Directories were published to help government agencies, businesses, churches and schools track people in a community. People who had jobs outside the home, who were over the age of 18 years along with their occupation, place of residence and home ownership were listed from the earliest directories. During the wars it was often noted if individuals were on active service. After WW II women who stayed at home were added to the directory along with the name of their spouse. At this time they also listed the name of the deceased spouse of a widow for a few years. Directories continued to be printed until 2000 when the federal government introduced stricter privacy legislation. The first Manitoba Directory was published from 1876 to 1879. Henderson’s Manitoba Directory began publishing in 1881. Over the years it included Winnipeg and towns in Manitoba. Beginning in 1884 it included the North West Territories and North West Ontario. From 1889-1891 British Columbia was added to the book. In 1886-1888, 1892-1899 there is an alphabetical list of farmers in Manitoba along with their land locations and post offices. In 1908 province-wide directories were no longer published. Instead directories for the major centres of Brandon and Winnipeg were published.
Early directories can be useful in locating individuals, tracing their moves, and providing the location of legal descriptions of lands owned by settlers. For Winnipeg, the directories run from 1876 to the present. There are directories for other areas of the province for the period from about 1880 to the present. These are all available at the Provincial Archives.
Many Manitoba directories up to and including 1900 are available on microfiche:
- Pre-1900 Canadian Directories. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Institute for Historical Micro-reproductions, 1988. (Family History Library book 971 E43p; fiche beginning with 6360453. Fiche do not circulate to Family History Centers.)
| HINTS: Use the directory information which was collected the year previously to:
During the wars those in military service could be listed as OAS (On Active Service). This would suggest that military records should be checked. There could also be a write-up about them in the local newspaper on Remembrance Day, at the year end review of activities for that community and when the service person returned after the war. Should the individual have died or reported missing during the war, that too, would likely be noted in the newspaper.
The Manitoba Legislative Library and the Library and Archives Canada have copies of most of the directories for Manitoba. Major public and university libraries have microform copies of these directories. A list of which directories are available in the Peel Collection or the Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproductions (CIHM) collections are listed inWestern Canadian Directories on Microfiche and Microfilm.
- Ingles, Ernie B. and N. Merrill Distad, editors and compilers. Peel’s Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
- Obee, Dave. Western Canadian Directories on Microfiche and Microfilm. 3rd edition. Victoria: Self-published, 2003.
- Peel, Bruce Braden. A Bibliography of the Prairie Provinces to 1853, With Biographical Indexes. 2rd edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973.
- Hanowski, Laura. "Manitoba Census Substitutes (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012), https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Manitoba_Census_Substitutes_%28National_Institute%29.