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Using City Directories to research your family history

posted: , by Gabrielle Daniello
tags: Genealogy

City directories provide a wealth of information that can help you with your family history research.  Published annually, they consist of alphabetical listings of residents, with their home address and, often, their occupation. Beginning in 1882 in Portland, Maine, they also include an alphabetical listing of streets along with the residents (heads of household) at each address.  The directories also list businesses, organizations, associations, the names and addresses of teachers, fire department officials, and various state, county, and city officials and administrators.

 

Here is a sample listing from 1920 and how to decode it:

Amburg Angus (Annice) stevedore h 152 Newbury

Angus Amburg and his wife Annice lived at 152 Newbury Street. Angus worked as a stevedore. They might have had children, but there is no other Amburg listed with the same address, so it is unlikely there were any adult male children living with them at the time. (Here is where you would have to consult other sources, such as the 1920 Census, for example, to flesh out the picture.)

 

A few notes of caution:

*Women were not listed in early directories, unless the woman was widowed or owned her own business.

*They may contain spelling or transcription errors.  For example, the 1920 directory shows that Fabbio Ciconi lived at 8 Newbury Street. The address listing for 8 Newbury, however, lists a Tabbio Cicome. Same man? Probably, but as with any research, you will want to keep your critical senses sharp.

*Many streets in Portland were renumbered in the 1870s.

*And, finally, listen to the tone of exasperation in the introduction to the 1895 edition, written by the publishers:  “Our canvassers meet with many obstacles.  Addresses that are right to-day are wrong to-morrow, and persons fail to report changes when made after they have been visited.  Persons whose judgment should teach them the folly of such a course are careless about giving information…”

 

That said, there is still an abundance of information to be had from the Directories. Be prepared to spend some time, though – they can be strangely addictive!

 

The Portland Room has Portland City Directories from 1823 to the present (with some missing years), as well as a few Directories for the islands and surrounding towns.


Startup Weekend

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Programs & Events
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This is a no talk, all action event!

People with new business ideas are invited to participate in this  Maine event called Startup Weekend on October 25-27th 2013. There are limited early bird tickets so go to http://portlandmaine.startupweekend.org/ for a schedule of the weekend activities as well as a way to get tickets in order to participate. Please sign up now since space is limited.

A Startup Weekend is unique because it brings together entrepreneurs, designers, developers and startup enthusiasts to participate in an intense 54-hours weekend to take new business ideas from concept to launch. Participants start at 5:30pm Friday night and work late into each night until they leave on Sunday night at 8:30pm. Nationally, 36 % of ideas developed during a Startup Weekend have developed into new businesses.

On Friday night, attendees will take the open mic to pitch their ideas to the group of up to 75 participants in 60-seconds or less. After groups form, the rest of the weekend will be spent developing business models around the most popular ideas with the help of mentors, coaches and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. By Sunday, teams will be ready to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges who will award prizes, including co-working space and memberships in mentorship programs, all of which are targeted to help teams build their startups after the weekend.

Individual volunteers from PelotonLabs, AIGA, Blackstone Accelerates Growth, Maine Center for Creativity, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Olympico Strategies, Portland Greendrinks, Portland Public Library, Rising Tide Consulting, Shines and Jecker laboratories, and SMCC are organizing this first local effort.

JOIN US!

 


USCIS – How Do I Guides

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Government
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Have you heard about the USCIS “How Do I” guides series? These guides answer general questions regarding immigration benefits and are currently available in English, Spanish, and Chinese

Choose from the following topics:

The USCIS invites any feedback on how to improve the guides. To share feedback visit the USCIS Idea Community.

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