Playing with Ancestry’s US Phone Directories 1993-2002

Ancestry.com has updated “U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002.

Ancestry.com indicates that the source of this data is:

1993-2002 White Pages. Little Rock, AR, USA: Acxiom Corporation

These directories are not perfect. People without phones may not be listed. People with unlisted numbers will not be listed. Some individuals may choose to only use initials. Some individuals may have kept their phone service in the name of their dead spouse for one reason or another (my grandfather died in 1968–in 1994 phone service was still in his name). While it may be obvious, it is worth remembering that individuals without phone service in their own name will not be listed.

The “find neighbors” feature of this database, while well-intentioned appears to not work in all areas. The “neighbors” of my grandfather resulted in anyone with a Carthage, Illinois, address–not overly specific. This may be due to the rural nature of his address and the fact that the address (in his case) is a combination of the 911 address based upon the “county road grid” and the fact that the road is also a state highway route whose number has been omitted (or perhaps truncated) from the address.

The “View Neighbors” did not work much better with my grandfather’s brother who lived in Carthage, Illinois, during the same time period and had traditional “in-town” street address (605 Maple Street). “View Neighbors” pulled up a list of all Carthage residents for my uncle–not just those on his street. A similar search for my maternal grandparents (who lived in the same town at 105 Parkway Drive) only pulled up residents who had an address in the same block of the street they did.

Another approach was to put in the street name and residence place and check both to exact.

This obviously won’t find neighbors on a nearby street.  A search with 60* in the Keyword box was rejected for being too broad. A contemporary map might be helpful for those who truly wish to search for neighbors.

Those who wish to search by specific phone numbers can put the number “217-555-1213” in the “Keyword” box and putting the phone number in quotation marks. This seems to work.

Part of the issues with this database could be with irregularities in the original data.

As always–practice, experiment, play. And save anything absolutely, positively at the precise exact moment you find it.

 

 

 

 

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