I see a George Bismarck Foster (b. May 1869 Missouri – d. abt 1940) married 1890 to Anna M. Faught (b. 5 Jun 1870 Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania – d. 17 Aug 1931 Boonville, Cooper, Missouri) that lived at 934 South Main Street, Independence, Jackson, Missouri from at least 1910 to 1920 as evidenced by the 1910 and 1920 censuses and city directories during that time. (Note that one hand written family tree I got from an ancestor lists George as being born 2 March 1869, whereas the 1900 census says May 1869 that I'm currently using.)

His son, Charles Edward Foster (b. 13 Aug 1895 Missouri – d. 2 Nov 1965 Los Angeles, California) is shown to reside in city directories at 934 South Main Street in 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, and 1915. However, in 1916, the directory lists him living next door at 938 South Main Street. Then in 1917 the city directory again lists him at 934 South Main Street after he got married in 1917 to Gladys E Sturges before they move into the own house at 115 East Richaud by 8 Jan 1920 according to the 1920 census.

George Bismarck Foster is son of Charles Foster (b. abt 1831 Germany – d. ?) and Margaret Unknown (b. abt 1848 Missouri – d. ?). He may have a brother Charles and a sister Anna. I have very little information about his parents and possible siblings, and what I list here may be wrong.

I also see a Charles Henry Foster (b. 16 Jan 1868 Milton, Pike, Illinois – d. 26 Sep 1918 938 South Main Street, Independence, Jackson, Missouri) whose parents were William Ross Foster (b. abt. 1841 Ohio – d. bef 1900) and Amanda Jane Thomas (b. Feb 1847 Illinois – d. ?) and who was married to Minnie A Fischer (b. 17 Jun 1868 Jefferson City, Cole, Missouri – d. 23 Sep 1952 Independence, Jackson, Missouri). William Ross Foster is of unknown parentage. Charles Henry Foster lived at 938 South Main Street from at least 1911 to his death in 1918 as evidenced by the city directories.

How likely is it that the Charles Henry Foster at 938 South Main Street is related to the George Bismarck Foster at 934 South Main Street? Is it likely that Charles Edward Foster's listing 1916 at 938 South Main Street is just an error? I'm unable to connect these two Foster lines. Ultimately, I'd like to learn more about George's parents and siblings, but thus far, due to the common names and scant records I have found, this line has been a dead end. Any suggested resources to pursue would be appreciated.

  • 1
    It does sound like there is considerable evidence suggesting the two households are of the same name but unrelated but only one piece of evidence that suggests a link, and this involves two individuals with the same first and last names but a different middle. I think the possibility of an error in that last piece of evidence should be seriously considered.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


One possible line of inquiry (the one I would do next) is to investigate the properties themselves. What kind of properties were in that section of Main Street at that time? Can you find property records for the period that say who owned the properties? Did any of the properties sell?

Look for information in any record you can think of -- newspapers, deed records, other parts of the city directory besides the alphabetical listings, etc. Sometimes the county assessor's office has property records online, and you can get detailed maps of the current-day parcels, as well as notes on buildings that give an estimate of the current-day building's construction date.

One of the ways you can test your hypothesis about whether Charles Edward Foster's listing 1916 at 938 South Main Street is just an error is to trace who else is living at that address. Just as you can for a person, try to establish a timeline of who was living at that address and when.

One thing I've found is that sometimes City Directories are inconsistent with themselves. Some directories have both Alphabetical sections and Numerical listings which go by the street number, usually giving only the head of household plus notable people like nurses. These sections can get updated by the directory company out of phase with each other. In another "missing person" year, I found a case where an entire range of apartments had no listing in the directory (not just listed as vacant -- there was no listing in the numerical section).

Widen your searches and explore the neighbors, just to see what comes up. If you haven't done FAN Club research (friends, associates, neighbors) then try that now. Use records from siblings if any live in the same town.

It's also possible that your Fosters are related to each other but not through the Foster line -- they could be related through one of their maternal families instead. Widen your search to include other types of records and see what you can discover.

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