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Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County
Serving Jefferson County, Ohio Since 1899
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City Records

For urban areas, city directories can be wonderful resources. These directories predated telephones and telephone books, and listed individuals’ last and first names (generally only heads of household and, possibly, adult children in the work force), street address, and occupation. These directories can help locate potential churches for baptisms and churches/synagogues for marriages and burials using knowledge of specific ancestors’ street addresses. In some cases, knowledge of the name of a specific priest/minister/rabbi on a civil marriage record can lead, through the directory, to the church or synagogue where the marriage took place so that its records can be searched. Other relatives can be found in city directories (living at the same address, perhaps, or nearby), so that the search can be extended. Many city directories were published up through the middle of the 20th century, even when already supplanted by telephone directories. City directories can be found in microfilm or microfiche, and sometimes as the original document. The Ohio Room Collections City Directories are the Steubenville City Directories 1850-Present.

Other official records, such as land, tax, and court records, can also be searched. Unlike the records described above, they require more investment of personal effort on the part of the researcher to learn where the records are kept, in what form, and how to use them.

It bears repeating that all records are prone to error. Family names are misspelled, sometimes so badly that only experience will alert the researcher that yes, indeed, a particular record is of interest. Given names will change between birth and adulthood, addresses can be scrambled, important dates will be garbled, and crucial information will be illegible or entirely missing. That is the common, everyday experience of the genealogical researcher, and strategies for cross-checking with other records sources is usually the best way to unravel the errors.