United States Directories

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
(caps)
(12 intermediate revisions by 6 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.  
  
===Why Use Directories?===
+
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].
  
*Directories are particularly helpful for research in large cities, where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents.
+
=== Why Use Directories  ===
*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.
+
 
 +
*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.  
 
*Learn the exact years your ancestor inhabited a place.  
 
*Locate ancestor in a census that hasn’t been indexed (esp. state census).  
 
*Locate ancestor in a census that hasn’t been indexed (esp. state census).  
Line 17: Line 19:
 
*Find other family members.
 
*Find other family members.
  
===Potential Content ===
+
=== Potential Content ===
  
 
*An alphabetical listing of inhabitants (arranged by name, address, and occupation).  
 
*An alphabetical listing of inhabitants (arranged by name, address, and occupation).  
Line 40: Line 42:
 
Local public and university libraries generally have directories for their region. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of city and county directories.  
 
Local public and university libraries generally have directories for their region. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of city and county directories.  
  
=== Finding Directories  ===
+
=== Locating Directories  ===
  
==== City Directories on the Web ====
+
'''City Directories on the Web'''
  
*[http://www.uscitydirectories.com/ US City Directories] identifies directories by place and gives repository and call number (incl. FHL film numbers).  
+
*[http://www.distantcousin.com/directories/ DistantCousin] - a free, searchable online archive of city directory records and scanned images.<br>
*[http://sites.google.com/site/onlinedirectorysite/Home/usa United States Online Historical Directories]  
+
*[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.fallingrain.com/world/US/ Directory of Cities, Towns, and Regions in United States]
+
*[http://www.uscitydirectories.com/ US City Directories] - identifies directories by place and gives repository and call number (incl. FHL film numbers).<br>
*DistantCousin.com/directories is a free, searchable online archive of city directory records and scanned images.  
+
*The [http://sites.google.com/site/onlinedirectorysite/Home Online Historical Directories Website] has listings for online historical city directories, and also includes historical alumni, business, city, county, farm, Masonic, rural, social, and other types of directories for the United States and Canada.
+
  
==== Finding Aids ====
+
'''Finding Aids'''
  
 
*''City Directories of the United States.'' New Haven: Research Publications, Inc. 1971-  
 
*''City Directories of the United States.'' New Haven: Research Publications, Inc. 1971-  
Line 56: Line 56:
 
*Spear, Dorothea N. ''Bibliography of American Directories Through 1860.'' Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1961.
 
*Spear, Dorothea N. ''Bibliography of American Directories Through 1860.'' Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1961.
  
==== Directories at the Family History Library ====
+
'''Directories at the Family History Library'''
  
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  
+
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  
  
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - DIRECTORIES
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - DIRECTORIES
Line 71: Line 71:
 
::[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.  
 
