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A directory is defined as a “book containing names, addresses, and occupations of inhabitants.” It may also be “any list or compilation, usually in book or pamphlet form, of persons, professional organizations, firms or corporations.” Several types of directories have been published in the United States over the last two hundred years including: city directories, telephone directories, county and regional business directories, professional, organizational, and religious directories, post office directories, and street directories. Directories have tremendous value to genealogists as both an original record and as a reference aid.
The sections below provide information about Nevada directories. For further information about directories in general, see United States Directories.
- 1864-65. Colins, Charles. comp. Mercantile Guide and Directory for Virginia City, Gold Hill, Sivler City and American City, comprising a general business and resident directory for those cities, with sketches of their growth, development, and resources. Also containing valuable historical and statistical matter of unusual interest, together with the only accurate mining directory yet published, giving the name of the mine, number of feet in each claim, the district in which the same is located, and the names of secretaries, with their respective places of business. [San Francisco]: Agnew & Deffebach, Book and Job Printers, . FHL film 1344106. Digital version at Internet Archives.
- 1867. Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1867: Containing the name and post office address of each merchant, manufacturer and professional residing in the states of California, Oregon, and Nevada: the terriories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Alaska: and the colony of British Columbia. Also, a gazetteer of the counties, cities, and towns, and an exhibit of the resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1867. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1871-73. Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1871-73: Containing the Name and Post Office Address of Each Merchant, Manufacturer and Professional Residing in the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada; the Territories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona and Alaska; and the Colony of British Columbia. Also, a Gazetteer of the Counties, Cities and Towns, and an Exhibit of the Resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1871. FHL film 1004513 item 3.
- 1876-78. Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78: Containing the name and post office address of each merchant, manufacturer and professional residing in the states of California, Oregon, and Nevada: the terriories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Alaska: and the colony of British Columbia. Also, a gazetteer of the counties, cities, and towns, with the federal, state and municipal officers attached thereto, and an exhibit of the resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1875. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1877. McKenney, L.M. Business Directory of San Francisco, and principle towns of California and Nevada, 1877: containing names, business and address of merchants, manufacturers and professional men ... San Francisco: L.M. McKenney, 1877. FHL film 1597554 item 2.
- 1878. McKenney, L.M. Business Directory of the Pacific States and Territories, for 1878, Containing names, business, and address, of merchants, manufacturers, and professional men; county, city, state, territorial, and federal officers; and notaries public, of the principle towns of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona and British Columbia. . . Two Volumes. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney, 1878. FHL film 1377108. Digital version at Internet Archive (Vol. 1), (Vol. 2).
- 1880-81. McKenney, L.M. Pacific Coast Directory, for 1880-81. Containing names, business and address of merchants, manufacturers and professional men; county, city, state, territorial and federal officers, and notaries public, of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and British Columbia. Together with a sketch of the different cities and towns, giving description, means of support, population, Etc. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney & Co., 1880. FHL film 1004517. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1883-84. McKenney, L.M. Pacific Coast Directory, for 1883-84. Giving name, business, and address of business and professional men of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico. Together with sketches of the different towns, giving location, population, Etc. San Francisco: L.M. McKenney & Co., 1882. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1886-87. McKenney's Pacific Coast Directory for 1886-7, giving name, business, and address of business and professional men of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Together with sketches of the different towns, giving location, population, Etc. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney & Co., 1886. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1922. Ingram, Frank W. State of Nevada: Directory of Industries, giving name of firm, location, nature of business, and number of employees, arranged by industires. Carson City, Nevada: State Printing Office, 1922. Digital version at Internet Archive.
Some early Nevada territorial directories are:
- 1862. Kelly, J. Wells. comp. First Directory of Nevada Territory, Containing: the Names of Residents in the Principal Towns; a historical sketch, the Organic Act, and other political matters of interest; together with a description of all the quartz mills; reduction works, and all other industrial establishments in the territory; as also of the leading mining claims; and various mineral discoveries, works of internal improvement, etc. With a table of distances, list of public officers, and other useful information. San Francisco: Valentine & Co., 1862. FHL film 1377106.
- 1863. Kelly, J. Wells. comp. Second Directory of Nevada Territory; Embracing a general directory of residents of all the principle towns; business directory of advertisers; quartz mills, reduction works, toll roads, etc.; officers of the Masonic, Odd Fellows and Sons of Temperance associations; members Washoe Stock Board of Exchange; fire department, incorporation acts of Virginia and Gold Hill; and all other information connected with the progress and present condition of the territory; also, an accurate table of distances; list of public officers; and principle mining laws of different districts; with the residents and principle mines, mills,etc. of the Reese River Region. San Francisco: Valentine & Co., 1863. FHL film 1377106.
Some helpful Nevada directory resources are:
- Lee, Joyce C. comp. Genealogical Prospecting in Nevada: A Guide to Nevada Directories. Carson City: Nevada State Library, 1984. FHL book 979.3 A1 No. 29.
- Quebedeaux, Richard. Prime Sources of California and Nevada Local History: 151 Rare and Important City, County, and State Directories, 1850-1906. Spokane, Washington: Arthur H. Clark, c1992. FHL book 979.4 E43q.
- Ancestry.com ($) has Nevada directories in their U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 collection. The following cities are currently included: Austin, Carson City, Gerlach, Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, and Virginia City.
- Distant Cousin.com has a 1920-21 Reno, Washoe County, Carson City, Nevada city directory.
- US City Directories identifies printed, microfilmed, and online directories and their repositories.
The Family History Library (FHL)
The Family History Library has a fair collection of early Nevada city directories, but few of them extend into the 1900s. The best collection of city directories for the state of Nevada is for the city of Reno. The Library has some printed directories for select Nevada cities that extend into the 1980s.
To find out what records are available at the Library, do a "Place-names" seach in the FamilySearch Catalog. Search for:
- Nevada - Directories
- Nevada, [County] - Directories
- Nevada, [County], [City] - Directories
Libraries, Archives and Societies
Local county libraries, the University of Nevada—Reno, the Nevada Historical Society, and the Nevada State Library and Archives collect Nevada directories. The Nevada Historical Society also collects directories of county and municipal officers, dating from the 1860's.
- Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary: Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 415, “directory.”