Have a Question?
< All Categories

Tip 14: Finding First Name of Spouses

One of the best ways to locate people in the 20th century after the censuses is to use City Directories. It does not always work, but it works often enough to keep me trying. I probably do it every day.
To do this, on Ancestry.com, click on Search at the top of the page, choose Card Catalog.
Then scroll down to this. See Directories in the middle. They keep moving this, so it took me a couple of minutes to find it.

Click on City Directories and put in the name of the person you are looking for. If it is a female you will have to use her married name.
Let’s suppose that for some silly reason you were stalking me. You would not know my age but you might guess. Be sure to put in a ten-year spread.
So you find someone with my name. But since you are stalking me, you would like to know the names of my husband and my children. So look at this.
So copy the zip code or the telephone number. Click on the link at the top where it says Public Record Index. I highlighted it with yellow because it is not obviously a link. Click on that and you will have an opportunity to search within that database. Put in the last name, and the address or the telephone number and search. Be sure to choose exact.
You will get a list of the addresses in the area where the person you are stalking.
Since you see my name with that of my husband in various places you might logically deduce he is my husband. Sometimes if the children are old enough, you will find one of them.
This is an excellent way to find spouses. And if there are two wives, it is a good way to find out who was the wife in a specific year. This also works in the US Public Records 1 and other databases which might have earlier years. There are several databases in that area of the City Directories I showed you.
June Byrne

Table of Contents