The 1890 U.S. Census went up in flames during a basement fire in the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C., and genealogists lost an invaluable source of information. We therefore must cobble together other documents and records to discover what happened during these 20 years.One of the main sources of information during this time is directories. Long before there were telephones, there were city directories listing who lived in the city and businesses. Even though they couldn't pick up the phone and call Roto-rooter, they still had needs for plumbers, electricians, etc. and many weren't just around the corner. Buffalo, NY has directories starting in the 1830s and other towns followed suit quickly. Our current telephone directories did evolve from these city directories.
I had a chance to stop by the Niagara Historical Society in Lockport when I visited there and photograph pages from some of their directories. Rather than show you many of pages of them, I will just list my findings:
= 1880-1881 directory: John Platt listed in the Lockport Directory as living at 31 Price. This is consistent with the data from the 1880 Census.
= 1882-1883 through 1887 directories: No Platts listed in Lockport at all.
= 1888 directory: Mrs. Sarah Platts, domestic, listed as living at 165 Pine, Lockport. An Anna Platts is also listed as a domestic but living at 130 Locust. It is unknown if this Sarah & John's daughter, who would have been 18 or 19 years old in 1888.
= 1891 directory: Sarah Platts, listed as living over 7 Pine in Lockport. Anna is not listed, but an Albert Platt (no S) is listed as a tinsmith, boarding at 157 Pine and William H. Platt (again no S) is shown as a blacksmith living at 280 Chestnut. Again it is not known if this two men are the children of Sarah and John, but despite the misspelling it could be. The boys would have been 18 and 20 respectively at this time.
= 1893, 1894 and 1895 directories: Sarah Platts, widow of John, listed as living over 5 West in Lockport. William Platt is also listed in same location as in 1892.
= 1897 directory: Sarah Platts, widow of John, listed as living at 161 Prospect in Lockport. Again listed as under Platt (no S) are, but unknown if they are the sons of Sarah and John: (a) Albert J, laborer, h 435 Vine, (b) Thomas, laborer, h 9 Lagrange, and (c) William H, laborer, blacksmith, h 61 Lock.
= 1898 directory: Sarah Platts, widow of John, listed as living at 161 Prospect in Lockport. Again listed as under Platt (no S) are, but unknown if they are the sons of Sarah and John: (a) Albert J, laborer, h 17 Dayton, (b) Thomas J., laborer, h 9 Lagrange
The next directory was the 1900 one, a year which I will cover with the 1900 US Census.