Searching for a business in past records

Recently, I was visiting with a friend who owns a well-established music store.  However, she was excited by a find she’d made earlier in the day.  She discovered a piece of music stamped with a music store in that area from the 1920s and 1930s.

This was a store that was open and had since gone out of business, more than twenty years before her parents opened their store.

old City directories are a great resource for finding businesses and people
old City directories are a great resource for finding businesses and people

Her curiosity was piqued and we discussed ways to discover more about this long lost store.

Using my genealogy skills, I made some suggestions:

  • Check city directories for the store. By searching through the years we can discover when the store opened and when it closed.
  • Checking the archives of the library for any files or mention or picture of this organization
  • Searching for the owners in census records
  • Finding the owners obituary {mention might be made of when the store opened or closed}
  • Searching the newspaper for information {even if it is to check out their ads}   { and Chronicling America are online}
  • Checking deeds to discover where the store is located
  • Checking old business license {if they are available}
  • Search through old pictures of the area for pictures of the store front
  • Speaking with the research department at the library for ideas or information

How have you searched for businesses in the past?


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