I have searched online for this information, taken the Stack Exchange tour and searched previous questions for one that might answer my question; e.g., Ancestry, online search for Cole’s or Polk’s crisscross directories, college/university and private crisscross directory archives.

I am searching for residents listed at a specific address:

4300 Valley View Lane Dallas, Dallas County, Texas 75234 Year: 1971-1973

When I searched by address, the results were truncated and did not include the address for which I was searching.

  • 1
    Not always available: many directories have both an alphabetical by resident's name section and an alphabetical by street name and number section. I use the browse images function to search the by-address sections. Too often the automated indexing is missing entries.
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 1:00
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    I thought I had added this comment yesterday, but I guess not. Is that the actual address? My maps show the 4300 block of Valley View Lane as being in Irving, out next to the DFW airport, not in Dallas. And according to Historic Aerials, it looks like it was a farm in 1972. Also, 75234 may have a Dallas ZIP code, but it's actually in the separate city of Farmers Branch, so you may not find your people in a Dallas city directory unless the directory also enumerates the neighboring cities.
    – shoover
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 13:42
  • HI, welcome to G&FH.SE! You can use the edit button to let us know whether you are asking about 4300 (N) Valley View Ln in Irving or 4300 (E) Valley View Ln east of Farmers Branch (was zip code 75234 in the early 1970s, now 75244).
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


You're at a disadvantage searching directories to find street addresses on any of the 'big box' genealogy websites because their indexes are set up to find individual people by name—and it's difficult to get good results even at that task. Do learn the wildcards for each site and experiment with them, but you can only go so far by searching.

Tip 0: Put your address on the map

For a baseline, I like to use modern-day cadastral maps that are part of GIS systems run by the town or county tax assessor's office. Even if you aren't interested in the current ownership, you can often get a map with block and lot numbers and information about properties, including when the buildings might have been constructed. For Dallas, I searched for the city name and the keyword GIS. City of Dallas GIS Services Choose the Street Address Lookup to find your property.

Researchers can also take advantage of maps available from the US National Archives. See Discovering Your Neighborhood from Prologue Magazine, Fall 2015, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Genealogy Notes). Finding aids for 1950 and 1940 maps can be found on Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Web Pages.

Tip 1: Keep a log of where you searched and how you searched

There are all sorts of research logs around the net, but you can get a head start by using Thomas MacEntee's Excel Research log, available from his site Genealogy Bargains.

Tip 2: Use multiple websites

Many online city directories have indexes generated by OCR (Optical Character Resolution). For Ancestry's database US City Directories in particular, the index is far from perfect and cannot be relied upon to find all the instances of any given person or address.

MyHeritage's Directories offers some extra features not found on Ancestry. At MyHeritage the results for a particular person are aggregated and there is an option to search for others who lived at the same address.

Make a note of what directories are in the entire category at MyHeritage and Ancestry but search each database individually. You'll get more extensive search options. Be sure to read any material on the site explaining what's in the colletion and how the records are arranged.

The Internet Archive and other free sites may give you a better experience for using the directory like a book than the big sites that are designed to search by name. I get better results when I abandon one-stop shopping and search on all available sites. The Ancestor Hunt has listings for all sorts of online resources including directories.

Tip 3: Browse the directory

For the best results, no matter what site you use to find directories, you will eventually have to learn how to browse the directory.

When evaluating any record set, keep in mind the three essential elements in your search.

  • Name (in your example, the address you're searching for, rather than the name of the individual)
  • Date (in your case: 1971-1973)
  • Location (in your example, Dallas, Texas)

At Ancestry, go to the search page for the US Directory Collection and look at the right-hand side of the page where it says Browse this collection. Use the drop-down menus to view what directories are available for Dallas. The 1971 Polk's Directory offers a street and avenue guide (see image 5) as well as an alphabetical listing. The numerical listings often list only the head of household. Use that as a starting point to inform your next searches. Be aware that the numerical/street listings are not always consistent with the informtion in the alpabetical listings. I have found cases where people were still listed in the street listing even after their listing dropped out of the Alphabetical section.

Note the cross-streets and neighboring heads of households in case you need to search for them in other record sets to find your neighborhood.

On Ancestry, you may also want to take advantage of the databases US Public Records Index Volume 1 and US Public Records Index Volume 2 which allegedly have records from the date range 1950-1993.

Further Research

Be methodical, and know your records. learn the abbreviations for the directory you are using. Learn the wildcards available on each site you use. Guides such as Win The OCR Text Battle – Change the Letters in Your Search at The Ancestor Hunt offer suggestions on how to search for possible strings in bad OCR text that might match your search. When you can see the raw OCR, make notes about what OCR string underlies your wanted record and search for it specifically.

Once you have exhausted using local directories, The Ancestor Hunt has listings for other resources that might be of use, such as online voter lists, historical newspapers, etc. Use the same techniques to find your address in those records as well.


Do be aware of geography! For historical newspapers, it's good to read an issue all the way through to get an idea of how broad an area is covered by the paper. For directories, read the front matter to see if smaller nearby communities have a separate section of their own. For your log, you will want to have some way of keeping track of what you find for same-name or similarly-named streets.

In this case, you could get hits for either 4300 (N) Valley View Ln in Irving or 4300 (E) Valley View Ln east of Farmers Branch. Understanding how the directory distinguishes the different zip codes is essential for building an accurate timeline and list of property owners and residents. (I am grateful for the heads-up from social media posts for the tip about the two towns)

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