City Directories Are A Genealogical Gem
In the late 1960s, I was bought a book. Buying a book as a gift for me is nothing unusual, as books have always been my love. But this was a very different one. It was a copy of the 1894 Saint John City Directory. This directory was my introduction into city directories. And I have been collecting ever since.
I love city directories and usually they are one of the first books I will reach for when searching a family in Saint John. They have oodles of genealogical information.
City Directories are made up of an alphabetical listing of the names of people who were working in Saint John in any given year and will usually include the "Head of the Household." Businesses and their Advertisements are also listed. The street directory is at the end of the book, and this appears to list the Head of the Household. Check the beginning pages of each directory to determine what this particular directory contains.
Here are some names from page 245 of the 1915 -1916 Saint John City Directory:
Cusack Cedric J, painter C McDade, bds 33 Marsh Rd
Cusack Edward, bds 202 Waterloo
Cusick Fred., eng Partington Pulp & Paper, h(ome) Havelock,w e
Cusack George, grocer 29-33 Marsh Rd, h do
Cusack Harold, butcher Geo Cusack, bds 33 Marsh Rd
Cusack John J, clerk Geo Cusack, bds 33 Marsh Rd
Cusack John, laborer, h 25 Winslow, w e
Cusack M Stephen, glass blower M A Wks, bds 202 Waterloo
Cusack Mariner, emp AM Steam Laundry, bds 66 Metcalf
Cusack Mary A, wid Edward J, h 202 Waterloo
Looking at the names on this page, the following information can be found.
1) George Cusack has a Grocery Business at 29-33 Marsh Rd. The "h" means home and the "do" means same place. Since there is a "do" after "h", when it names the business "grocer", we also know he has his store and home at the same address, on the Marsh Rd. He has a business so maybe I can find an advertisement in this Directory or in another one.
2) Since there are three males - Cedric J. Cusack employed as a painter for C. McDade, Harold Cusack, employed as a butcher for George Cusack and John J. Cusack, employed as a clerk for George Cusack all boarding at 33 Marsh Rd. and we know 33 Marsh Rd is home (h) of George Cusack we could assume that they might be the sons or relatives of George Cusack.
3) By checking the street directory page 867, we find that 33 [29-33] Marsh Rd. is occupied by George Cusack. We also see that it is almost on the corner of Short Street.
4) Since we know from family stories that this Cusack Family lived near the Marsh Bridge, we now, probably, have the names of three of their children.
5) On 202 Waterloo Street is the family of Mary A. Cusack widow of Edward J. Cusack. Boarding with her are Edward Cusack and M. Stephen Cusack.
6) On Havelock Street on the west side (w e) there is the home of Fred Cusick, who is employed as an eng. at Partington Pulp & Paper.
7) At 25 Winslow Street is the home of John Cusack, who is a labourer.
8) Mariner Cusack, who is employed at AM Steam Laundry boards at 66 Metcalf Street. If we look in the Street Directory for 66 Metcalf Street, we find that it appears to be a two tenement house with the head of the households being; Mrs. Deborah McBeth or William Henderson.
Upon checking City Directories, we were able to establish the approximate time of death of George Cusack, as Elizabeth Cusack was listed as widow of George Cusack and residing at 33 Marsh Rd. in 1920. We now can work backwards or forwards with the city directories. In all probability, we will be able to follow the places of employment of the family members as well as the addresses for their residences.
A little hint: When using city directories, always check the street directory section to see who else lives at that street address. Many a time it has been the key that opened a door for me. The abbreviation "bds" (boards) is also worth watching for.
Saint John City Directories for the years 1863, 1864, as well as the years 1869 to 1982 are on microfilm at the library as is the Business Directory for 1859. You will also find some of the books on the shelves.
The Library & Archives of the New Brunswick Museum on Douglas Avenue has copies of all volumes of the Saint John City Directories on their shelves.
There were at least four publications of Provincial Directories for the Province of New Brunswick; 1865, 1871, 1896 and 1904
August, 2000: Copies of Provincial Directories - Hutchinson Directories 1865 - 1868 and Lovell Directory 1871 are on a searchable database at the PANB website http://archives.gnb.ca/Archives/EN/default.aspx
Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998
Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at firstname.lastname@example.org. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.
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