I was asked a couple of days ago, “Why are city directories interesting?” It is a fair question. You find them, you attach them to your online tree or software program, and then you have a list of them. A list of them? Dreadfully boring .
This is not interesting. It doesn’t tell me anything about the man and his life.
It is all about pulling the story out of them.
In my previous post, Just Because It’s In Print, Doesn’t Make it True, I discussed the obituary I found of my grandfather and whether he was a radio announcer. City directories hold important clues to Howard Turner’s radio career.
In 1938 and 1939, Howard, 18, was living with his parents, James Austin TURNER and Sudie Sarah HAMRICK TURNER, at 316 E Morehead, Charlotte, NC. Howard’s brother James Austin Jr., was living around the corner with his wife Annie Lineriux BOONE TURNER; both James Sr. and Jr. were salesman. Ira and Pearl TURNER, Howard’s aunt and uncle lived not far from them at 1826 E 4th; Ira owns Turner Trading Company.
In 1938, Howard is a student and in 1939 we see that Howard begins his career as a Radio Announcer.1
On May 25, 1940 Howard marries Jennie Elizabeth PAYNE in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.2
He disappears from the City Directories in until 1943, where he is living with Jennie in Asheville, North Carolina. Howard is a Radio Announcer for WISE Broadcasting as well as the manager of a Welding Engineering School where both his father, James, and his wife, Jennie, are working. 3 Their first child, a daughter is born in 1943.4
From 1944 to 1950, Howard and Jennie are back in Charlotte, and Howard is working for WBT, a major radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are living at 522 Hawthorne Lane in an apartment. Their second child, a son is born in 1944.5
In 1951, it appears the couple has separated. Howard is living with Lois Turner at 323 E Blvd in Charlotte and is now working for Turner’s. Jennie is living at 523 Hawthorne Lane and is working as a nurse at the Presbyterian Hospital.6
Except for the marriage and births, all the detail comes from the City Directories. It’s all about the details and making stories a little less forgotten.
1. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory(Richmond, VA, Hill Directory CO., Inc., 1938), 661 ; also subsequent year by the same title: 1939 (666); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), Howard Turner.
2. “North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F884-NJG : accessed 22 June 2012), Howard Arthur Turner, 1940.
3.Hill’s Asheville (Buncombe County, N. C. ) City Directory (1943), 495.
4. Buncombe County, North Carolina, General Index to Births, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 31, Raleigh, North Carolina State Archives, microfilm NCVR_B_C013_66003, page 253, Katharine Ann Turner; digital images, “North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 22 Jun 2012).
5. Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 102, , microfilm NCVR_B_C065_66004, page 164, Thomas Richard Turner.
6. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory (1944) 754, (1945) 603,(1947) 723, (1948) 732, .