A couple of weeks ago, I received a thick envelope from the wonderful librarian, Alison, in Ripley, Ohio. She has been a huge help with my Koewler family research, sending me copies of old Ripley Bee newspaper articles dealing with the shooting and later death of my great-great grandfather, Anton. Being aware of my research pursuits and surnames, she volunteered to send copies of several pages from the 1877 - 1878 Ripley Directory.
Thanks to Alison, I now have listings for my Nicholas Becker and his wife, along with Michael Beyersdoerfer all of whom are my great, great, great grandparents. Nicholas was a dealer of caps and hats. His wife, Catherine was a milliner and Michael was a cigar maker. Both families just happened to live at the same address as their business. Also, I now have an advertisement that Michael Beyersdoerfer placed in the directory.
I have used city directories in the past to locate various ancestors, but they were always from large cities, not small towns. I was not even aware that a directory existed for Ripley. Not only have these pages helped with address and occupation information, but they also have given me a feel for the 1877 - 1878 town as a whole. Alison was kind enough to include additional pages that showed some of the competition that my ancestors had to deal with back in their day.
I am now wondering if other small towns that my ancestors lived in might also have these resources. Town or county libraries are always worth investigating for resources. I just hope that I always have the good fortune of coming across librarians as nice as Alison.