I visited the local library today to browse through old phone directories. My goal was to find the addresses where my grandpa lived here. I was motivated by a copy of the John Henry Graham family data sheet that I had received from Louise Graham Bower, which had listed an address for grandpa that was unknown to me. If I could determine what years that grandpa lived at that address, I could establish a timeframe for when the sheet was compiled.

This turned out to be a very simple task.  The library stocked phone directories going all the way back to the beginning of the Twentieth Century. I knew that my family had moved to the area in the mid-sixties, and that by the end of the seventies most had all moved back to Arkansas, so I concentrated on phone directories from those decades. Grandpa was listed every year from 1966 to 1977, under a cumulative total of four different addresses! I had only known about two, so this was very interesting to me.

Three of the addresses listed for grandpa in the phone directories are still valid city addresses and the houses appear occupied, though I do not know the occupants. I will not list them on this journal for the sake of privacy. The other address is now a vacant lot.

I had previously observed that the compiler of the JHG family data sheet was Nellie Collins Allen, who was the daughter of grandpa’s oldest sister Evisa. Nellie had written on the sheet that my grandpa was in possession of the family bible from which she had copied the data, and listed his address. According to the phone directories, grandpa lived at that address for only one year: 1973. Thus, the JHG family data sheet must have been compiled in 1973.


Illinois Bell phone directories for the city of Harvey, Illinois, 1965-1980, Harvey Public Library.