Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker…

The 1890 U.S. population census can be a real problem for genealogists, given that 99.9% of it was destroyed in a fire in 1921. For most researchers, that means a 20-year gap between the 1880 census and the next available census (1900). Filling in that gap generally means making use of “substitute” records—that is, other records of genealogical value that can provide some of the information that would have been provided by the missing census.

One such record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) is:

St. Louis, Missouri Directories, 1890

It is actually a transcription of the St. Louis city directories for 1889 and 1890, and includes the names of over 330,800 people, most of them employed adults. You can search for particular persons, naturally, but you can also do general searches for persons working in particular occupations:

SEARCH—OCCUPATION barber 1,187 hits

Note: It doesn’t seem to matter whether you use quotation marks or mark it Exact; I got the same results regardless while doing these occupation searches.

I got the following results for the following occupations:

    artist 135 hits
    baker 927 hits
    carpenter 4,752 hits
    dairy 343 hits
    driver 3,425 hits
    fireman 1,054 hits
    jockey 3 hits
    midwife 279 hits
    nurse 102 hits
    physician 712 hits
    police 642 hits
    restaurant 149 hits
    saloon 1,132 hits
    teacher 1,377 hits

While the utility of these occupation searches for genealogists may be limited, they should prove valuable for students and local historians.

You can also do a Keyword search for widow (12,730 hits).

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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