Thursday, April 12, 2012

City Directories - Citations

During the 1940 Census Preparation, I found that the use of City Directories were very helpful. But, how to cite them using the Family Tree Maker Template Feature.

Here is the City Directory (Beta) version that came with a Web Search.

It had the Street address, occupation, place of employment for the person in question.

First, go to the Sources Workspace, select the Add ICON and that will bring up a window where you can select a New Source.

The next window will present a window where you can enter a Keyword (or the first 3 characters of what you have in your hands). In this case, there weren't any Keyword results for City Directory. So, I selected More, and did some choosing.

The best selection is Publication - Books, CDs, Maps, Leaflets & Videos. With the two pull down menus, I selected Categories of Image Copies, and Online Publications. That described what I was presented from

Looking at the Top of the Image, I was able to fill in the fields in the Template form.

The Prompts pointed me to Polk & Co', for the "Surname" field, and R. I. for Given Name.

I filled in what information that was provided.

Linking the Citation to the Fact, the Citation looks like this.

Citation Detail:

West Chester, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930-31, p. 98

Citation Text:

Record for Jacob Finley

The resulting Reference Note is:

R. L. Polk & Co's, West Chester, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930 (1930-31), West Chester, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930-31, p. 98. Record for Jacob Finkey; digital image, (

Just to check what the EndNote looks like, I ran a report to see the EndNote:

That is in the format, as I understand it, based on Evidence Explained!

Please visit Elizabeth Shown Mill's website:

Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington


  1. However, you found it in the city directory collection, not in a book on a shelf at a local library.

    You probably should cite the source where you found it. Add that one - it's great practice!

  2. Randy,

    You may not be able to see the "fine print" but it's there.

    R. L. Polk & Co's, West Chester, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930 (1930-31), West Chester, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1930-31, p. 98; digital image, (

    Not only that, the image is linked to the Citation and when you look at the Citation, because I did a Web merge, there is a link to the image in the lower right corner, under the Reference Note that says View Online.

    What am I missing?

    Thank you,


  3. Russ,
    A couple of points R. L Polk & Co. are not the compilers and or authors. If you go to image 4 you will see the title page there is not an author/compiler listed so this block should be empty.

    The title of the Directory is Polk's West Chester, Pennsylvania, Directory, 1930-31 " the directory was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by R. L. Polk & Co., with a copyright of 1930.

    There are two ways you can cite the directory one by emphasizing the directory the other by emphasizing the database where you found it.

    Emphasizing the dictory would be as follows:

    Polk's West Chester, Pennsylvania, Directory,1930-31 (Philadelphia,Pennsylvania: R. L. Polk & Co., 1930), p. 98, entry for "Finkey, Jacob"; digital image, ( : accessed 13 April 2012)

    Emphasizing the database would look like this:

    U. S. City Directories (Beta), digital image, ( : accessed 13 April 2012), entry for "Finkley, Jacob"; citing Polk's West Chester, Pennsylvania, Directory, 1930-31 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: R. L. Polk & Co.,1930), p. 98.

    Note: Polk's West Chester, Pennsylvania, Directory, 1930-31 and should be in italics.

    Ann Gilchrest

  4. Ann,

    The problem is, that there is NO, existing Template for this type of record. I was NOT hand creating the Citation, but using a template that was close to what I was looking at.

    The folks the developed these templates are looking into this specific issue.

    Thank you for your comments.


  5. Ann,

    Sorry, I forgot to mention this. You said, and are correct:

    "author/compiler listed so this block should be empty."

    BUT the template form, currently in FTM2012, will NOT allow you to leave that field empty.

    Thank you,


  6. Russ,

    How about putting "Complier not named"in the author block then you wouldn't be miss leading someone in your citation?


  7. Ann,

    I sent feedback, through the Help menu, to the developers about this issue (No Template for an Ancestry City Directory). They are looking at this and will create an appropriate template for use to use.

    For now, I will use this as my workaround.

    I want to be able to find this, when we get a new template for these items.

    I agree that it's not right, and will fix this when we get an updated / new template.

    I do thank you for bringing this to my attention.


  8. After reading the prior comments, and acknowledging that there is not a good template for a city directory and using Russ' offering as a base

    -I added the Ancestry source info " U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011." in the co-author field and ended with a Reference note that looks like:

    R.L. Polk & Co's, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011., Superior, Wisconsin, City Directory (1902), p. 282. Record for Oliver Pierce; digital image, (

    Again, not perfect but it does now include the reference to the directory itself and to the Ancestry database.

    1. Anonymous,

      I am going to re-visit this topic in a couple of days, based on the comments here.

      Thank you,


  9. I visited the Camden County Historical Society and they made me photocopies of several pages from the Polk City Directory for Camden, NJ. Should I use the "Publication - Books, CDs, Maps, Leaflets & Videos" for my new source?

    Lee Levin

    1. Lee,

      Publication sounds correct. Your case is different then mine.

      Good luck,



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