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Showing posts from October, 2014

Exploring Chicago City Directories on Ancestry.com

Fold3 has been my go-to place for Chicago city directories (free access at the local Family History Center) but many of them are available on Ancestry.com , too--good news for those of us with a subscription. In this blog post I'll tell you how to find the directories on Ancestry, share what I've learned about browsing and searching them, and compare availability between the two websites. How to find the Chicago directories on Ancestry The Chicago directories are part of an extensive collection of   U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 .  If you click Ancestry's "Search" tab, you can find a collection link on the right under Schools, Directories and Church Histories . Add the directories to your Quick Links using this URL: http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2469 Browsing the Chicago directories To help me explore the directories, I offered a search to the first person to post a request on the Chicago Genealogy Facebook page  and so my task was thi

The Chicago Fire: The Smith Family's Experience

902 Prairie Ave with Cupola that Offered View of the Fire Earlier today, a member of the Chicago Genealogy Facebook group asked if anyone had ancestors who were in Chicago at the time of the Great Fire. I immediately raised my hand. "I do! I do!" Well, actually, I don't. But my husband does and so it feels like I do. His great-great grandfather, James Ayer Smith , a manufacturing hatter and furrier, was in the city from 1835 until his death in 1875. In 1871, he was living at 902 Prairie Avenue. We have a copy of a short unpublished family history (three typed legal-size pages) "The James A. Smith Family in Chicago," obtained from the Chicago History Museum some years ago that mentions the Fire in a couple of places and I promised the Facebook group that I would share. A blog post seems like a good way to do that. There's no author listed but a note says that it was "Compiled from memoranda of [large blank space]  Smith and W. W. Smith"