United States Directories

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
(Directories of Each State: fixed link)
(29 intermediate revisions by 11 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
''[[Portal:United States of America|United States of America]] > United States Directories''
+
''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[United_States_Directories|Directories]]''  
  
=== Why were Directories Created? ===
+
=== Why were Directories Created  ===
  
 
Directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and other interested in contacting residents of an area. They are arranged alphabetically giving lists of names and addresses. These often list the adult residents of a city or area.  
 
Directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and other interested in contacting residents of an area. They are arranged alphabetically giving lists of names and addresses. These often list the adult residents of a city or area.  
Line 7: Line 7:
 
The most helpful directories for genealogical research are city and county directories of local residents and businesses. These are generally published annually and may include an individual's address, occupation, spouse's name, and other helpful facts. An individual's address can be very helpful when searching an unindexed census of a large city.  
 
The most helpful directories for genealogical research are city and county directories of local residents and businesses. These are generally published annually and may include an individual's address, occupation, spouse's name, and other helpful facts. An individual's address can be very helpful when searching an unindexed census of a large city.  
  
=== Value ===
+
Read an excellent article about directories on the [http://www.nypl.org/blog/2012/06/08/direct-me-1786-history-city-directories-US-NYC New York Public Library blog].
  
Directors are particularly helpful for research in large cities, where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents. A directory may be the only source to list an ancestor if he or she was not registered to vote and did not own property.
+
=== Why Use Directories  ===
  
=== Content and format of Directories  ===
+
*Directories are particularly helpful for research in large cities, where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents.
 +
*A directory may be the only source to list an ancestor if he or she was not registered to vote and did not own property.
 +
*Learn the exact years your ancestor inhabited a place.
 +
*Locate ancestor in a census that hasn’t been indexed (esp. state census).
 +
*Estimate year of immigration.
 +
*Learn occupation and employer as identifiers
 +
*Find other family members.
  
Directories sometimes have maps and addresses of churches, cemeteries, courthouses, and other important locations.  
+
=== Potential Content  ===
 +
 
 +
*An alphabetical listing of inhabitants (arranged by name, address, and occupation).
 +
*A street address listing (arranged by address, name, and occupation).
 +
*Widows, working women, and adult children at home.
 +
*Ward maps.
 +
*Street locator, including cross streets.
 +
*Street name changes.
 +
*Removals (sometimes destinations!).
 +
*Businesses (and index to advertisers).
 +
*Addresses and maps of churches, schools, funeral homes, cemeteries, post offices, courts, hospitals, benevolent associations, newspapers.
 +
*Many early directories listed only businesspeople.
 +
*Some directories list wife in parenthesis.
 +
*Whether a woman is a widow (including name of husband).
 +
*List of marriages and deaths of previous year.
 +
*Death date.
 +
 
 +
=== Availability  ===
 +
 
 +
Time Period of availability: Directories have been published usually annually (yearly) since the early 1800's. City and county directories are similar to present day telephone  books and are useful records for locating people.
 +
 
 +
Local public and university libraries generally have directories for their region. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of city and county directories.
 +
 
 +
=== Locating Directories  ===
 +
 
 +
'''City Directories on the Web'''
 +
 
 +
*[http://www.distantcousin.com/directories/ DistantCousin] - a free, searchable online archive of city directory records and scanned images.<br>
 +
*[https://sites.google.com/site/onlinedirectorysite/Home/usa United States Online Historical Directories]- identifies historical city, county, business and other directories available online on both free and pay-to-access websites.<br>
 +
*[http://www.uscitydirectories.com/ US City Directories] - identifies directories by place and gives repository and call number (incl. FHL film numbers).<br>
 +
 
 +
'''Finding Aids'''
 +
 
 +
*''City Directories of the United States.'' New Haven: Research Publications, Inc. 1971-
 +
*''City Directories of the United States, 1860-1901: Guide to the Microfilm Collection''. Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, 1983
 +
*Spear, Dorothea N. ''Bibliography of American Directories Through 1860.'' Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1961.
 +
 
