An email from a rootsweb county list arrived yesterday telling me that a new database had been put online for one of my counties. I perked up thinking I might find more information about my relatives in that county, but when I read further I realized that the information didn’t apply to my family.
And then this little light began blinking in my head and a thought popped up: “You haven’t searched for Henry at digitalshoebox.org for a while.” I eagerly embraced the thought instead of putting it out of my mind. "Oh, I haven’t!” And I opened a new tab in my browser and rushed right over to the site.
I found DigitalShoebox.org a year or so ago. It has virtual images of books and city directories for eastern Ohio counties. Then it seemed difficult to use. This time it was easier. I typed “Meinzen” into the search box in the corner and in seconds - maybe only 2 seconds - up popped 15 sources for Meinzen. Voila. The same sources I’d searched before. But no! Wait! Those DigitalShoebox people just keep working hard and there were two new (new to me, at least) Steubenville city directories that weren’t there before: 1871 and 1904-05.
The excitement was not that Henry was in them - because I knew he would be. I was excited because 1871 was earlier than any other sources I have except the 1870 census and his 1868 naturalization documents. Finding 1871 gives me hope that I might find an 1870, and then an 1868, and then an 1867 directory, which may - may!- help lead me back to Henry’s first years in the U.S. and eventually to his hometown and his parents. (Isn't that where we all want to go - back to the next parents?) I was also excited to see that his trade was listed as carpenter. (We have no family lore about him being a carpenter, so this was another source for this information.)
Am I crazy? Does anyone else do these spur of the moment searches? Please tell me I’m not crazy!
Here's Henry in Palmer’s Steubenville Directory, for 1871, p. 95
I have information from the 1906-07 directory, but it's fun to see who's moved away, or who's grown old enough to be listed in each subsequent volume.
And now, I really am going to put Henry to rest for a while. (Unless, of course, . . . .)
Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier.