City Directory Surprise – U.S. Census Demographic Summary!

City Directory Surprise –

U. S. Census Demographic Summary!

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn


I discovered a nice surprise today.  The Polk City Beloit Wisconsin Directories in our Genealogy and Local History Collection have a U. S. Census Demographic Summary for our local area in each of the Directories from 1998 thru 2017.  (Not found in City Directories before 1998.)  That means that each one has very helpful information at the back of the book, on specific statistical Census information for our area.  Our Polk City Directories cover Beloit Wisconsin, and Rockton, Roscoe, and South Beloit Illinois.

We are very much a stateline community with fluid moving of people, and businesses, across the Wisconsin Illinois state boundary.  (Hence the name of our Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.)

Remember, these are Criss-Cross directories, and include separate lists by person’s name, address, or phone number.  Some of the older city directories also have a section by businesses and social organizations, clubs, churches, etc., and some business ads.  You can find out a lot about your family’s connections by researching those parts as well.

Our 1998 -2017 directories includes these in the Demographic Summary  for our area:

  • Glossary of Demographic Terms
  • Street Guide to Census Tract
  • Census Tract to Street Guide
  • Neighborhood Composition
  • Education and Income
  • Housing

The Census Enumerators would use the Census Tract location numbering system to organize their interviews of residents for the Census.  This was the way that written form interviews were also organized.  It means that those mysterious Census Tract numbers on the Census sheets can be transcribed, and used for searches to find street names and numbers.

The Census records for 2000 and 2010, at least, are represented in these directories.  (I did not take the time to see if each annual City Directory was updated by year.)  These will be a helpful local summary of Census statistics readily available for our area.

Those BLOG followers from other areas can look in their own City Directories to see if a Demographic Summary is included in those directories.

So we can now find all of the following great information in city directories, as well as more!

Be sure to refer to the abbreviations and coding in the front of each city directory, as they change through the years.  See 2017 example below:




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