Genealogists know that city directories are not simply phone books, rather that these resources were created for businesses to get access to customers and vice versa. They are genealogy gold ready to be mined! Ralph L. Polk, the most widely known publisher, began his business with 1872 Evansville, IN directory, listing the names and addresses of all residents of the town. Early Polk directories included a variety of information useful to genealogists including county courts, stage lines, steamboat companies, count residents on rural routes, and other detailed information on the locality.
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Several months ago, a friend from Florence, Missouri, asked if I knew about the deaths of three women in the United Church of Christ Cemetery. All three had been married but died as young wives. She wondered if I knew their stories. I knew one, and immediately went to work on the other two. May their stories never been forgotten.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved postcards. I think my ancestors instilled in me a desire to travel and in previous centuries getting a postcard in the mail allowed one to get a glimpse of that faraway place. I have a collection of cards sent to other family members as well. When my grandmother Roma died, we found hundreds of postcards in her farmhouse. Recently I have been examining my collection for a new project and I have found several great genealogy nuggets! This one titled, “A Carload of Cucumbers.” For the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Oct 2-8  is one of my favorites.
July 6th is the 111th anniversary of the birth of Roma Clara Josephine Rasa, my maternal grandmother. She was born in Florence, Missouri to Fred H. and Lena (Tieman) Rasa. At her birth her family lived on the main street of the Florence community not far from the crossroads were two stores and the town bank would stand. She would spend her entire life in that community becoming mother, grandmother, neighbor, friend, confidant, Quilting Grannie, local historian and remarkable cook.
2019 was a great year for me. It seemed fast and furious with sixteen preservation projects including cemeteries, downtown districts, schools, apartments, banks and business houses. I get excited when I see the history of a place come alive and it helps me to imagine what life was like on this street, in this building or even this cemetery in an era often vastly different from my own.