 +
'''Directories at the Family History Library'''
 +
 
 +
The '''Family History Library '''has a comprehensive collection, City Directories of the United States, reproduced on microform by Research Publications. This includes 336 cities and regions from the late 1700s to 1935. The pre-1860 city directories are on more than 6,000 microfiche. Directories for 1861 to 1935 are on 1,118 microfilms. These and other directories are listed in the Place Search of the [[Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog|Family History Library Catalog]] under
  
The '''Family History Library '''has a comprehensive collection, City Directories of the [[Portal:United States of America|United States]], reproduced on microform by Research Publications. This includes 336 cities and regions from the late 1700s to 1935. The pre-1860 city directories are on more than 6,000 microfiche. Directories for 1861 to 1935 are on 1,118 microfilms. These and other directories are listed in the Place Search of the [[Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog|Family History Library Catalog]] under
 
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - DIRECTORIES
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - DIRECTORIES
  
You can find further information about city directories in research outlines available for each state.  
+
You can find further information about city directories in FamilySearch Wiki pages regarding each state. For example, search '''Ohio directories''' for information about directories of Ohio.  
  
 
Some directories list only certain types of businesses, professionals, clergymen, alumni, or other special groups. These are listed in the Place Search of the [[Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog|Family History Library Catalog]] under:  
 
Some directories list only certain types of businesses, professionals, clergymen, alumni, or other special groups. These are listed in the Place Search of the [[Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog|Family History Library Catalog]] under:  
Line 25: Line 69:
 
::[STATE] - OCCUPATIONS  
 
::[STATE] - OCCUPATIONS  
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - DIRECTORIES  
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - DIRECTORIES  
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - OCCUPATIONS  
+
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - OCCUPATIONS
  
There are also special directories that can help you locate libraries, newspapers, churches, ethnic associations, government officials, and other organizations or offices.
+
There are also special directories that can help you locate libraries, newspapers, churches, ethnic associations, government officials, and other organizations or offices.  
 
+
=== Availability  ===
+
 
+
Time Period of availability: Directories have been published usually annually (yearly) since the early 1800's. City and county directories are similar to present day telephone&nbsp; books and are useful records for locating people.
+
 
+
Local public and university libraries generally have directories for their region. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of city and county directories.
+
 
+
=== Related Records:  ===
+
For related records see the [[United States Census|United States Census]] page.
+
== Directories of Each State  ==
+
  
 +
=== <center>Directories by State</center>  ===
 +
<center>
 
{| class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="503"
 
{| class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="503"
 
