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St. Louis City directories range from 1821 to 1980. The first St. Louis County directory was published in 1893 and the last in 1979. City directories were published sporadically before 1865 and then every year thereafter. The content of the directories varied from year to year.
A year-by-year search for ten to twenty years will reveal a variety of information. One year a middle name or initial may be included. Another year the spouse or widow may be listed. As the children in the household became young adults in the working world, they were added. Cemeteries, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, organizations, schools, etc., may be listed as a group in a different section of the directory.
When you locate an ancestor in a city directory, note the page number and the official name of the city directory for your documentation. The directory titles are often long. If you do not include the complete title, provide enough information to distinguish the volume you used.
R. L. Polk & Co. St. Louis County, Missouri, Which Embraces the Territory Immediately Surrounding the City of St. Louis: Contains Buyers Guide and a Complete Classified Business Directory. Taylor, Michigan: Polk, 1957.
Other types of directories provide the names of prominent St. Louisans and their businesses. For example, gazetteers are another source of information. There is a 1860 Missouri State Gazetteer & Business Directory that could be helpful if you are looking for a business in Missouri or a specific place.
Telephone books are available from 1912 to the current issue. Cross directories, which provide a list of residents by address, are also available.
Gould’s Red and Blue Books are also helpful in looking for St. Louis residents and business’s. The Blue Books run from 1883 to 1916 and the Gould’s Business Directories, Commercial Registers, and Red Books cover 1873 to 1929.
The Argus County Directory, 1903. Clayton: R. B. Crossman, 1903.
Barr & Widen Company’s Credit Guide for the Wholesale Trade. St. Louis: Barr & Widen Mercantile Agency Co., 1901. [Includes the name of merchants, manufacturers, and contractors in St. Louis, along with their credit rating. It also provides a list of individuals who owned real estate and the assessment value of their property.]
St. Louis Genealogical Society · #4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140 · St. Louis, MO 63143 · 314-647-8547