Our Library Has Just Added A 1948 Chicago White Pages Residential Telephone Directory To Our Reference Collection; We Also Have A 1944, 1953 Chicago White Pages Residential Telephone Directories In Our Reference Collection

Hi Everyone,

Schaumburg Township District Library

Our library, through the hard work of our Local History Librarian Jane Rozek, has added a 1948 Chicago White Pages Residential Telephone Directory to our Reference Collection.  The “white pages” category included residential customers and generally did not include business listings.  Business listings were generally shown in the “yellow pages”.

The book is located on the 2nd floor of our library on the Reference shelves.  The call number of the book is R 384.6025 CHICAGO 1948.  You can always do an online catalog search for this book just using “Chicago Telephone Directory” as your search term.  You will see the 1948 directory listed among a few others we have.  You can then look at all of the bibliographic information for this book.

It cannot be checked out.

But …. you can certainly call our library’s main phone number at 847-985-4000, ask for the Reference Desk, and ask who is at the desk if they can do a lookup for you from this directory.

For genealogical purposes, any time you can have a source of names in-between the decennial U.S. Census years can be extremely helpful to determine if an individual may still be at the same address as in the previous census.

Also remember that individuals with phone service could pay a small fee to the local Telephone Company and limit access to their listing of their phone service and not have it printed in these large directories.  Sometimes the listing was only available to a phone operator to share through Directory Assistance.  There was also a level of privacy service the individual could subscribe to for a fee in which his phone number was not listed at all and therefore not printed in the directory AND not available to Directory Assistance.  Keep this in mind if you do not find someone in the phone directory when you think they lived in Chicago at this time period.  Don’t forget that it is also possible they did not yet have phone service at all!

I am also including as part of this post the previous post I created to let readers know that we also have a 1944 and 1953 Chicago Residential  Telephone Directories as well as a 1958-59 Chicago Suburban Residential Telephone Directory in our Reference Collection.  The post about that information is shown below after the separator line in this post as a refresher to you.

If you have Chicago ancestors that were in Chicago in the 1944 to 1953 time period, consider using the directories we have covering this period in our library.  If you think you had ancestors living in the Chicago Suburban area in 1958-1959 consider using that directory we have.  Can’t make it into our library?  Give our Reference Desk a call and ask if they can do a look-up for you.

I am so happy that Jane Rozek, our Local History Librarian, was able to purchase this directory to add to our Reference Collection.

Thank you Jane!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library 


Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgSometimes I surprise myself on discovering research resources we have that I did not even know our library had.

I was asked to help someone on a research request that was related to searching through telephone directories.  Yes, that is right, printed, large-size, heavy paper phone directories from days past.  You remember those, don’t you?  Printed by RR Donnelly with updated directories dropped off at your doorstep year after year after year!

In going through our material in our collection to help answer a genealogy research question, I actually discovered that our library has on our Reference shelves 3 helpful “old” print telephone directories that can be of help to the genealogical researcher digging into ancestors that may have been in Chicago or the Suburbs of Chicago within the last 50 to 75 years.

Here is a description of the 3 items in our 2nd floor Reference Collection I want you to be aware of:

  • 1944 Chicago Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (R 384.6025 CHICAGO 1944)
  • 1953 Chicago Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (R 384.6025 CHICAGO 1953)
  • 1958-59 Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (ILLINOIS COLL R 384.6025 CHICAGO)

These can be very helpful to do look-ups in if you have Chicago ancestors that lived in Chicago proper during the time periods covered by these resources.

The 1944 directory is helpful to track any ancestor migration since the 1940Phone Book Stock Photo Census that is currently available (in the 1940 Census in Chicago, not present in the 1944 Chicago Telephone Directory); the 1953 directory is helpful because the 1950 Census has not been made public at this time.

I actually looked at the 1944 directory for my name and found no one listed under KIERNA.  I guess my more recent ancestors did not have any money to have telephone service??  But by 1953 the name KIERNA does appear in that directory.

Your ancestor might not appear in these directories if they chose to have their information “Non-Published”.  They paid for the privilege of not having their name published in the print directory.  They may also not be in the directory if they did not have telephone service.

Just know that these resources are available in our library for you to use as a research tool.  These books in print are on the 2nd floor Reference Shelves.  Use the Call Number of the books noted above to find them.   If you can’t come in to our library to take a look at these directories, you can always call our library at 847-985-4000 and ask for the “Ask Us” desk on the 2nd floor.  They would be able to do a look-up for you in the directory.

Hopefully, the surname you seek is not a common one like “SMITH” or “JONES” because the directories cover the City of Chicago where these names are very common in the directory.

Also, since many of our ancestors may have originally settled in Chicago back in the late 1890s and early 1900s, it was not uncommon for them and their children to also “migrate” out of the city into the suburbs as the suburbs started growing in the 1940s and 1950s.  This is where the Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory might be of more help to you to track down these early ancestors that might have moved out to the Chicago suburbs and were listed in the 1958-1959 Suburban Directory we have.

I am glad that my research effort made me aware of these nice resources that I have available right at my fingertips at the Schaumburg Township District Library.  Perhaps it can help you too for your Chicago ancestral research, especially the part that is a little more current in time.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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