|-
 
|-
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Directories|Alabama]]  
+
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px|Alabama flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Directories|Alabama]]  
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Directories|Alaska]]  
+
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px|Alaska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Directories|Alaska]]  
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Directories|Arizona]]  
+
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px|Arizona flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Directories|Arizona]]  
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Directories|Arkansas]]  
+
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px|Arkansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Directories|Arkansas]]  
*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Directories|California]]  
+
*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x15px|California flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Directories|California]]  
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Directories|Colorado]]  
+
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px|Colorado flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Directories|Colorado]]  
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Directories|Connecticut]]  
+
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px|Connecticut flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Directories|Connecticut]]  
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Delaware Directories|Delaware]]  
+
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px|Delaware flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Delaware Directories|Delaware]]  
*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[District of Columbia Directories|District of Columbia]]  
+
*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x11px|District of Columbia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[District of Columbia Directories|District of Columbia]]  
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Directories|Florida]]  
+
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px|Florida flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Directories|Florida]]  
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Directories|Georgia]]  
+
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px|Georgia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Directories|Georgia]]  
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Directories|Hawaii]]  
+
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px|Hawaii flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Directories|Hawaii]]  
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Directories|Idaho]]  
+
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px|Idaho flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Directories|Idaho]]  
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Directories|Illinois]]  
+
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px|Illinois flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Directories|Illinois]]  
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Directories|Indiana]]  
+
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Indiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Directories|Indiana]]  
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Directories|Iowa]]  
+
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px|Iowa flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Directories|Iowa]]  
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kansas Directories|Kansas]]
+
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px|Kansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kansas Directories|Kansas]]
  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
*[[Image:Kentucky flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Directories|Kentucky]]  
+
*[[Image:Kentucky flag.png|border|22x15px|Kentucky flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Directories|Kentucky]]  
*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Directories|Louisiana]]  
+
*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Louisiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Directories|Louisiana]]  
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Directories|Maine]]  
+
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px|Maine flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Directories|Maine]]  
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Directories|Maryland]]  
+
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px|Maryland flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Directories|Maryland]]  
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Directories|Massachusetts]]  
+
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px|Massachusetts flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Directories|Massachusetts]]  
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Directories|Michigan]]  
+
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px|Michigan flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Directories|Michigan]]  
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Directories|Minnesota]]  
+
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px|Minnesota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Directories|Minnesota]]  
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Directories|Mississippi]]  
+
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px|Mississippi flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Directories|Mississippi]]  
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Directories|Missouri]]  
+
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px|Missouri flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Directories|Missouri]]  
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Directories|Montana]]  
+
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px|Montana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Directories|Montana]]  
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Directories|Nebraska]]  
+
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px|Nebraska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Directories|Nebraska]]  
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nevada Directories|Nevada]]  
+
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px|Nevada flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nevada Directories|Nevada]]  
*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Hampshire Directories|New Hampshire]]  
+
*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x15px|New Hampshire flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Hampshire Directories|New Hampshire]]  
*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Jersey Directories|New Jersey]]  
+
*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x15px|New Jersey flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Jersey Directories|New Jersey]]  
*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Mexico Directories|New Mexico]]  
+
*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x15px|New Mexico flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Mexico Directories|New Mexico]]  
*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New York Directories|New York]]  
+
*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x11px|New York flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New York Directories|New York]]  
*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Carolina Directories|North Carolina]]
+
*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|North Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Carolina Directories|North Carolina]]
  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
*[[Image:North Dakota flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Dakota Directories|North Dakota]]  
+
*[[Image:North Dakota flag.png|border|22x17px|North Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Dakota Directories|North Dakota]]  
*[[Image:Ohio flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Directories|Ohio]]  
+
*[[Image:Ohio flag.png|border|22x14px|Ohio flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Directories|Ohio]]  
*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Directories|Oklahoma]]  
+
*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x15px|Oklahoma flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Directories|Oklahoma]]  
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Directories|Oregon]]  
+
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px|Oregon flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Directories|Oregon]]  
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Pennsylvania Directories|Pennsylvania]]  
+
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px|Pennsylvania flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Pennsylvania Directories|Pennsylvania]]  
*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Rhode Island Directories|Rhode Island]]  
+
*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|21x20px|Rhode Island flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Rhode Island Directories|Rhode Island]]  
*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Carolina Directories|South Carolina]]  
+
*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|South Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Carolina Directories|South Carolina]]  
*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Dakota Vital Records|South Dakota]]  
+
*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x13px|South Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Dakota Directories|South Dakota]]  
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Vital Records|Tennessee]]  
+
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px|Tennessee flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Directories|Tennessee]]  
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Vital Records|Texas]]  
+
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px|Texas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Directories|Texas]]  
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Vital Records|Utah]]  
+
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px|Utah flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Directories|Utah]]  
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Vital Records|Vermont]]  
+
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px|Vermont flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Directories|Vermont]]  
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Vital Records|Virginia]]  
+
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px|Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Directories|Virginia]]  
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Washington Directories|Washington]]  
+
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px|Washington flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Washington Directories|Washington]]  
*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[West Virginia Directories|West Virginia]]  
+
*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x12px|West Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[West Virginia Directories|West Virginia]]  
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Directories|Wisconsin]]  
+
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px|Wisconsin flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Directories|Wisconsin]]  
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x20px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Directories|Wyoming]]
+
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px|Wyoming flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Directories|Wyoming]]
  