+
=== Directories of Each State  ===
+
 
+
The following links navigate to wiki pages regarding directories of each U.S. state. Each page, in turn, links to the major directory collections of that 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|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Directories|Alabama]]  
+
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px|Alabama flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Directories|Alabama]]  
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Directories|Alaska]]  
+
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px|Alaska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Directories|Alaska]]  
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Directories|Arizona]]  
+
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px|Arizona flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Directories|Arizona]]  
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Directories|Arkansas]]  
+
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px|Arkansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Directories|Arkansas]]  
*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Directories|California]]  
+
*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x15px|California flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Directories|California]]  
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Directories|Colorado]]  
+
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px|Colorado flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Directories|Colorado]]  
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Directories|Connecticut]]  
+
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px|Connecticut flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Directories|Connecticut]]  
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px]]&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|22x11px]]&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|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Directories|Florida]]  
+
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px|Florida flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Directories|Florida]]  
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Directories|Georgia]]  
+
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px|Georgia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Directories|Georgia]]  
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Directories|Hawaii]]  
+
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px|Hawaii flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Directories|Hawaii]]  
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Directories|Idaho]]  
+
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px|Idaho flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Directories|Idaho]]  
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Directories|Illinois]]  
+
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px|Illinois flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Directories|Illinois]]  
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Directories|Indiana]]  
+
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Indiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Directories|Indiana]]  
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Directories|Iowa]]  
+
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px|Iowa flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Directories|Iowa]]  
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px]]&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|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Directories|Kentucky]]  
+
*[[Image:Kentucky flag.png|border|22x15px|Kentucky flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Directories|Kentucky]]  
*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Directories|Louisiana]]  
+
*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Louisiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Directories|Louisiana]]  
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Directories|Maine]]  
+
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px|Maine flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Directories|Maine]]  
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Directories|Maryland]]  
+
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px|Maryland flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Directories|Maryland]]  
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Directories|Massachusetts]]  
+
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px|Massachusetts flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Directories|Massachusetts]]  
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Directories|Michigan]]  
+
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px|Michigan flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Directories|Michigan]]  
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Directories|Minnesota]]  
+
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px|Minnesota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Directories|Minnesota]]  
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Directories|Mississippi]]  
+
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px|Mississippi flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Directories|Mississippi]]  
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Directories|Missouri]]  
+
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px|Missouri flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Directories|Missouri]]  
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Directories|Montana]]  
+
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px|Montana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Directories|Montana]]  
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Directories|Nebraska]]  
+
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px|Nebraska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Directories|Nebraska]]  
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px]]&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|22x15px]]&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|22x15px]]&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|22x15px]]&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|22x11px]]&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|22x15px]]&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|22x17px]]&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|22x14px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Directories|Ohio]]  
+
*[[Image:Ohio flag.png|border|22x14px|Ohio flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Directories|Ohio]]  
*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Directories|Oklahoma]]  
+
*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x15px|Oklahoma flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Directories|Oklahoma]]  
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Directories|Oregon]]  
+
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px|Oregon flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Directories|Oregon]]  
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px]]&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|21x20px]]&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|22x15px]]&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|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Dakota Directories|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|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Directories|Tennessee]]  
+
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px|Tennessee flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Directories|Tennessee]]  
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Directories|Texas]]  
+
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px|Texas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Directories|Texas]]  
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Directories|Utah]]  
+
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px|Utah flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Directories|Utah]]  
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Directories|Vermont]]  
+
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px|Vermont flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Directories|Vermont]]  
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Directories|Virginia]]  
+
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px|Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Directories|Virginia]]  
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px]]&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|22x12px]]&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|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Directories|Wisconsin]]  
+
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px|Wisconsin flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Directories|Wisconsin]]  
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Directories|Wyoming]]
+
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px|Wyoming flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Directories|Wyoming]]
  
 
|}
 
|}
 
+
</center>
===Search Steps ===
+
=== Search Steps ===
  
 
*Check the beginning of the directory for cutoff dates, geographical coverage, and the meaning of abbreviations.  
 
*Check the beginning of the directory for cutoff dates, geographical coverage, and the meaning of abbreviations.  
Line 144: Line 142:
 
*After finding a known ancestor’s address in the alphabetical listings, check the street address listing to find unknown ancestors at the same address.
 
*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===  
+
=== Tips ===
  
 
*Directories list occupants (not necessarily owners).  
 
*Directories list occupants (not necessarily owners).  
Line 150: Line 148:
 
*Minorities were often listed separately.  
 
*Minorities were often listed separately.  
 
*Others at your ancestor’s address may be boarders.  
 
*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.
+
*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.  
 
*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!  
 
*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.
+
*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]
 
*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 ===
+
=== What to Do Next ===
  
 
Directories serve as springboards to other records:  
 
Directories serve as springboards to other records:  
  
====Church records ====
+
'''Church records'''
  
*To narrow down the church records to search for an ancestor, use directories to find addresses of churches near your ancestor’s residence.  
+
*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.
 
*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 ====
+
'''Land records'''
  
 
*Directory listings often mention whether the resident is an owner, renter, or boarder. If owner, see land records!
 
*Directory listings often mention whether the resident is an owner, renter, or boarder. If owner, see land records!
 
=== Related Records:  ===
 
 
For related records see the [[United States Census|United States Census]] page.
 
  
 
== Works Referenced  ==
 
== Works Referenced  ==
  
Egan-Baker, Maryan. "U.S. Census &amp; City Directories: The Dynamic Duo." Utah Genealogical Association Conference. Salt Lake City, Utah, 13 April. 2000.  
+
*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).  
Gormley, Myra Vanderpool, C.G. ''City Directories: Windows on the Past''. <nowiki><http://www.ancestry.com/columns/myra/Shaking_Family_Tree03-19-98.htm>. </nowiki>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).  
Hinckley, Kathleen W., C.G.R.S. ''Skillbuilding: Analyzing City Directories''. <nowiki><http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/skbld965.html>. </nowiki>May 1996 (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.
Morgan, George. ''City Directories''. <nowiki><http://www.ancestry.com/columns/george/03-06098.htm?sourceid=00392187254525771865>. </nowiki>6 March 1998 (Accessed 27 August 2002).  
+
 
+
''Primary Sources -- Directories''. <nowiki><http://www.tpl.toronto.on.ca/localhistory/directories1.html>. </nowiki>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.
+
  
 
{{Place|United States}}  
 
{{Place|United States}}  
  
[[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