1. I try to remember to look in U.S. City Directories when I am researching ancestors in the 1900s. I found Hattie with no problem on Ancestry.
In the Elmira, New York, City Directory for 1914:
Coolbaugh Hattie H. wid (widow) Portis, bds (boards) 101 1/2 Front
I wondered who was she boarding with? Was she living with family or did she just rent a room? When I looked further, on the same page even, I saw another Coolbaugh at the same address and realized that was her son Charles.
Coolbaugh Charles D, teamster, h (home) 101 1/2 Front
*So, I knew she was living with her son in 1914.
In the Ithaca, New York, City Directory, for 1930:
Coolbaugh Hattie, wid (widow) Portis, r (rooms) 502 N Plain
3. I decided not to search by a name but by putting in the name of the City and the address under Key Words:
I found a listing of people at that address or a similar address but no names were familiar.
4. I decided to go back and look at who Hattie’s children were. I knew there were no Coolbaughs on the page. What about her daughters? What were their married names? I started with Amanda and I saw she married Ira Cooper. As I looked down the list when I searched 502 N Plain….there was Ira Cooper and wife Amanda! Wait…but this was in the 1927 City Directory for Hattie Coolbaugh and that hadn’t come up when I searched for Hattie by her name. Interesting!
In the Ithaca, New York, City Directory, for 1927:
And there is was!
* Hattie was living with Amanda and Ira. Now who are Lee and Miles, living at the same address? Are those Amanda and Ira’s sons? That will need more researching.
5. Now what if I go back to the 1930 City Directory for Hattie that previously came up and try this again to see who she was ‘rooming’ with?
*Success! Hattie is still living with Amanda and Ira.
So now I know:
- in 1910 Hattie and Portis were living in Genoa Town with their daughter Nettie and family.
- in 1914 she lived in Elmira with her son Charles
- from 1925 until her death in 1930 she lived with her daughter Amanda and family in Ithaca
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,