Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Genealogy Travel: Derby, CT – Public Library Research

313 Elizabeth St., Derby CT
The large old stone building at 313 Elizabeth Street, Derby CT is a charming place to do genealogy research. My cousin, Pat, and I were in Ct for a weekend with our cousins. We had one day for research. We began at the Derby City Hall where we spent much more time than we had expected. When we finally went up the street to the library we had only an hour and a half before closing.

The librarian gathered armfuls of city directories and carried them to a large table for us. We looked for our Brady and Kilday relatives, descendants of Thomas Brady & Catherine Gibney who lived in County Cavan, Ireland. At least four of their children: Margaret Brady Coyle, Ann Brady Kilday, William Brady & Owen Brady left Ireland and lived in Connecticut. Others, Bartholomew, John and Catherine lived in New Jersey.

We used these directories:
Ansonia, Birmingham, Derby, Shelton and Seymour Directory. [1890 – 1905]. New Haven, Connecticut: Price, Lee & Company, 1891. Derby Public Library, 313 Elizabeth Street, Derby, CT.

Each was in an archival safe box. Some had loose pages. We wanted to browse through them but time was against us so we went directly to the pages we needed. We found many volumes that included our family.

Here are examples of our findings:
City Directory

1890 – 91

Page 30 Owen Brady, emp ABC Co, h 25 Bridge
William Brady, laborer, h 189 Sugar
Page 109 James Kilday, laborer, h Cannon

1896 – 97

Page 22 Ansonia. Owen Brady, emp F,F & M Co, h 30 Bridge
Page 159 Derby & Shelton. William Brady, watchman Huntington Piano Co; h 157 Hawkins
Page 207 James Kilday. Laborer, h 44 Cannon


Page 22 Ansonia. Owen Brady, emp Shelton, h 69 Factory
Page 218 Derby & Shelton. Anna Kilday, widow James, h 40 Emmett av

City Directories can be very useful.

· Locate your family in census years to assist in finding census reports.
· Discover when someone died. Above you can see that James Kilday was alive in 1896 but Ann was a widow in 1905.
· Look at others with the same surname. I’ve found them living at the same address which shows a connection.
· Find employment information & often advertisements for those employers.
· See maps of towns.
· Read about the towns with details like population counts.

We gathered up our notes & walked out the door just two minutes before the doors would be locked. That evening we treated ourselves to a delicious seafood dinner at the Stonebridge restaurant in Milford CT.

The next day we gathered with our Irish cousins and shared some of our findings. Our rough notes still needed to be organized & typed up. Pat & I are planning to return to the area. Next time we want to go to nearby Ansonia, CT.

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  1. I'm impressed with your progress. Congratulations!!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. It helps to have other cousins to help gather info!


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