Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - City Directories

Hello everyone! I have been MIA for a wee bit trying to recover from a severe bout of bronchitis. Stopped me in my tracks for almost a month! Even caused breaking a rib from the excessive coughing. Not fun times had by this family historian!

While recovering I spent time researching one of our brick wall families. The Gaphardt line has given me moments of sheer frustration trying to determine everything from lineage to residency.

Even the name itself has been a tangled mess. On census records we have found the spelling Gaphardt, Gephardt, Gephart, and Gebhart.

Here are a few facts about my 2nd great grandfather, George Christopher :
  • 1850 census record George Christopher Gephardt, born around 1827 in Germany, arriving in the United States in 1849.
  • His occupation on census records, butcher.
  • On George's death certificate we find the surname spelled Gaphardt. 
With these facts in mind the goal was to locate the various spellings in the Baltimore City Directory. I must admit not using this tool to the fullest extent!

After many hours of research the Gephardt/Gaphardt quandary was solved!

1865 Baltimore City Directory - George C. Gaphardt, butcher, 17 n. Choptank

 1867 Baltimore City Directory - Geo. C. Gephardt, butcher, 17 n. Choptank

We discovered my ancestor using various surname spellings! With this knowledge I have located additional family connections in the directory pages.

Here are a few excellent resources discussing city directories:

City Directories by Cyndi's List

I have now become addicted to the pages of the Baltimore City Directory!


  1. Thanks for reminding the community of this valuable research tool.

  2. Kathleen,

    Thanks for the comment! I have been having so much fun discovering new ancestors and finding where the resided. What a wonderful resource.