Source Information

Graden, Debra, ed.. Berrien County, Michigan Directory, 1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.
Original data: Berrien County (Michigan) Directory, 1892. Berrien, MI, USA: R. L. Polk and Co., 1892.

About Berrien County, Michigan Directory, 1892

Bordering Indiana on Lake Michigan, Berrien County was home to over 41,000 residents in 1890. This database is a transcription of the first county directory published for the county and can be used as a substitute for the 1890 Federal Census. It contains over 13,900 records from both a farmer directory and a township directory. Records from the farmer directory contain the individual's name, business, section of land, number of acres, land value, township, and post office. Records from the township directory provide the individual's name, occupation, business address, residence, and township. For additional information regarding a particular record please contact the Berrien County Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 8808, Benton Harbor, MI, 49023-8808.

Townships included in this directory: Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, Buchanan, New Buffalo, Niles, St. Joseph and Three Oaks.

City directories are primarily useful for locating people in a particular place and time. They can tell you generally where an ancestor lived and give an exact location for census years. They are also useful for linkage with sources other than censuses.

There are usually several parts to a city directory. The section of most interest to the genealogist, of course, is the alphabetical listing of names, for it is there that you may find your ancestor.

Whenever you use a directory, however, it is important to refer to the page showing abbreviations used in the alphabetical section of the directory, usually following the name in each entry. Some abbreviations are quite common, such as h for home or r, indicating residence. There may even be a subtle distinction between r for residents who are related to the homeowner and b for boarders who are not related.

Some city directories list adult children who lived with their parents but were working or going to school. Look for persons of the same surname residing at the same address. If analyzed and interpreted properly, these annual directories can tell you (by implication) which children belong to which household, when they married and started families of their own, and when they established themselves in business. In cases where specific occupation is given, you can search records pertinent to that occupation.

Once an ancestor has been found in a city directory, there are several ways the information can be used to gain access to, or link with, such sources as censuses, death and probate records, church records, naturalization records, and land records.

Taken from Chapter 11: Research in Directories, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Gordon Lewis Remington; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).