 
|}
 
|}
 +
</center>
 +
=== Search Steps  ===
 +
 +
*Check the beginning of the directory for cutoff dates, geographical coverage, and the meaning of abbreviations.
 +
*Check alphabetical listing or residents to find known ancestors.
 +
*After finding a known ancestor’s address in the alphabetical listings, check the street address listing to find unknown ancestors at the same address.
 +
 +
=== Tips  ===
 +
 +
*Directories list occupants (not necessarily owners).
 +
*Major cities: Check town or county histories for outlying towns later absorbed by a city.
 +
*Minorities were often listed separately.
 +
*Others at your ancestor’s address may be boarders.
 +
*Pay attention to occupations. They can give you an extra “handle” by which you can identify your ancestor in another record. If an alphabetical listing says your ancestor is “Asst. to John Doe,” see what John Doe does for a living.
 +
*Streets were renumbered. If your ancestor’s address changes, see if his neighbors’ addresses change correspondingly.
 +
*Second marriages: If a widow is listed at an address, then replaced by a man the next year at that address, check marriage records!
 +
*Find ancestor in all available directories. This yields more name handles, more relatives at same address, and more occupations.
 +
*For blank forms you can use to extract information from a directory, see [http://www.tpl.toronto.on.ca/localhistory/directories4.html www.tpl.toronto.on.ca/localhistory/directories4.html]
 +
 +
=== What to Do Next  ===
 +
 +
Directories serve as springboards to other records:
 +
 +
'''Church records'''
 +
 +
*To locate church records to search for an ancestor, use directories to find addresses of churches near your ancestor’s residence.
 +
*If you have a marriage certificate naming the minister who performed the marriage ceremony, find his listing in directories to learn the name of his church.
 +
 +
'''Land records'''
 +
 +
*Directory listings often mention whether the resident is an owner, renter, or boarder. If owner, see land records!
 +
 +
== Works Referenced  ==
  
== Web Sites  ==
+
*Egan-Baker, Maryan. "U.S. Census &amp; City Directories: The Dynamic Duo." Utah Genealogical Association Conference. Salt Lake City, Utah, 13 April. 2000.
 +
*Gormley, Myra Vanderpool, C.G. ''City Directories: Windows on the Past''. &lt;http://www.ancestry.com/columns/myra/Shaking_Family_Tree03-19-98.htm&gt;. 19 March 1998 (Accessed 27 August 2002).
 +
*Hinckley, Kathleen W., C.G.R.S. ''Skillbuilding: Analyzing City Directories''. &lt;http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/skbld965.html&gt;. May 1996 (Accessed 27 August 2002).
 +
*Morgan, George. ''City Directories''. &lt;http://www.ancestry.com/columns/george/03-06098.htm?sourceid=00392187254525771865&gt;. 6 March 1998 (Accessed 27 August 2002).
 +
*''Primary Sources -- Directories''. &lt;http://www.tpl.toronto.on.ca/localhistory/directories1.html&gt;. 27 January 2000 (Accessed 27 August 2002).
 +
*Remington, Gordon, F.U.G.A. "Needle in a Smokestack: Urban Research." Utah Genealogical Association Conference. Salt Lake City, Utah, 13 April, 2000.
  
*[http://www.uscitydirectories.com/ US City Directories]
+
{{Place|United States}}
*[http://sites.google.com/site/onlinedirectorysite/Home/usa City Directories by State]
+
  
[[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States]]
+
[[Category:City_Directories|United States]] [[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States]]

Revision as of 15:22, 13 June 2012

United States Gotoarrow.png Directories

Contents

Why were Directories Created

Directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and other interested in contacting residents of an area. They are arranged alphabetically giving lists of names and addresses. These often list the adult residents of a city or area.

The most helpful directories for genealogical research are city and county directories of local residents and businesses. These are generally published annually and may include an individual's address, occupation, spouse's name, and other helpful facts. An individual's address can be very helpful when searching an unindexed census of a large city.

Read an excellent article about directories on the New York Public Library blog.

Why Use Directories

  • Directories are particularly helpful for research in large cities, where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents.
  • A directory may be the only source to list an ancestor if he or she was not registered to vote and did not own property.
  • Learn the exact years your ancestor inhabited a place.
  • Locate ancestor in a census that hasn’t been indexed (esp. state census).
  • Estimate year of immigration.
  • Learn occupation and employer as identifiers
  • Find other family members.

