitting.  I would love to hear your Internet Archive success stories, so please post them on our blog!

See you at the Library!


One thought on “Internet Archive Hosts Outstanding Collection of City Directories, Yearbooks, and Gazetteers – Follow Friday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s