Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spokane Library Genealogy Blog

City Directories
from Library Genealogy Blog by genealogy librarian

The genealogy Librarian recently was asked to find out who owned a certain property in Spokane in 1910. Her first thought was to go to the city directories, but these weren’t cross referenced by address until 1929. She knew the census would have the information but how was she supposed to find an address in the census?! She went back to the city directory and discovered that not only is there a listing for all Spokane Additions and their boundaries, there is an explanation of the five city wards in Spokane as well as their precincts. In 1910 there were sixty five precincts in Spokane, from Ada to Eve. The 1900 city directory also lists the wards and precincts in Spokane, but unfortunately the 1920 and 1930 do not. With the information from the 1910 directory she was able to find the owner of the property, searching about twenty pages of the census instead of the hundreds had she not known the ward and precinct. So if you know where your relative lived but can’t find the magic spelling to bring them up in the census, check the local city directory. You may discover a whole new search option at your fingertips.

This is a great tip, but before the 1910 census was indexed I made a map of the voting precincts and where to find them on the microfilm rolls of the 1910 census. Not all the precincts are put on the microfilm in alphabetical order. Notice she says the precincts are listed from Ada to Eve, in each ward they changed the first letter of the precinct names, Ada through Astor is Ward 1, Butler through Blake is Ward 2, Clay through Custer is Ward 3, Day through Dwight is Ward 4 and Earl through Eagle is Ward 5. The other fun thing that happened in Spokane during 1910 was a lot of Spokane streets were renamed, before that you could name the streets in your own development anything you wanted, and the neighboring development could name the streets in their development, so you could drive down a street and it might have three different names in the span of a dozen or more blocks. Notice the city changed the names in 1910, so on the census you can find people living right next door to each other with a different street name. The voting precincts are listed in the Spokane City Directories till about 1926 or 1927, I made a copy as I was assuming the 1930 census would again use the voting precincts, but they did not, so I downloaded the enumeration district boundaries from the internet and made a map for Spokane for 1930. That map is in the genealogy section of the library. So if your ancestor is not in the 1910 index check the actual census.

Some people saw I had a 1910 map of the precincts and street name changes and wanted a copy of that map, so I made a copy for the library and EWGS sells copies for $2.00 plus $3 postage and handling.

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