Potential Content

  • An alphabetical listing of inhabitants (arranged by name, address, and occupation).
  • A street address listing (arranged by address, name, and occupation).
  • Widows, working women, and adult children at home.
  • Ward maps.
  • Street locator, including cross streets.
  • Street name changes.
  • Removals (sometimes destinations!).
  • Businesses (and index to advertisers).
  • Addresses and maps of churches, schools, funeral homes, cemeteries, post offices, courts, hospitals, benevolent associations, newspapers.
  • Many early directories listed only businesspeople.
  • Some directories list wife in parenthesis.
  • Whether a woman is a widow (including name of husband).
  • List of marriages and deaths of previous year.
  • Death date.

Availability

Time Period of availability: Directories have been published usually annually (yearly) since the early 1800's. City and county directories are similar to present day telephone  books and are useful records for locating people.

Local public and university libraries generally have directories for their region. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of city and county directories.

Locating Directories

City Directories on the Web

  • DistantCousin - a free, searchable online archive of city directory records and scanned images.
  • United States Online Historical Directories- identifies historical city, county, business and other directories available online on both free and pay-to-access websites.
  • US City Directories - identifies directories by place and gives repository and call number (incl. FHL film numbers).

Finding Aids

  • City Directories of the United States. New Haven: Research Publications, Inc. 1971-
  • City Directories of the United States, 1860-1901: Guide to the Microfilm Collection. Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, 1983
  • Spear, Dorothea N. Bibliography of American Directories Through 1860. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1961.

Directories at the Family History Library

The Family History Library has a comprehensive collection, City Directories of the United States, reproduced on microform by Research Publications. This includes 336 cities and regions from the late 1700s to 1935. The pre-1860 city directories are on more than 6,000 microfiche. Directories for 1861 to 1935 are on 1,118 microfilms. These and other directories are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under

[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - DIRECTORIES

You can find further information about city directories in FamilySearch Wiki pages regarding each state. For example, search Ohio directories for information about directories of Ohio.

Some directories list only certain types of businesses, professionals, clergymen, alumni, or other special groups. These are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

[STATE] - DIRECTORIES
[STATE] - OCCUPATIONS
[STATE], [COUNTY] - DIRECTORIES
[STATE], [COUNTY] - OCCUPATIONS

There are also special directories that can help you locate libraries, newspapers, churches, ethnic associations, government officials, and other organizations or offices.

Directories by State

Search Steps

  • Check the beginning of the directory for cutoff dates, geographical coverage, and the meaning of abbreviations.
  • Check alphabetical listing or residents to find known ancestors.
  • After finding a known ancestor’s address in the alphabetical listings, check the street address listing to find unknown ancestors at the same address.

Tips

  • Directories list occupants (not necessarily owners).
  • Major cities: Check town or county histories for outlying towns later absorbed by a city.
  • Minorities were often listed separately.
  • Others at your ancestor’s address may be boarders.
  • Pay attention to occupations. They can give you an extra “handle” by which you can identify your ancestor in another record. If an alphabetical listing says your ancestor is “Asst. to John Doe,” see what John Doe does for a living.
  • Streets were renumbered. If your ancestor’s address changes, see if his neighbors’ addresses change correspondingly.
  • Second marriages: If a widow is listed at an address, then replaced by a man the next year at that address, check marriage records!
  • Find ancestor in all available directories. This yields more name handles, more relatives at same address, and more occupations.
  • For blank forms you can use to extract information from a directory, see www.tpl.toronto.on.ca/localhistory/directories4.html

What to Do Next

Directories serve as springboards to other records:

Church records

  • To locate church records to search for an ancestor, use directories to find addresses of churches near your ancestor’s residence.
  • If you have a marriage certificate naming the minister who performed the marriage ceremony, find his listing in directories to learn the name of his church.

Land records

  • Directory listings often mention whether the resident is an owner, renter, or boarder. If owner, see land records!

Works Referenced