City directories were typically published annually and listed residents, usually head of household, alphabetically. Information usually includes residential address and occupation, and may include other details such as business address, wife's name, or death date. Directories also contain details about local businesses, services, and organizations, and usually include street maps. They are particularly useful for establishing residence of an individual or family in years when there was no federal or state census taken. (For an introduction to using city directories, see this article: New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories.)
The HWS Library has a collection of city directories for Geneva ranging from 1857 to 1990. More recent years are covered by a slightly different type of directory which lists residents by street address.