Saturday, October 13, 2012


Chicago Ancestors is an informative website run by the Newberry Library that is packed full of information about Chicago. I had discovered it years ago and finally decided to take a peak at what it offered. Street Guides and City Directories are available for search online and are organized by year. I decided to experiment and see what I could find.

William Dooley: 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census records report a Chicago residence.

Page 228 of the 1870 Chicago City Directory shows:

“Dooley, William, expressman, r. 23 E. Hinsdale”

Then he is on page 354 of the 1880 Chicago City Directory:

“Dooley, William, express, house 31 Henry”

The earliest Chicago City directory available on the website is 1866.  This directory reports two William Dooley’s living in Chicago. Could one of these men be my William? While I cannot say yes with any degree of certainty, I would guess that William, the sailor, may be my guy as both the1866 and 1870 William Dooley live on E. Hinsdale.  I just need to remember that by 1866, William had two sons both who report an Illinois birth.

“Dooley, William, porter, J.H. Reed & Co.”
“Dooley, William, sailor, 19 E. Hinsdale”

William Dooley, The Expressman

William was employed as a driver of express wagons. Could I possibly find the names of Chicago Express Businesses? If so, perhaps one of these businesses employed my William.

1870 Express Businesses in Chicago
Adams Express Co.
American Merchants’ Union Express
United States Express

1880 Express Businesses in Chicago
Adams Express Co.,
American Express Co.
Baltimore & Ohio Express Co. United States Express Co.
United States Express Co.
Western Express Co.

Well, this has been a fun Friday night exploring and learning a little more about Chicago resources and William.


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